1st Meeting of the COMESA Ministerial Sub-committee on EPA

Posted in Business and Economy, International Organisations, International relations, Seychelles government at 12:22 pm by Robert Klien

The First Meeting of the Special COMESA Ministerial Sub-committee on Economic Partnership Agreement held on February 10, 2008 in Lusaka, Zambia, was attended by the Seychelles Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Patrick Pillay. At the meeting, he was accompanied by his Special Adviser, Miss Vivianne Fock-Tave. Director General for Trade in the Ministry of Finance and Trade, Mr Charles Morin, also attended the meeting of COMESA Ministerial Sub-committee.

The Ministerial Sub-committee was established during the COMESA Council of Ministers in November 2007. It consists of Ministers who are responsible for the negotiation of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) from Seychelles, Mauritius, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Zambia, Djibouti and Zimbabwe – 8 of the 16 countries that form the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) configuration, which are also member countries of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

The Ministerial Sub-committee primarily aims at overseeing the EPA negotiation process in order to ensure the progress in line with set negotiation objectives and agreed guidelines. Therefore the Sub-committee takes account of developments in the process on a regular basis and provides political advice and guidance on any issues contributing to the successful conclusion of the ESA negotiations. It also is worth noting that the Ministerial Sub-committee is a key-role player in working towards narrowing any substantial differences in the region.

At the 1st meeting in Zambia, the Sub-Committee discussed implementing the Interim Agreement and the need to convene a joint COMESA-SADC-EAC (East African Community) Meeting of Ministers responsible for Economic Partnership Agreements. Also, the negotiating structure of the ESA configuration was reviewed at the meeting in order to ensure that the EPA negotiations are both effective and efficient.

Besides the First Meeting of the Special COMESA Ministerial Sub-committee on Economic Partnership Agreement, Minister Pillay participated in the Ministerial Task Force on the COMESA Customs Union held in Lusaka, Zambia, on February 11, 2008.

It is expected that the COMESA Customs Union will be launched in December 2008.

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