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Friday, 14 September 2012

EPAs: MEPs make a move in favour of the ACP Group

This week, the European Parliament was scheduled to vote on whether to amend Council Regulation (EC) 1528/2007 – a move that could lead to a number of ACP countries losing duty- and quota-free access to European markets. The debate followed a proposal by the European Commission that members of the ACP Group negotiating EPAs with the EU be required to conclude these before 1 January 2014. In favour of the ACP and responding to outspoken discontent within the group, MEPs voted for the 2014 deadline for the ratification of the EPAs to be extended until 2016.
This move addresses a number of the concerns raised by the ACP Group. Hours before the vote, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the ACP Secretary General, repeated appeals for flexibility in the negotiations, during an interview with Radio Australia. “We are completely opposed to the proposal to remove quota free, duty free [market access] privileges for ... ACP countries while these negotiations are ongoing. We encourage negotiations and a serene environment where the interests of [ACP] countries are taken into account in arriving at a comprehensive economic partnership agreement that is development friendly, and that also reinforces regional integration” said Dr Chambas.

Source: CTA/EP/ACP