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European Union, Cameroon sign interim trade deal

By on January 16, 2009

gives Cameroon 15 years to dismantle tariffs on 80 percent of its imports from the EU.
Cameroon benefits from preferential market access for its banana exports to the EU under a separate scheme being challenged in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by Latin American growers led by Ecuador.

Talks for a regional EPA with central African countries are some of the most delayed, but officials vowed to press ahead.
“I am strongly committed to pursuing and concluding regional negotiations in Central Africa and this agreement should be seen as a milestone on the path to the successful conclusion of a regional Economic Partnership Agreement with Central Africa,” EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton said in a statement.

The accord binds the EU to help Cameroon become more competitive, help its exporters meet EU import standards, and improve customs procedures and its tax regime to ensure that the loss of tariffs does not destabilise Cameroon’s public finances.
EU trade with central Africa is worth some 11 billion euros ($14.46 billion) a year, the EU delegation in Yaounde said, with the African region enjoying a surplus due largely to oil exporters Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo Republic, Cameroon and Chad.
Oil accounts for 58 percent of the region’s exports to the EU, which also include wood, at 15 percent, and other agricultural products including cocoa and bananas.


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