Swaziland is in the process of ratifying the EPA with the assistance of the EU. The EU’s Southern African Development Community Co-ordinator Gijs Berends disclosed that once the EPA is ratified, the country will benefit through shipping its goods to the union without delay.
An EU delegation which is assisting Swaziland with the process of ratification, organized a workshop in the capital Mbabane recently where industry players were made aware of the benefits of the agreement. Through the EPA, Berends said Swaziland would become more competitive and attractive to investors who would be looking at accessing the lucrative EU market.
“The EPA agreement will liberalize 9,600 products and all the products will enter our market duty-free. It has to be mentioned that this will not be just a temporary trade agreement but a permanent one. We are looking forward to seeing Swaziland becoming a beneficiary from the market as that would positively contribute to its economic development,” Berends said.
Swaziland’s textile industry had taken a hit after it had excluded from the list of countries eligible to get benefit under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) of the US Government, with effect from January 1, 2015.
The decision to withdraw Swaziland’s AGOA eligibility came after years of engaging with the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland on concerns about its implementation of the AGOA eligibility criteria related to worker rights.