East African nations approve individual trade pacts with EU if joint deal not reached

A worker delivers certified beef for export into cold storage at Kenya’s main abbatoir, in Machakos county in this April 2017 photo. (AFP)
Updated 02 February 2019
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East African nations approve individual trade pacts with EU if joint deal not reached

  • The East African Community and the EU have been at loggerheads for years over signing the so-called Economic Partnership Agreement
  • The bloc launched a common market in 2010 but missed its target of having a common currency in place in 2012

DAR ES SALAAM: East African countries can individually sign separate trade agreements with the European Union (EU) if a joint deal is not reached within the next four months, according to a statement from a meeting of regional leaders.
The East African Community (EAC) and the EU have been at loggerheads for years over signing the so-called Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), designed to replace preferential trade deals struck down by the World Trade Organization.
“The summit ... decided that the EAC engages the EU on the matter in the next four months to get more clarification on the pertinent issues of concern. Thereafter, partner states who wish to, may or may not sign the EPA,” East African leaders said in a joint statement late on Friday.
The agreement was reached at the summit in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha on Friday. It was attended by Tanzania’s President John Magufuli, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Rwanda President Paul Kagame and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Kenya and Rwanda signed the agreement in 2016 but it needs approval from all other members of the EAC bloc — Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan and Burundi — to take effect.
At the summit, Museveni handed over the rotating chairmanship of the EAC to Kagame, who is also the current chairman of the African Union.
The bloc launched a common market in 2010 but missed its target of having a common currency in place in 2012. The stated goal was a political federation, although analysts say that is likely to be many years off if it happens at all.
South Sudan, which joined the bloc in 2016, was not part of initial negotiations on the EPA deal, which began in 2002.
The trade bloc has a combined gross domestic product of $146 billion, according to the EAC website.


Saudi Arabia and Spain’s Navantia plan combat management systems venture

Updated 18 February 2019
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Saudi Arabia and Spain’s Navantia plan combat management systems venture

  • The SANNI venture will integrate and adapt Navantia’s combat management systems for Saudi navy corvette ships

ABU DHABI: State-owned Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) signed an agreement on Monday with Spanish state-held shipbuilder Navantia to set up a joint venture to provide combat systems, the new partnership’s chief executive said on Monday.
The SANNI venture, the name of which stands for SAMI Navantia Naval Industries, will integrate and adapt Navantia’s combat management systems for Saudi navy corvette ships, said Antonio Barberan at the IDEX military exhibition in Abu Dhabi.
SANNI is also in talks with other potential customers in the Middle East, he said.
SAMI owns 51 percent of SANNI, with Navantia holding the remaining 49 percent.
In November SAMI and Navantia signed an agreement to jointly manufacture five corvettes for the Saudi navy.