December Issue 1 2012

EPAs and the least developed countries

EPAs tackle co-operation on trade-related issues – EPAs provide an opportunity to address complex issues affecting trade, such as copyright and the environment
EPAs boost regional markets and rules – by tagging on to ACP regional integration initiatives, EPAs help promote regional solutions, seen as good for development
EPAs provide for a broader approach to trade barriers – the EPA approach recognizes that tariffs and quotas aren’t the only barriers to trade, and provides a way of addressing wider issues, e.g. poor infrastructure, inefficient customs and border controls, or inadequate
EPAs bring tailor-made approaches to regional needs – EPAs are worked out in regional negotiations to make sure they take account of regional needs and each country’s sensitivities and conditions
EPAs safeguard local economies – though ACP countries that sign EPAs must gradually open up to 80% of their markets to EU imports, safeguards ensure that EU products don’t compete against locally produced products. So, trade disruption is avoided while local industries and consumers benefit from cheaper inputs and consumer goods.
EPAs respect national sovereignty – instead of imposing development strategies, EPAs ask countries to determine their own development strategies and the pace and sequence of reform decisions.
EPAs are stable partnerships between EU and ACP countries – EPAs establish viable contracts between equal partners which can’t be altered without mutual agreement. This is an important difference compared to EBA (which is granted, and not negotiated, by the EU), favouring long-term planning and investment for development

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