FTA: EU-Southern African States Agreement includes the Comoros as of 7 February 2019

Updated: Dec 29, 2019

Find out about the Economic Partnership Agreement between ESA and EU

Six countries in the ESA region (Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, the Seychelles, Zambia and Zimbabwe) concluded an interim Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU at the end of 2007.


In August 2009, four countries signed the agreement (Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe) and it has been provisionally applied since 14 May 2012. Comoros ratified and started applying the agreement as from 7 February 2019. On 22 July 2019, the published the relevant notification between the European Union and the Union of Comoros, saying that they "have notified the completion of the procedures necessary for the provisional application of the Interim Agreement establishing a framework for an Economic Partnership Agreement between the Eastern and Southern Africa States, on the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, on the other part, in accordance with Article 62 of that Agreement".

What countries are covered by ESA?

Eastern and Southern Africa includes:

- the Indian Ocean islands (Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles),

- countries from the Horn of Africa (Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan) and

- some countries of Southern Africa (Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe).

ESA members and WTO

All the countries in the Eastern and Southern Africa region, except Eritrea, are members or observers negotiating accession to the WTO. The interim Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe includes:

  • getting rid of EU duties and quotas for imports from these countries

  • gradually opening up EU exports to these countries

  • rules of origin, fisheries, and trade defence

  • rules on development cooperation

  • mechanisms for settling disputes

The interim EPA includes a rendez-vous clause for negotiating other areas such as rules and commitments on services and investment, sustainable development and competition, and making it easier to trade. It also includes co-operation on technical barriers to trade, and standards on animal and plant health.

Goods liberalised

The interim EPA offers duty-free quota free access for all imports from ESA as of

1st January 2008. ESA will liberalise its market to EU imports in line with the

individual schedules annexed to the interim EPA.

ESA States decided their own schedules to liberalise trade with the EU as set out


Goods excluded from liberalization

The ESA countries were not in a position to table a common regional market access offer and each country presented an individual offer based on its specificities. The ESA countries decided to exclude the following EU imports from liberalisation:

  • Madagascar: Meat, milk and cheese, fisheries, vegetables, cereals, oils and fats, edible preparations, sugar, cocoa, beverages, tobacco, chemicals, plastic and paper articles, textiles, metal articles, furniture

  • Mauritius: Live animals and meat, edible products of animal origin, fats, edible preparations and beverages, chemicals, plastics and rubber articles of leather and fur skins, iron & steel and consumer electronic goods

  • Seychelles: Meat, fisheries, beverages, tobacco, leather articles, glass and ceramics products and vehicles

  • Zimbabwe: Products of animal origin, cereals, beverages paper, plastics and rubber, textiles and clothing, footwear, glass and ceramics, consumer electronic and vehicles

Need more information?

See official website: http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/countries-and-regions/regions/esa/index_en.htm

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