tradoc_137364 - Note on the state of play in the EPAs...

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Note on the state of play in the EPAs negotiations Brussels, 20 December 2007 We are approaching the end of an important period in the negotiations with ACP countries on Economic Partnership Agreements. Now is the time to take stock of what has been achieved and what remains to be done. Without Economic Partnership Agreements the 36 of the 78 ACP countries that had relied on the Cotonou preferences and are not Least Developed Countries (LDCs) would have faced an increase in tariffs under the Generalised System of Preferences when the Cotonou system expired on 31 December 2007. This was the external constraint we faced in the negotiations. Extending Cotonou was not an option legally because other developing countries had challenged it successfully at the WTO as discriminatory. Politically, extending Cotonou would have killed any hope of negotiating EPAs in the near future. Economically, the value of Cotonou preferences have been eroding and it has proved better at locking the ACP into commodity dependency than releasing them from it. The fact that WTO compatibility requires reciprocal liberalisation has been at the centre of the EPA debates. For a regime as contested as the EU-ACP trade relationship, legal security is essential. ACP countries recognised this, but some faced difficulties in accepting what this meant in practice, namely the gradual opening to the EU of their markets. That is why we have used every flexibility built into WTO requirements to help them adjust, including by indicating our commitment to defend in the WTO less comprehensive liberalisation on the ACP side than is the norm for bilateral trade agreements. This has helped to give those ACP countries who are more sceptical about market opening the flexibility they need to protect their agricultural sectors and emerging industries. It is worth noting, however, that a number of ACP countries chose in the end to liberalise further believing it in their development interests.
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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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tradoc_137364 - Note on the state of play in the EPAs...

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