Zambia Daily Mail | 12 May 2014
State to determine EPA stance
From NKOLE CHITALA in Siavonga
GOVERNMENT is undertaking a study to ascertain the definite position on the economic partnership agreement (EPA), which has delayed to be signed due to negotiations being done by individual member states.
Zambia is the current chair of the 18 Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) member states under the European Union (EU) configuration.
Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Robert Sichinga said the position will be known in July this year.
“So, we are [the] chair and for us to give an answer, we need to assess the impact of the agreement on each country. What we have done is to ensure that the study is done with the help of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and is scheduled to be completed by mid-July this year,” he said in Siavonga on Thursday.
He said once the study is done, Zambia will convene a meeting at which member states will review the results on how it will impact on each country if they sign or not.
The minister, who attended a recent African Union meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said the heads of State directed ministers of trade to industrialise.
“If we need to industrialise…we will need raw materials — now, is this going to be possible? There is no way we can be sending raw materials to other countries. Otherwise, there will be no industrialisation.
“We will be able to advise after the assessment is done including markets that are available within the region,” he said.
Mr Sichinga said there is need to increase intra-Africa trade, which is currently standing at 11.2 percent.
He said a collective decision will be made on sharing each country’s markets.