Six African countries say they will open up their markets to goods and services from the European Union.
of the countries - Mauritius, Seychelles, Zambia and Zimbabwe - signed
the agreement with the EU Saturday, while two other countries -
Madagascar and Comoros - say they will formally sign the deal in the
The African countries have been able to sell many
goods to the EU since 2008, and the deal ensures full access to the EU
market will continue. In return, the African countries have agreed to
remove tariffs on EU goods over the next 15 years.
Commissioner Catherine Ashton says the deal will help the eastern and
southern African nations diversify their economies and create a more
stable economic environment.
She says several other countries
from the region - Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Malawi and Sudan - have
also been involved in trade talks and could also join the pact.
from the six countries that have already agreed to the trade deal make
up only a fraction of a percent of all EU imports, worth almost $4.6
billion in 2008.
The African countries imported about $6.2
billion worth of goods, mostly mechanical and electrical components and
vehicles, over the same time span..
Some information for this report was provided by AP.