UK businesses trading with Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) should experience no post-Brexit disruption, thanks to an agreement signed by Trade Minister George Hollingbery.

The trade continuity agreement is intended to replicate provisions of the current Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) set up by the EU with ESA countries.

It will allow continued tariff-free imports from the ESA and remove the majority of tariffs on British exports to the countries concerned.

Those countries covered by the existing EU EPA are Zimbabwe, Zambia, Comoros, Mauritius, Madagascar and the Seychelles.

“The agreement will allow businesses in Eastern and Southern Africa to continue trading with the UK without any tariffs and lays the foundations for our ambitious trade for development agenda,” Mr Hollingbery said.

That sentiment was echoed by the Trade Commissioner for Africa, Emma Wade-Smith, who said it will provide continuity for businesses, consumers and exporters as the UK prepares for Brexit.

According to the Department for International Trade (DIT), significant savings will be made by trading with ESA countries under the EPA rather than on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms.

Trade between the UK and the ESA is estimated to have been worth £1.5 billion in 2017.

Speaking for Princes Tuna (Mauritius) Limited, Managing Director Abdulla Elahee Doomun welcomed the agreement, saying it will help support more than 4000 jobs in the company’s two factories, plus many others in the supply chain.

The UK-ESA agreement will come into effect either in January 2021 when the Brexit implementation period ends under the deal agreed by the Prime Minister or on 29 March this year if the UK leaves the EU with no deal.

Last reviewed 11 February 2019