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Wednesday, 05 October 2011

Access to EU markets for exporters from ACP countries

On 30th September the European Commission adopted a proposal to amend the Market Access Regulation, governing the trade conditions for certain developing countries that have negotiated Economic Partnership Agreements with the EU. […]

The Regulation was conceived as a temporary solution and not a permanent facility. Four years of application has provided enough breathing space for ratification or further negotiation. It is therefore time to bring the process to a close, by amending the Regulation and concluding Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations. Therefore, the Commission is proposing to withdraw the Market Access Regulation for the countries that have not taken the necessary steps towards ratifying the Economic Partnership Agreements signed with the EU.

Eighteen countries (14 countries in the Caribbean, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Papua New Guinea) have taken the necessary steps towards ratification of initialled agreements, and will continue to use the facility. But the other 18 countries have not even signed their agreement or are still not applying it. […]

The 18 countries which would be withdrawn from the Market Access Regulation have a choice: whether to go ahead and establish a partnership with the EU or not. To maintain free access to the EU, these countries can take the necessary steps towards ratification of existing Economic Partnership Agreements or conclude new regional Agreements with the EU.

Recent dynamism in various EPA negotiations suggests that the beneficiaries of the Market Access Regulation, and other ACP countries for that matter, can conclude ongoing regional negotiations in time. In doing so, they can create a sustainable long-term partnership with the EU in which free market access is maintained, but which also supports regional integration, strengthens economic governance and helps attract investment.

Source: Bilaterals