The German Federal Cabinet has approved the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) of the European Union with the SADC bloc.
The European delegation was recently in Botswana to strike up trade deals with SADC member states. As part of the agreement, Botswana has been granted permanent tax and quota free access to the European market. In return, Botswana will open up its market for about 80% of European products over the course of 12 years.
The EPA agreement will create favourable opportunities for economically and socially sustainable development in Botswana and reduce trade barriers.
The EU delegation which was recently in Botswana encouraged SADC to strike up more trade deals in EU. They also dismissed misguided assertions coming from Botswana that China and USA are the best trading partners.
EU delegation to Botswana Trade Counsellor, John Taylor, said the European Union contributes a quarter of the world’s GDP and is the world’s lucrative market that Botswana should utilise. He expressed confidence that the EU is the best trading partner for Botswana and stated that in terms of market and custom unions the EU is a well established market that Botswana and the SADC bloc should take advantage of.
In addition to the reduction of trade barriers, the agreement contains binding environmental and social standards and gives the European Commission the possibility to demand certain human rights standards.
The signing by the EU will be held during the session of the Foreign Affairs Council on May 23rd in Brussels and by SADC on June 10th in Gaborone.