Overview of Article 37(4) Reviews of the EPA Negotiations
The European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean, Pacific (ACP) group of countries started negotiating a new trade regime in 2002 with the intention of concluding Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) by the end of 2007. Regional-level negotiations on EPAs between the EU and six ACP regional configurations have been formally underway for about 2-3 years. Some regions have made considerable advances on the substantive trade negotiations, while other regions stumbled on principles and fundamental issues with the European Commission (EC), which has made progress more difficult.
In this context, Article 37(4) of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA) mandates the parties to undertake a formal and comprehensive review of the EPA negotiations during 2006. These reviews are meant to assess the progress made, identify the outstanding issues and challenges, and make suggestions for the way forward.