At a time when the pace of the EPA negotiations has increased in all regions, and the state of play is ever changing, accessing the latest information available on these wide-ranging agreements is of essence. Pursuing its efforts to increase the transparency of the highly sensitive EPA negotiations, ECDPM has decided to set up dedicated pages for each ACP region negotiating an EPA with the EU at http://www.acp-eu-trade.org/epa and http://www.ecdpm.org/epa. These pages will be updated on a weekly basis and aim at providing news “as-it-happens”, drawing from various reliable sources of information. French versions of these webpages are available for the regions Central Africa, West Africa and Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) as well as for the All ACP level.
Oxfam International on EPAs in 2008
According to the NGO, these agreements demand ACP countries to liberalise their EU imports as broadly and as rapidly as possible and rule out previous declarations (in most cases, liberalisation will cover more than 80% of imports more often than not over 15 years); do not offer adequate protection for developing industries or food safety because they do not contain adequate safeguard clauses; do not contain a clause for the modification of the tariff commitments; demand the reduction or elimination of export restrictions (reducing the possibilities for reserving raw materials for local processing); do not contain EU commitment to reduce or eliminate export subsidies; only contain minor improvement of rules origin, limiting cumulation to countries that have signed interim agreements; oblige ACP countries to negotiate services, investment, government procurement and other issues even though Cotonou Agreement does not contain such obligations and they remain vague on development cooperation and impact assessment. See http://www.oxfam.org.uk/applications/blogs/pressoffice/2008/01/oxfam_international_on_economi.html
ONGOING DISCUSSION FORUM:
Which factors are necessary to the achievement of a positive relationship between
Trade and Sustainable Development?
“Trade liberalization and sustainable development are not unavoidably incompatible. Trade liberalization can advance sustainable development goals, just as it can retard their achievement. The same can be said for foreign direct investment. Appropriate investment can spur sustainable development, but much investment in developing countries has been environmentally, socially and often economically questionable.” (IISD Statement on Trade and SD) We kindly invite you to participate in the recently posted Discussion Forum. You will need to be logged-in to the Development Gateway to contribute. We advise to register there anyway.
GTZ Studies on EPAs
Four Studies on how to ensure development friendly EPAs have been published by GTZ. The main themes are TRIPS, trade in services, SPS measures, and trade liberalisation impacting on regional integration. http://www.gtz.de/en/themen/laendliche-entwicklung/13421.htm