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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Horse-trading on EU-African Economic Partnership Agreements
Author:Kohnert, DirkISNI
Periodical:Review of African Political Economy (ISSN 0305-6244)
Geographic terms:European Union
West Africa
international economic relations
trade agreements
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/03056244.2014.988700
Abstract:In view of the global run on African resources and the quest for promising new African markets, the EU is at pains to conclude Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with African states. Negotiations within the framework of the Cotonou Agreement, a cornerstone of ACP-EU development cooperation, have dragged on since 2002. The EPAs are meant not just to liberalise trade but also to promote economic growth in Africa. Officially, they aim at creating a win-win situation in a partnership of equals, i.e. development orientation, promotion of inclusive growth and regional integration with due attention to World Trade Organization (WTO)-compatible regulations. According to the EU 'Roadmap 2014-2017', all this will be realised by exemplary EPAs until 2017. The major issues at stake have been especially pronounced in the ongoing negotiations on West African EPAs. Contentious issues were legion, including time frames for liberalisation, rules of origin, most favoured nations (MFN) clause, export taxes, trade distorting domestic and export subsidies, quantitative restrictions, and development of benchmarks, indicators and targets for monitoring the implementation of the agreements and non-execution clause. Many Africans suspect the EU of double-talk and of promoting selfish export interest at the expense of inclusive growth in African countries. The authors of a recent study commissioned by the European Parliament acknowledge that several alternatives to the EPAs have already been proposed which could be WTO compatible and which the EU already provides to some other countries. Taking the proposed ECOWAS EPAs as an example, this article highlights and summarises the issues at stake, giving prominence to the critical scholarly standpoint of the avant-garde of new trade policy economics. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]