The signing of Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between East African Community (EAC) and European Union (EU) is in the final stage and amid such situation the Members of Parliament (MPs) in Tanzania have urged the government to retreat as of now and re-negotiate.
The negotiations between EAC and EU started in 2007 and in 2015 an agreement was finally reached.
MPs in Uganda too have shown concerns the imports from EU are hampering their own domestic industries.
Lawmakers of ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) as well as opposition parties in the country said during a parliamentary discussion recently the free trade deal will provide free access to their markets to EU exports with zero tariffs and this will ruin their own economy.
Tanzania mostly export agricultural commodities to the EU and those include coffee, tobacco, cotton, tea, cloves and cashew nuts.
Meanwhile, it is learned all the EAC member states can export merchandize to the EU without any duty even without providing the EU with similar market access as the economies of Africa are deemed to be developing and are not that of advanced nature.
In 2013 the total exports of EAC to EU were valued at $2.4 billion and the commodities were mostly of cut flowers, tea, tobacco, coffee, vegetables and fish.
Imports from EU to EAC consisted mainly of machinery and mechanical appliances, equipment and parts, vehicles and pharmaceutical products. Those were valued over the same period at $3.9 billion.
The EAC bloc consists of Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.