Over the 2004-2010 period, the EU remained Madagascar's main commercial partner, with annual averages of 24 % of imports, ahead of China (13 %), and 53 % of exports, ahead of the United States of America (24 %).
Madagascar's trade balance with the EU was positive overall from 2004 to 2010, except in 2007, when it had a deficit of €3 million.
Madagascar belongs to several regional groups: the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
However, trade relations with countries in the region remain limited. Madagascar's market share within SADC fell from 2.4 % to 1.7 % between 2001 and 2006, with South Africa and Mauritius representing 80 % of exchanges in this zone. Madagascar's market share within COMESA is 2 %. In 2010 and 2011, average exports to SADC and COMESA were 5 % and 4 % respectively, whilst average imports were 12 % for SADC and 8 % for COMESA.
The EU encourages the three-part COMESA, SADC and East African Community process, which was launched in October 2008 in Kampala with the objective of setting up a free-trade zone between 26 countries in 2012.
Negotiating the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in the context of the Eastern and Southern Africa configuration, in the absence of a full EPA covering the six negotiation themes, Madagascar signed an interim EPA in August 2009. This covered market access, fisheries and development cooperation. It also contained chapters on rules of origin, trade defence and dispute resolution mechanisms.