The European Union
has signed a temporary trade
, Seychelles, Zimbabwe
and Madagascar calling for tariffs on European
goods to be removed over the next 15 years. The four countries in southeast
Africa have had full access to the EU consumer market since the start of 2008
for most goods. Trade barriers
for rice and
sugar, however, are being removed gradually. The new
excludes trade on agricultural products such as milk, meat,
vegetables, textiles, footwear and clothing. Zambia and Comoros have indicated
they will sign the EU pact at a later date, the EU said. Djibouti, Ethiopia
and Sudan, which have been negotiating a regional trade pact
, may also join the EU accord. As
poor developing nations they currently do not pay tariffs on exports to the EU.
EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton said the new interim deal would help
countries of eastern and southern Africa
creating a single regional trade pact with the EU that would eventually cover
trade in services, investment and protection for emerging industries in Africa.
The European Union imported some euro3.2 billion ($4.6 billion) of goods from
eastern and southern Africa last year, mostly textiles, clothes, sugar, fish
products and copper. European exports — mostly mechanical and electrical
machinery and vehicles — were worth euro4.3 billion ($6.18 billion).