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Namibia Says Agreement Secures Exports Access to European Union

Namibia said its fish and farm exports will keep quota and tariff-free access to the European Union after a new trade deal was agreed to by five southern Africa countries with the 28-nation bloc.

Namibia initialed the economic partnership agreement on July 15 in the South African capital, Pretoria, and is ready to sign and ratify the deal after five years of negotiations, said Trade and Industry Minister Calle Schlettwein.

“There was flexibility on the European side,” Schlettwein said in a telephone interview today. “Our fisheries sector, beef and grapes will continue to have access to that market.”

Namibia and the four other members of the Southern African Customs Union -- South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland - - agreed to a single external tariff with the EU under the new pact. The agreement may allow Namibia to become a gateway to European markets, Schlettwein said.

Namibia negotiated concessions from the EU on protecting emerging industries in the southern African nation and on rules of origin that cover which products can be categorized as Namibian, Schlettwein said. The EU also committed to eliminate subsidies on products destined for Namibia, he said.

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