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ACP Council of Ministers takes strong stand on EPAs

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Monday, 04 July 2005

ACP Council of Ministers takes strong stand on EPAs

At its 81st session in Brussels on 21 and 22 June, the ACP Council of Ministers adopted resolutions on bananas, cotton, sugar, rum, REACH, the Millennium Development Goals, on the recommendations of the Commission for Africa and a declaration on the EPA negotiations.
The whole set of resolutions and declarations is attached at the bottom of this page.

The Declaration on EPAs is pasted below.
Highlights are:
THE COUNCIL
- Expresses grave concern that the negotiations have not proceeded in a satisfactory manner having failed to start addressing most issues of interest and concern to the ACP regions, in particular the development dimension and regional integration priorities;
- Stresses the need for WTO rules to be modified to incorporate legally binding operational S&D provisions in order to create flexibilities for developing countries engaged in Regional Trade Arrangements with developed countries. The revised RTA rules should take into account the specificities and development needs of the least developed, landlocked and small, weak and vulnerable ACP States so as to facilitate the conclusion of EPAs which will be economically, socially and politically sustainable;
- Regrets the disconnect between the public statements of the Commissioners of Trade and Development on the development aspect of EPAs and the actual position adopted during EPA negotiating sessions; calls on the Commission to ensure consistency and coherence in their trade and development policies;
- Emphasizes that additional resources are required to enable the ACP countries to benefit from trade opportunities by building their supply side capacities, including the building of infrastructure, transport and communication systems and measures to enhance their export competitiveness and therefore welcomes and supports the EU Council Decision with regard to providing (i) additional support for trade adjustment and integration in view of the expected high integration costs faced by developing countries; and (ii) substantive financing of trade related assistance;
- Emphasizes that each ACP State and Region should be allowed to make its own decisions on the timing, pace, sequencing, and product coverage of market opening in line with individual countries’ national development plans and poverty reduction strategies.