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"EU disregards East African concerns and pressures region to sign EPAs"

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" The European Union has intensified its pressure on the five-member East African Community (EAC) and other regions of Africa, to sign the discredited Economic Partnership Agreements. African leaders need to be reminded that the EPAs pose a major threat to the continent's economy and livelihoods, writes *Jane Nalunga.

 In November 2007, the five East African countries (Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda) as a Customs Union, initialed the Interim Framework EPA (FEPA) with the European Commission in Kampala, Uganda. Initially the East African countries, apart from Tanzania which was under SADC, had started the second phase of the EPA negotiations with the EC as part of the Eastern and Southern Africa ESA) configuration.

A number of reasons account for why the East African Community (EAC) initialed the FEPA. The six year waiver negotiated at the 4th WTO conference in Doha in 2001 to allow for the continuation of the preferential trade arrangement between the EU and its former colonies in the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of countries was coming to an end by December 2007.


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