Will the EU-Africa Economic Partnership Agreements Foster the Integration of African Countries into the Global Trading System?
27 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2008 Last revised: 12 Dec 2014
Date Written: June 13, 2008
New Economic Partnership Agreements were intended to replace the non-reciprocal EU-ACP trade relationship by 1 January 2008 in a bid to further the development of ACP countries under a WTO-compatible framework. African countries and regions failed to conclude any EPAs by that date due to scepticisms on the deeper trade implications of the EPAs and the non-implementation of the EPA preparatory programme. However, in a move that has seen the disintegration of Africas EPA negotiating groups and compromised regional integration across the continent, many African countries broke ranks to initial bilateral goods-only Interim Agreements with the EU as a first step towards concluding full EPAs. This paper sets out to examine the state of play of the EPA negotiations against the backdrop of the last-minute initialled Interim Agreements and their implication on the regional integration agenda of the African Economic Community (AEC). It argues that although such Interim Agreements may well preserve market access preferences, it is already having devastating effects on regional integration the very basis of Africas development strategy. The paper goes further to explores an alternative approach to concluding EPAs that would be compatible with both WTO provisions and the regional integration agenda of the Africa Economic Community.
Keywords: EU-Africa Economic Partnership Agreements, Economic Partnership Agreements, EPA, Africa, African, Global Trading System, ACP Countries, African Economic Community, AEC, Lome Convention, Cotonou Partnership Agreement, LDC
JEL Classification: F02, F10, F13, F14, F15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation