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Six African countries granted duty-free access to the EU

Six African countries granted duty-free access to the EU

European Union

Six African countries in the South African Development Community (SADC) have been granted duty-free access to the European Union on Wednesday after EU Parliament’s approval of their Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho can now export their products under this agreement while South Africa gets improved market access, the European Parliament said in a statement.

The deal was approved by 417 votes to 216, with 66 abstentions, the statement added.

The agreement will enter into force after the Council of the European Union and the parliaments of the six countries ratify the text.

The EPA will ensure immediate duty- and quota-free access for exports to the EU market and also to create new and flexible opportunities for the region.

The six countries will also liberalise 86% of their trade with the EU over ten years with the exception of agricultural and fishery products.

Mozambique will liberalise 74% of its trade under the agreement which is in compliance with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.