Xinhua - July 27, 2006
Tanzania’s multi-block membership reaffirmed by SADC
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has okayed Tanzania’s multi-regional block membership, thus paying the way for the east African country to remain in SADC with its East African Community affiliation.
SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Salomao even suggested that he saw no problem if Tanzania rejoined the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), yet another regional block.
The SADC multi-regional block membership policy was reaffirmed on Wednesday when the SADC chief toured Tanzania, according to local press reports Thursday.
Salomao explained to his Tanzanian hosts that the most important thing was for the different economic groupings to work together in creating markets and jobs to facilitate the development of their member countries.
The European Union, however, has otherwise advised Tanzania that it should either retain its SADC membership and withdraw from the East African Customs Union or vice versa.
EU Head of Trade Karl Falkenberg has suggested that since Tanzania is now tied to the East African Customs Union, it has automatically lost status to negotiate with the European block through the SADC.
But Tanzania has decided to choose SADC to negotiate with the EU under the ongoing negotiations on Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) on the envisaged Customs Union of SADC.
The EU trade chief has explained that there was no economic advantage to Tanzania of joining more than one integration block.