PRESS RELEASE : Outcomes of the 8th round of ESA EPA negotiations

The 8th round of technical negotiations between the European Union (EU) and the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA-5) (namely Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe) on the deepening of the iEPA, was held in hybrid virtual mode from 30 May to 03 June 2022. The meeting was co-chaired by Mr Rammos, DG Trade, EU Commission and Mr Boodhoo, Director, International Trade Division for the ESA-5.

Negotiations were held in parallel sessions on 11 issues, namely: Rules of Origin (ROO), Customs and Trade Facilitation (C&TF), Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary measures (SPS), Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), Agriculture, Trade in Services, Investment Liberalisation and Digital Trade (TiSIL&DT), Economic Development Cooperation (EDC), Dispute Settlement & Institutional Provisions, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), Competition and Public Procurement.

During the current round, the Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary Measures Chapter was provisionally concluded with the exception of the article on capacity building and technical assistance. Good progress was noted on several issues, namely on Customs & Trade Facilitation, Rules of Origin, Technical Barriers to Trade and Trade in Services, Investment Liberalisation and Digital Trade. On Dispute Settlement & Institutional Provisions, the Parties had a first discussion and convergence was noted on several aspects. As regards Intellectual Property Rights, the Parties had their first text-based discussion based on a merged EU-ESA text proposal. Some areas of negotiations such as Agriculture, Economic Development Cooperation, Transparency in Public Procurement, and Competition would require further discussions to close gaps in the positions of the Parties. Both Parties agreed to pursue internal discussions on the texts and meet intersessionally to advance in the negotiations.

The second meeting of senior officials was also held on 03 June 2022. They took note of the progress made so far in the talks and correspondingly provided guidance to resolve issues where both sides have major divergences.

The next round is scheduled for September 2022.

International Trade Division
03 June 2022

Sources : ITD

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