Official Launching of Negotiations on the Deepening of the EU – ESA iEPA
The official launching of negotiations on the deepening of the European Union and Eastern and Southern African interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EU-ESA iEPA) was launched in Balaclava, Mauritius on 2nd October 2019. His Excellency, the Honourable Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius, Mr Pravir Kumar JUGNAUTH expressed his hope that the negotiations will lead to a win-win outcome for both EU and ESA signatory states of the iEPA.
On behalf of the Government of Seychelles Ambassador Beryl Samson, Ambassador of the Republic of Seychelles to the European Union mission, signed the Joint Scoping Paper, along with representatives from the EU, Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Zimbabwe. The Joint Scoping Paper outlines thirteen areas for negotiation, including trade in services, investment, agriculture, fisheries, Technical Barriers to Trade and Sanitary and PhytoSanitary measures, amongst others.
In her statement, Ambassador Samson expressed her optimism that the dynamism and enthusiasm which resulted in the development of the Joint Scoping Paper would be upheld in the upcoming negotiations. The first round of negotiation will be held from 3rd – 4th October 2019 in Mauritius. The second round is anticipated to be held in January 2020 in Seychelles.
The current agreement signed by Seychelles, along with Madagascar, Mauritius and Zimbabwe, with the EU has been in force since 2012. Comoros acceded to the agreement in 2018. The iEPA is a trade and development agreement between the five countries and the EU. As a result of the agreement, Seychelles is able to export fish and fish products to the EU on a duty-free and quota-free basis.
During the sixth ESA-EU EPA Committee held in Madagascar in October 2017, the EU and ESA signatory countries agreed to extend the scope of the iEPA by invoking article 53 of the agreement on the rendez-vous clause. Negotiations on the Joint Scoping Paper commenced in 2018 and concluded early in May 2019.
The delegation of Seychelles was also represented by Mr Charles Morin (Chief Negotiator, Department of Trade, Ms Myra Laporte (Senior Counsellor, Embassy of Seychelles) and Ms Cheryl Dine (Trade Officer, Department of Trade).