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EU to finalise trade deals

The EU has set a new deadline for concluding its free trade agreements with the African, Carribean and Pacific (ACP) countries. Some years ago the EU embarked on renegotiating its trade agreements with the ACP countries under the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). These Economic Partnership Agreements where negotiated in regional groupings, for instance with SADC and Comesa. Most of these EPAs were signed with a view to concluding further negotiations at a later stage. Although South Africa falls under the SADC grouping, for various reasons it did not sign the interim EU-SADC EPA. ,

The EU ,has now set a deadline ,for concluding negotiations in the EPAs by October 2014 prior to the expiry of ,terms of the EU's trade chief Karel De Gucht. According to media reports the EU is said to offer increased market access for South African agricultural products, including wine and sugar. Under the current free trade agreeement, the Trade Development and Cooperation Agreements (or TDCA), the EU's agricultural products enjoy more preferential access to the South African market than the access enjoyed by South African agricultural products to the EU market.

As such the agriculutral sector should become involved in these negotiations. However it is not only agriculture that should take note, but also the services sector as the EU is keen on obtaining better access to the SADC market than what it currently enjoys.


Rian Geldenhuys

© Trade Law Chambers 2013


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