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Friday, 02 August 2013

EC: EPAs should not be seen as a threat to industrialization

The divergence between West African and EU negotiators on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) are a matter of concern, the representatives of the 15 Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) at the 10th session of the ACP-EU Regional Joint Parliamentary Assembly - held in Abuja (Nigeria) on 17-19 July – concluded.
These divergences cover several areas, such as: the level of market opening, rules of Origin, financing of the EPA Development Programme, the tariff dismantling calendar, as well as the impact of EU agricultural subsidies on West African agriculture. Yet, despite these differences, the members showed themselves optimists about the possibility of reaching a common basis.
The European Commission assured that EPAs should not be seen as a threat to industrialization or agriculture. This came in response to the ECOWAS countries that showed themselves worried over the protection of infant industries
Another thorny point is the threat that interim EPAs might pose to the regional integration. It is considered, that, with Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire having already signed interim EPAs, the regional integration could be affected by resulting different trade regimes. For this reasons, it was recommended that  EPAs should be conclude with West Africa, as an entity, rather than bilaterally with individual countries.

On 17-19 July, the West African region of the ACP Group hosted the 10th session of the ACP-EU regional Joint Parliamentary Assembly, bringing together parliamentarians from the 15 ECOWAS states and counterparts from the European Parliament to discuss key trade and development issues faced by the region. Dialogue focused on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA), energy resources and development, climate change, youth unemployment, fishing industry development, terrorism and piracy, and women’s empowerment.
Source: ACP