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Friday, 17 June 2016

Brussels to end preferential trade access for uncooperative African countries

The European Union’s economic partnership agreement (EPA) negotiations with its African partners have deteriorated into a long and drawn-out battle. Frustrated by the slow pace of progress in its negotiations with certain countries in the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP group), which have advanced little in ten years, the European Commission plans to end the preferential access of Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland to European markets by October 2016. The EU’s objective is to push its African partners to ratify the EPAs that will replace the non-reciprocal trade preferences granted by the EU to these countries as part of the Cotonou agreement of June 2000. While the majority of African countries have signed these agreements, very few have ratified them at a national level, and their implementation has been slow.