Interim EPA with EU

Interim EPA with EU

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The genesis of the EPA can be traced back to the historic economic and trade relations between European countries and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states. This relationship has developed with the signature of the two Yaoundé Conventions in 1963 and 1969, four Lomé Conventions and since the year 2000, the Cotonou Agreement which will expire in 2020.

The Lomé and its successor Cotonou provided one-way, non-reciprocal, preferential access to EU markets for most ACP exports as well as aid to finance development projects in ACP countries. Under these agreements, the ACP countries benefited from duty-free access on the EU market for most products. Some agricultural products, such as sugar, rum and bananas were covered by specific commodity protocols.

To comply with international trade rules, the ACP and the EU agreed to conclude WTO- compatible trading arrangements, removing progressively barriers to trade and enhancing cooperation in all areas relevant to trade and is known as the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).

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Economic Partnership Agreements

Mauritius opted to negotiate with the EU in an Eastern and Southern African (ESA) configuration, which is a sub-group of ten COMESA countries namely;

  • Comoros
  • Djibouti
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Seychelles
  • Sudan
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

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Interim EPA

An interim EPA was signed in Mauritius on 29 August 2009 between the European Commission and four Eastern and Southern African (ESA) countries namely; Mauritius, Madagascar, Seychelles and Zimbabwe. The agreement entered into force on 14 May 2012. Under the agreement, the ESA IEPA Signatory states are benefiting from duty free access for all products with the exception of sugar and rice which has a transitional period until September 2015. Comoros is implementing the Agreement as from February 2019.

The IEPA text can be accessed below:

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EPA Rules of Origin

The EPA rules of origin are product-specific and can be one of the following types:

  • Wholly produced
  • Change in tariff heading
  • Percentage rule

To benefit from preferential access under the IEPA, exporters should obtain a Certificate of Origin certifying that the goods meet the Rules of Origin Criteria

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EUR1 Certificate of Origin

The EUR1 Certificate of Origin is both issued and approved by the Customs Department of the Mauritius Revenue Authority. The online application for the EUR1 Certificate of Origin is made through a Freight Forwarder or Customs House Broker via the TradeNet system. More information on the EUR1 Certificate can be obtained from the Customs Department:

Mauritius Revenue Authority
Customs Department,
Customs House
Mer Rouge
Port Louis
Fax: (230) 216 7784

In 2017, the EU and 5 ESA IEPA Signatory States agreed to deepen the Agreement. The key areas identified are: (1) Trade in Services and Investment, (2) Review of Rules of Origin, (3) Trade Facilitation and Customs Cooperation, (4) Agriculture, (5) Export Taxes, (6) Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary measures, (7) Technical Barriers to Trade, (8) Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), (9) Competition Policy, (10) Sustainable Development, (11) Transparency in Government Procurement, (12) Dispute Settlement and (13) Institutional arrangements.

The formal launching of the negotiations was held in Mauritius on 02 October 2019.

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