East African Community (EAC) head of state put off the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU) for three months pending further consultations over the pact.
Europe has been pushing for the signing of the free trade pact by the EAC member states on October 1, 2016. Tanzania exclusively maintained on Wednesday that it would not append its signature on the agreement until the country’s demands that focus on the best interests of the people were met.
Already, Kenya and Rwanda have signed the trade pact. Yesterday, the EPA deal was a subject of discussion by the EAC leaders who took more than six hours to deliberate on whether they should sign as a block or individually.
President Paul Kagame, underscored the need for unity as the region, saying the postponement of a joint signing by the block was the right decision to strengthen unity.
According to the EAC Chairperson, President John Magufuli, it was not an easy job to reach to the decision and for delaying the signing of the EU pact.
“Our discussions took a lot of time but as usual when we have any sensitive matter, we agree collectively to reach at a collective consensus in the best interest of our people,’’ he said at a press briefing after the closed door meeting.
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni said the three-month extension of signing and ratifying the EU-EAC agreement was meant to synchronise their understanding on the pact that has 146 articles.
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