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Nordiska Afrikainstitutet | Uppsala

The negotiations for Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) between African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and the European Union (EU) were launched in 2000. The talks are carried out in terms of the Cotonou Agreement, which seeks to replace the non-reciprocal export preferences ACP countries have had with the European Community (EC) with reciprocal free trade arrangements. These negotiations have been carried out on a regional basis since January 2008 in order to align the parties’ trade regime with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. Accordingly, a number of ACP countries initialled Interim Economic Partnership Agreement texts at the end of 2007. The IEPAs are a stopgap measure meant to prevent trade disruptions while negotiations on fully fledged EPAs continue. The second stage of negotiations, which will include services, investment, competition and government procurement, is expected to lead to the conclusion of fully fledged EPAs. This policy note seeks to provide a brief overview of the implementation status of the EPAs in selected African regions. The paper also looks at the impact of the Interim Economic Partnership Agreements (IEPAs) on the countries that initialled them and provides recommendations on how to ensure that the eventual full EPA agreements promote the interests of African countries.


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