Tanzania , EU to host maiden business forum

AS part of efforts to boost trade and investments between member states of the European Union (EU) and Tanzania, the two parties are set to host the first EU-Tanzania Business Forum 2023 starting from February 23 in Dar es Salaam.

The two-day high-level event set to end on the 24th of February, will bring together distinguished business and investment stakeholders from the EU and their counterparts in Tanzania.

According to a statement issued by the EU Delegation in Tanzania and East African Community (EAC), more than 400 participants are expected from Europe, including high-level leaders and prominent companies who will be joined with over 200 participants from Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.

The business forum aims to present Tanzania’s opportunities and comparative advantage as a strategic destination for direct investments.

The forum will also provide a platform for Private-Public dialogue to further improve the business environment such as regulatory framework and facilitate Business-to-Business (B2B) and networking in view of possible partnerships, between Tanzanians and Europeans.

“Lastly, the forum will offer tools for private sector development including access to finance and skills development,” the statement read in part.

The EU-Tanzania trade relations are based on the unilateral trade concession scheme known as ‘Everything But Arms’ (EBA) according to which all Tanzanian products except arms may be exported to the EU market free of any quota and of any customs duties.

The special arrangement applies to all countries listed by the United Nations (UN) as Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda are on the UN’s list of LDCs while Kenya is the only country in the EAC which does not feature on the list of LDCs.

Exports to the EU from the EAC are mainly coffee, cut flowers, tea, tobacco, fish and vegetables while imports from the EU into the region are dominated by machinery and mechanical appliances, equipment and parts, vehicles and pharmaceutical products.

The EU and the EAC partner states concluded the negotiations of an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in 2014, but the agreement never entered into force because some EAC Partner States, including Tanzania, did not sign it.

The EPA provides for immediate trade liberalisation of EAC exports to the EU and for a gradual liberalisation of EAC imports from the EU during a variable duration of time up to a maximum of 25 years depending on the sensitivity of the products.

The agreement also provides for cooperation on trade, customs, sanitary and phytosanitary measures and rules of origin. In the absence of EPA, the individual EAC Partner States maintain their bilateral trade arrangements with the EU.

The EU-EAC EPA covers trade in goods and development cooperation. It also contains a chapter on fisheries, mainly to reinforce cooperation on the sustainable use of resources. The agreement provides for further negotiations on services and trade-related rules in the future.

The deal is in line with the EAC Common External Tariff. It bans unjustified or discriminatory restrictions on imports and exports. This helps the EAC’s efforts to get rid of non-tariff barriers in intra-EAC trade.

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