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EU-ACP APEs: Analytical Note on Current State of Play

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Thursday, 18 April 2013

EU-ACP APEs: Analytical Note on Current State of Play

African and Pacific countries must negotiate the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the EU keeping as their primary focus the policy flexibilities they need for their development and the building of production capacities, states an analytical note on the current State of Play of the agreements, drafted by The South Centre (the Centre) - an intergovernmental organization of developing countries - last month.
The document highlights the concerns of the highest political authorities of ACP States regarding the EPAs and the inherent dangers for regional integration, industrialization, and the development of ACP States. It also suggests that activity is likely to increase further given the high probability that Europe will remove countries from being recipients of EU preferences provided under the EC market access regulation 1528/2007 if they have not signed or ratified their EPA by 1 October 2014.
It recommends however, that EPAs should not be completed out of fear or pressure of time geared towards averting the risk of trade disruption for non-LDCs. The losses of signing an EPA (tariff revenue foregone) also outweigh the gains (the duties avoided if the EPAs are signed). Thus far, attempts at inserting ACP countries’ concerns into the negotiations have been difficult due to the largely inflexible positions of the EU. In this regard, the organization believes that the African Union’s proposal for a common and enhanced trade preference system for least developed countries (LDCs) and low income countries (LICs) should be seriously considered. Also, ACP states should also focus on other alternatives to EPAs and policies to boost South-South trade.
The South Centre (the Centre) is an intergovernmental organization of developing countries established by an Intergovernmental Agreement (Treaty) which came into force on 31 July 1995 with its headquarters in Geneva.

Source: The South Centre