SADC scrambles to meet EU trade deadline

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Trade ministers from SADC member states met in Gaborone yesterday as part of efforts to thrash out a new inclusive Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union ahead of next year's deadline.

The economies of Botswana and Namibia will be the region's biggest losers when the European Union (EU) revises a preferential trade scheme on January 1, 2014 as part of its overall efforts to push for full EPA with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states.

Besides this scheme, the EU, next October, will revoke a six-year old market access directive under which 36 ACP states, including Botswana and other SADC countries, will lose the duty and quota free access to the EU market they are currently enjoying.  Yesterday, trade and Industry minister Dorcas Makgato-Malesu said senior officers would update the SADC ministers on the progress being made to meet a June 2013 deadline the region has set itself to conclude the inclusive EPA.

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