Yesterday, on the 14th of May 2012, the commercial partnership between the European Union and four eastern and southern african countries was intiated: Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and the Zimbabwe are all part of this agreement.
The deal implies that the EU will allow products imported from its partners on its markets without applying any special taxes or any quota. On their end, the african partners agree to treat european products on their markets the very same way their products are being treated on the EU market (no tax, no quota). This partnership will gradually materialize on a 15 years time span.
In 2007, the Comores, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zambia, and Zimbabwe all signed a first partnership agreement with the European Union. Five years later, the Comores and Zimbia got out of the game, but the other ones are now taking a step forward, and closer to the EU.
In 2000, the United States had signed a similar partnership agreement (AGOA) with some sub-saharan countries, from which Madagascar was excluded in 2010 because of Andry Rajoelina’s barely legal presidency. This is the USA’s loss, and the EU’s win.