The EU and the East African Community (EAC) have finalised a comprehensive agreement to boost trade, including of food products, between their regions.

A new "economic partnership agreement" will give food manufacturers in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda open access to the EU market. "[EAC] countries will now be able to focus on improving their economic performance without worrying about the potential loss of full duty-free quota-free access to the European market due to their improving status," the European Commission said.

In return, the EAC countries have agreed to phase out duties on EU exports, so that within 15 years of the deal coming into force, 80% of European goods sold in the region will be duty free.

Last year, the EU imported EUR1.32bn of vegetable products from the EAC, exporting to the African trade bloc EUR83m of vegetables. The EU imported EUR153m worth of EAC fishery products, exporting EUR3m of the same to the EAC.

Dacian Ciolos, the EU's agriculture commissioner, said: "This economic partnership agreement opens long-term perspective for duty-free, quota-free access to EU market for EAC farmers."