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Directorate General for Trade 1/6 19 December 2007 Update: Interim Economic Partnership Agreements The EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP) have been working to put in place new Economic Partnership Agreements by the end of 2007. Such agreements aim at progressively removing barriers to trade and enhancing cooperation in all areas related to trade. They are also aimed at providing an open, transparent and predictable framework for goods and services to circulate freely, thus increasing competitiveness of the ACP. Why is it important to put these agreements in place? The EU and ACP are jointly working against the deadline of 1 st January 2008, by which time they have promised non-ACP developing countries that they will have put in place a new system compatible with WTO rules. On 1 January 2008 the legal waiver non-ACP developing countries have extended to cover the existing trade arrangements between the ACP and the EU will expire. The European Commission has now initialled interim Economic Partnership Agreements with SADC, East and Southern Africa and key trading partners in the Pacific. These interim agreements cover market access and other areas including development cooperation. In all cases the EU has offered to remove all remaining tariffs and quotas for all exports from the ACP. This will apply from 1 January 2008, with a short transition period for sugar and rice. Liberalisation in ACP countries is gradual, taking place over many years. Where trade is liberalised at once or in the short term, tariffs for the products in question are in many cases already set at 0%. For example in the EAC countries, 64% of trade already enters at 0% tariff, and this is the focus of early liberalisation. The EU and the ACP have sought the greatest possible flexibility to exclude sensitive products from liberalisation – most ACP countries have opted not to liberalise most agricultural goods and many other important local products. The EU and the ACP have prioritised the need to provide shelter for growing industry from external competition. Sensitive industrial sectors have been excluded and an 'infant industry clause' has been agreed that will allow ACP countries to reinstate tariffs in future if they wish to protect a growing industry. The whole process will be backed up by a considerable package of development assistance. The ACP countries will receive €23billion in development assistance over the next seven years. African, Caribbean and Pacific countries will also be major beneficiaries of the decision to increase Europe's spending on aid for trade to €2billion a year, with a priority given to measures that help implement Economic Partnership Agreements. The money will be available to help countries prepare new structural reforms and trade policies, adjust to the changes they bring and enhance infrastructure and competitiveness to seize trade opportunities. TRADE POLICY
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This note was uploaded on 09/03/2011 for the course LAW 211 taught by Professor Lenaghan during the Fall '10 term at University of Western States.

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