EAC countries

East African Community (EAC) Partner States 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 the 20th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State of the East African Community Joint Communiqué

EAC and the EU have been in disagreements for years over signing the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), designed to replace preferential trade deals laid down by the World Trade Organization.

The leaders meeting a Summit yesterday 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. They said partner states that wish to, may or may not sign the EPA.

The decision was reached at the summit 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.