Policy Management Reports (series)

Alternative (to) EPAs: Possible scenarios for the future ACP trade relations with the EU

Policy Management Report 11

This page is also available in: French

February 2006

Bilal, S., Rampa, F. 2006. Alternative (to) EPAs: Possible scenarios for the future ACP trade relations with the EU. (Policy Management Report 11). Maastricht: ECDPM.

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This study discusses and clarifies the options that are available to the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries involved in negotiations on Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union (EU), thereby broadening the potential scope of the EPA negotia- tions and putting development at the very heart of the debate.

Since de-colonisation, the relationship between the EU and 77 of its Member States’ former colonies in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific (the ACP countries) has remained important for both sides, symbolised by the successive agreements of Yaoundé (1963-1975), Lomé (1975-2000), and most recently, Cotonou (2000-2020). An important feature of these agreements has been the preferential access to the European market that they have granted to exporters from ACP countries. Even though the full potential of these trade preferences has never been realised, trade with the EU continues to be a crucial element in most ACP countries’ development strategies.

The conditions of trade between the EU and ACP countries may change dramatically as a consequence of the current negotiations on Economic Partnership Agreements. All stakeholders in these negotiations agree that development must be the primary objective of these agreements. However, much controversy has arisen on what kind of agreement would best serve development in the ACP countries.

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Economic recovery and transformationPolicy Management Reports (series)ACP Group of StatesCotonou AgreementEconomic Partnership Agreements (EPAs)European Union (EU)AfricaCaribbeanEuropePacific