Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Tanzania pushes for delay to regional EU trade deal amid concerns over their industry

On Wednesday Tanzania said it would not sign a regional trade deal with the European Union, which is due to come into effect by October  1, and later urged neighbouring countries to back a delay, pending discussions on its effect on the region’s manufacturing sector.

Kenya and Rwanda signed the deal earlier this month but it needs approval from all members of the East African Community bloc, which includes Burundi and Uganda, to take effect.

The trade deal with the EU gives East African Community member states duty- and quota-free access for their goods to the EU, as long as they meet the set health and safety standards.

But Tanzanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Augustine Mahiga described the EU as an “industrial giant” and said fledgling industries in his country would not be able to cope with zero-rated imports of European goods.

“Tanzania will not sign the economic partnership agreement [EPA] until several issues are addressed,” Mahiga told journalists in Dar es Salaam.

East African Community member states initialled an interim EPA deal in 2007 and another in 2014. Governments were given two years from the October 2014 agreement to ratify the deal in national parliaments.

South Sudan joined the bloc this year and was not part of initial negotiations of the deal, which started in 2002.

Kenya stands to lose the most if the deal is not signed, given that other member states — including Tanzania, Burundi, Uganda — would still continue getting duty- and quota-free access because they are classified as least developed countries.

“If the EPA is not signed and ratified by all East African Community partner states by September 30 2016, Kenya stands to lose its market to the EU, having significant impact on her economy,” Kenya’s trade and industrialisation ministry said in a statement last week.

Governments in the region are also anxious to ensure that exports such as tea and fresh flowers, which are major sources of foreign exchange, are not hampered by any tariffs on trade with Britain after it leaves the EU.

Mahiga said Tanzania urged regional leaders at an East African Community heads of state summit in Dar es Salaam on Thursday to delay the signing of the deal. — Reuters

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

Basic web lessons for South Africa: Government hacks point to...

Recent cyberattacks at the department of justice and the space agency highlight the extent of our naïveté

If the inflation-driving supply strain in the US lasts, it...

In South Africa, a strong trade surplus, buoyed by robust commodity prices, will cushion our economy against pressure arising from US policy

More top stories

Sanlam sells UK businesses worth R5bn

The insurer ditches R5.1-billion to focus on Africa and other emerging markets

Coal gets the cold shoulder as coal power fleets on...

Only Gambia has a plan that, if everyone acted the same way, would see global heating kept to below 1.5°C.

The sugar tax is working. Experts say we should double...

The financial and public health cost of diabetes, as well as diabetes-related blindness and kidney failures, is being overlooked, health advocates say

Coups are always a bad idea – even the popular...

Why are coups happening more frequently? The most significant trend is the deepening democratic deficit across many African countries, and a corresponding decline in effective enforcement of democratic norms

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…