Angola begins trade deal talks with EU in bid to diversify from oil

Angola and the European Union are expected to start talks for a trade deal this year after the EU and African partners approved a request by the oil-producing nation to join a regional trading bloc, according to an EU document. EU and a manager.

The green light to start negotiations was given at the end of July, according to an EU document, shortly before the southern African country holds general elections next week.

“We are now in a position to open formal negotiations, but there is no agreed date yet with Angola. We expect that to happen in the last quarter of this year,” he said. an EU spokesman told Reuters.

The Angolan government had no immediate comment.

The eventual deal would likely increase exports of Angolan products to the EU and possibly reduce the dominance of oil, which currently accounts for almost all exports by value.

According to EU estimates, Angolan products such as frozen prawns, ethyl alcohol, wheat bran and bananas are expected to benefit the most from the planned tariff lifting.

With the increase in trade expected from the deal and the EU’s increased fuel needs amid the energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, Angola could also export more oil to the 27-nation bloc. Currently, China is by far its biggest customer, although oil is now not subject to any import duties in the EU.

Most Angolan exports to the EU already enjoy preferential treatment as the country had been classified as a least developed country.

But thanks to its recent oil-fueled economic growth, it is set to lose that status in 2027. That means it would face tariffs on several products unless it joins the trade deal. regional agreement that the EU signed with six southern African countries in 2016.

Under the agreement, EU products will also enter the Angolan market with reduced customs duties – a benefit for local consumers but a risk for domestic industries if they do not invest to stay competitive.

Under the regional trade agreement, the EU has completely abolished tariffs and quotas on all imports from Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini, and has almost completely lifted duties on South African exports, which however remain subject to quotas.

In exchange, Southern African countries have removed duties on up to 86% of EU exports.

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