HARARE — Zimbabwe is set to get €5,8 million from the European Union to implement the interim Economic partnership agreement (EPA) and for regional integration programmes, an official said on Wednesday, ahead of an October deadline for countries to ratify the deal or lose preferential trade access to Europe.
Negotiations for EPAs, meant to replace the old Cotonou Agreement trade preferences, have been dragging on since 2002, amid concerns over the impact of the new pact on regional integration and the resultant slow take-up by African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) member states.
The EU said EPAs are aimed at promoting trade with ACP regions. Zimbabwe signed an interim EPA in March 2012, taking it a step further towards a comprehensive EPA. The interim pact already gives Zimbabwe 100% duty free-quota free access into the EU market, with a transition period for rice and sugar, according to the EU.
In return, Zimbabwe has committed to liberalising 80% of her imports from the EU by 2022 (45% by 2012 with the remaining 35% of imports being liberalised progressively until 2022).
Zimbabwe left out 20% of industries and products it seeks to protect and will not be affected by liberalisation, including those of animal origin, cereals, beverages, paper, plastics and rubber, textiles and clothing, footwear, glass and ceramics, consumer electronic and vehicles.
— The Source