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Apr 14 2021

What Are Economic Partnership Agreements

The agreements provide a framework for cooperation, not competition between geographically distant economies. An agreement between a stronger economy and a weaker economy should stimulate the economic development of the weaker nation, while bringing real benefits to the strongest. They aim to maintain peace between nations in different parts of the world and to improve the standard of living of families in less developed countries. The creation of a reciprocal trade agreement puts the EU at the forefront of how to reconcile the ACP Group`s special status with the EU`s WTO commitments. The near-solution solution to this dilemma is an agreement that is reciprocal only in the way necessary to meet wto criteria. In reality, ACP countries will have some leeway and maintain limited protection of their key products. The extent to which trade should be liberalised under the new EPAs remains a highly controversial issue and it remains to be seen whether the WTO provisions governing regional trade agreements will be revised at the end of the Doha Round in favour of the EPA system. Negotiations on economic partnership agreements can take years to conclude. The agreements address a detailed set of issues that all need to be balanced in order to bring benefits to all parties.

An agreement may be less difficult to reach between nations with a strong history of trade and cooperation, as was the case with the economic partnership agreements signed in 2007 by the European Union and the Asia-Caribbean and Pacific group. Proponents of economic partnership agreements argue that the agreement will benefit all parties in the same way in the long run. By removing barriers to trade and people, each economy in the agreement can take advantage of the other benefits of the market. In addition to economic ties, economic partnerships can strengthen political relations and provide strong allies in times of political upheaval or military action. Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are trade and development agreements negotiated between the EU and countries and regions in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP). The EU`s trade relations with ACP countries are governed by the Cotonou Partnership Agreement signed in 2000 between the EU, its member states and the ACP countries. As this political, economic and global development partnership expires in 2020, the parties are currently negotiating a successor agreement (the “post-Cotonou”). How can the WTO EPA be made compatible? Reform of the rules governing regional trade agreements Economic partnership agreements: where are we and what are the development challenges? The entry into force of an agreement is a long process: it requires signature, ratification and implementation and can sometimes take years.