Joint Report of the 9th round of talks at technical level on the deepening of the interim Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and ESA-5 States 19 to 23 September 2022

The 9th round of talks between the EU and the ESA 5 (Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe) was held in hybrid virtual mode from 19th to 23rd September 2022 in Antananarivo, Madagascar.


The technical meeting was co-chaired by Mr Thanos RAMMOS from the EU Commission and Mr Narainduth BOODHOO for the ESA-5.


Negotiations were held in parallel sessions on 11 issues, namely: Rules of Origin (ROO), 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) -  including Geographical Indications (GIs), Competition Policy, Public Procurement, Fisheries and Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD).


OPENING REMARKS


The opening remarks were delivered by H.E. Isabelle Delattre Burger, Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Madagascar and the Union of the Comoros, and Hon. Edgard Razafindravahy, Minister of Industrialization, Trade and Consumption of Madagascar.  


In her opening statement, H.E. Isabelle Delattre Burger thanked Madagascar for hosting the 9th round of the deepening of the EU-ESA iEPA negotiations launched in October 2019. She highlighted the importance of this deepening exercise, following a successful so far common journey in implementing the iEPA. The deepened Agreement will move this partnership to another level boosting bilateral trade and sustainable investment flows. She pointed the synergies with the Global Gateway and the ongoing AfCFTA process. She finally encouraged the technical experts to continue on the progress made in the previous eight rounds of negotiations.


Hon. Edgard Razafindravahy, on his side, underlined that the iEPA is a symbol of the strong cooperation that exists between the EU and the ESA-5 countries. He praised the experts for the progress made so far in the deepening process and expressed the hope that this process will assist to further stimulate trade, improve rules of origin as well as address the challenges caused by the pandemic and current global situations for the resilience of trade. He also emphazised on the need for EU support for the implementation of the EPA through the Economic Development and Cooperation chapter, which is the cornerstone of the EPA.


PLENARY SESSION


The Co-Chairs of the technical meeting provided an overview on the status of discussions on the topics to be tackled during the 9th Round of negotiations. The meeting in Antananarivo covered seven (7) issues namely: ROO, IPR, TiSIL&DT, Dispute Settlement & Institutional Provisions, EDC and Public Procurement. The virtual meeting covered the following issues: Agriculture, Competition Policy/Subsidies /SOE’s, TBT, Fisheries as well as a presentation by the EU on its recent TSD communication followed by an exchange of views.


It was proposed that the same momentum should be maintained in the discussions and where possible agree on issues of convergence.  The Co-Chairs also agreed for the senior officials meeting to be held at the next round to take stock of progress made.


DETAILS PER NEGOTIATING AREA


Rules of Origin
The summary of discussions on Rules of Origin is at Annex I.


Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT)
The summary of discussions on Technical Barriers to Trade is at Annex II.


Agriculture
The summary of discussions on Agriculture is at Annex III.


Trade in Services, Investment Liberalisation and Digital Trade (TiSIL&DT)
The summary of discussions on Trade in Services, Investment Liberalisation and Digital Trade is at Annex IV.


Economic Development Cooperation (EDC)
The summary of discussions on Economic Development Cooperation is at Annex V.


Dispute Settlement & Institutional Provisions
The summary of discussions on Dispute Settlement & Institutional Provisions is at Annex VI


Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), including Geographical Indications (GIs)
The summary of discussions on Intellectual Property Rights is at Annex VII


Competition Policy
The summary of discussions on Competition Policy is at Annex VIII


Public Procurement
The summary of discussions on Public Procurement is at Annex IX.


Fisheries
The summary of discussions on Fisheries is at Annex X


Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD).
The summary of discussions on Trade and Sustainable Development is at Annex XI


WAY FORWARD


The next round of technical negotiations will be held in hybrid virtual mode from 12 to 16 December 2022 in Brussels and will cover all issues under negotiations. The topics to be tackled virtually will be defined by both sides at later stage. A senior official meeting will also be held to take stock of progress and provide further guidance.


Intersession meetings will be also held on certain issues to resolve outstanding issues prior to the next round, as follows:

 

  1. TiSIL&DT - Telecommunications Services, Electronic Commerce / Digital Trade and Computer Services;
  2. Dispute Settlement Chapter - Rules of Procedure of the Panel under;
  3. IPR - GIs, copyright, border enforcement systems and trade secrets;
  4. TBT;
  5. Public Procurement.

Any other request for intersessions should be communicated by 20th October 2022.


Exchange of information should be provided by the Parties as agreed in the reports of the various sessions.

Sources : EU and ESA-5 States

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