Maseru – The Minister of Trade and Industry says the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreements EPA by Southern African Development Community SADC member states does not pose a threat to Lesotho markets.
Speaking at a press briefing in Maseru Honourable Joshua Setipa said the agreement is presenting Basotho with opportunities to export everything produced locally to the European markets except for arms and ammunition, saying the European Union EU has put together its 27 markets with differences in consumer preferences, which means it is a big market.
Honourable Setipa said the agreement also has a development component aimed at capacitating and empowering Basotho to be able to export products of high standard that is preferred by the EU markets.
He said the agreement also takes into consideration the issue of the rule of origin and thus promote and enhance regional integration for at times countries will have to buy certain products from other member states to make finished products.
It has been reported that existing businesses in the country have been protected and those include the Basotho Cannery which used to export asparagus, canned fruits, local people specialising with textile industries, saying some are already exporting to South Africa.
The SADC-EPA countries constitute a diverse group, with Lesotho and Mozambique as least developed countries, Namibia and Botswana as upper middle income status, while Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland also form the Southern Africa Customs Union SACU.