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West Africa to resume EPA negotiations with EU

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Thursday, 30 January 2014

West Africa to resume EPA negotiations with EU

West Africa and the European Union (EU) will resume their suspended Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations before the end of January as disclosed in a statement issued by ECOWAS Assistant Director of Communication, Mr Sunny Ugoh, in Abuja on Thursday 23 January 2014.
The statement says that the resumption of the negotiations followed the directive calling for flexibility in the process  taken by the ECOWAS  during the extraordinary summit in Dakar in October 2013. “The summit also directed West Africa’s chief negotiators to expeditiously resume negotiations with their European partners with a view to concluding a regional agreement as soon as possible,’’ it says.
The document recalls that negotiations were suspended in 2012 following divergences mainly over market access conditions and the EPA Development Programme (EPADP). It described EPADP as a dedicated funding programme to enable West Africa cope with the cost of adjustment to the impending trade regime.
The statement also indicates that West Africa, comprising the 15 ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania, also asked for 15billion Euros of additional funding for the EPADP. However it reminds that the EU insisted that the programme should be funded from existing bilateral and multilateral contributions.
The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) is a scheme to create a free trade area between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP).

Source: BusinessDayOnline.com