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Fish exporters set conditions for EPAs

UGANDA - With barely five months to go before the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) come into force, it is still unclear whether agreements in the negotiations will be reached.

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EPAs are trade deals being negotiated between the European Union (EU) and African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.

The EPA allows products from any member country access to any market within the partnership at competitive tax rates. Along with 15 other countries in the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region, Uganda is negotiating the EPAs with the EU.

At a one-day consultative workshop in Kampala on July 20 to review progress of EPAs for the fisheries sector, Uganda Fish Processors and Exporters Association (UFPEA) said while the probability of signing EPA was high, there were some areas that needed to be considered. UFPEA and Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) contended that the signing should be subject to certain conditions.

UFPEA want among other things, increasing funding on Lake Victoria management project, financial support for more laboratories, and support fish food for aquaculture.

"We are saying that we want to be part of EPA. We want it to be signed, continue with market access and also develop our sector in terms of increased production," said UFPEA Chief Executive Officer Ovia Katiti Matovu.

The fisheries sector, one of the clusters being negotiated under the EPAs, are a leading Ugandan export, a major employer to many lake communities and the major market is Europe. The others sectors are agriculture, trade related issues such as services and market access.

Source: Daily Monitor