Tuesday, 11 December 2007

EU/Africa EPAs on Rocks

Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA), a multilateral trade agreements between the European Union (EU) and 75 African, Caribbean Pacific (ACP) is due to expire at the end of this year. Negotiations are currently ongoing to have a new one in place by January 2008. Part of the negotiations is within the Joint Africa-EU Strategy just ended in Lisbon where leaders agreed to work together on issues including security, development, trade and good governance amidst rows over who should be there and who should not.

On trade, some African leaders express anger on the European Union's proposals for a free trade agreement. Civil society organisations working on EPAs in Ghana have called on its government to stand by its position not to sign an interim agreements even in the face of pressure. Five African countries that make up the East African Community (EAC) earlier this month agreed a plan that will gradually open their markets to the EU. This Agreement have been deemed illegal by the World Trade Organization. Negotiations, however would continue next year in an effort to have a more comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement in place by 2009.

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