Zambia has been assured that its development assistance from the European Union, EU, would not be affected even if the country decides not to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAs) this December.

Head of the EU Delegation in Zambia Derrick Fee told ZANIS in an interview that the
EU’s support to Zambia’s developmental programmes is guaranteed .

Dr Fee disclosed that Zambia will in December be expected to sign for the 10th
European Development Fund (EDF).

Currently, the European Union is Zambia’s largest cooperating partner in financial
support for road projects.

Dr Fee however said countries that will not sign the EPAs will fall back to the GSP
of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

He said Zambia would not feel the impact of the change because it has Everything
But Arms (EBA) under which the country is enjoying duty free and quota free market
access.

Dr Fee however pointed out that Zambia would still be required to adhere to the
new rules of origin that will apply in the EPAs.

He stressed that the signing of the EPAs with the Africa Caribbean and Pacific
Countries (ACP) and those negotiating under the Eastern and Southern Africa
configuration, is meant to strengthen inter- regional trade.

” By signing the agreement with ESA, it means we are moving towards inter- regional
trade we will be trading with more than 15 countries under the configuration,” he
said.

Zambia and other ACP countries are in December expected to sign the EPAs which will
come in effect in January 2008.

But the civil society have urged countries not to sign the agrerements saying the
EPAs have not addressed the developmental aspect.

The EPA are the trade and development agreements that the European Union is
negotiating in parallel with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) regions.

They will replace the trade chapters of the 2000 Cotonou Agreement between the EU
and the ACP countries.

The ACP countries are being called upon to speed up negotiations so as to meet the
December 2007 deadline.

The objective of the EPAs is to bring each EPA region under a single trade regime to
encourage regional integration, growth of regional markets and creation of regional
supply chains.

Under current arrangements, the 40 ACP Least Developed Countries (LDCs) already
have duty and quota free access to the EU while the 37 non-LDCs have special tariff
preferences under the Cotonou Agreement

In April this year, the EU proposed to remove all remaining quota and tariff
limitations on access to the EU market for all African, Caribbean and Pacific
regions as part of the Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations.

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