East African Community says will delay signing trade deal with EU

Tanzania"s President John Pombe Magufuli addresses members of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi Party (CCM) at the party"s sub-head office on Lumumba road in Dar es Salaam, October 30, 2015.

The East African Community trade bloc will delay signing a trade agreement with the European Union, originally set for Oct.1, Tanzanian President John Magufuli said on Thursday.

“We have given ourselves three months to discuss further the signing of the EPA agreement and we will meet in January 2017 over this issue,” Magufuli, who is also the East African Community chairman, said at a meeting of fellow heads of state in Dar es Salaam

“We appeal to the EU not to punish Kenya by denying it access to the European market,” he added.

Kenya stands to lose the most without the agreement. Other member states – including Tanzania, Burundi, Uganda – would continue getting duty- and quota-free access under EU’s Everything But Arms initiative, since they are classified as least developed countries.

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