The challenges for the Cotonou Agreement
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CTA. 2002. The challenges for the Cotonou Agreement. Spore 101. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47687
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore101.pdf
The challenges for the Cotonou AgreementWhen the Cotonou Agreement was signed in Benin in 2000, it brought a profound change to the scheme of preferential trade rules which the EU had applied to ACP countries since 1975 under the four successive...
When the Cotonou Agreement was signed in Benin in 2000, it brought a profound change to the scheme of preferential trade rules which the EU had applied to ACP countries since 1975 under the four successive Lomé Conventions covering the period 1975 2000. Under Cotonou, new Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) must be signed between the EU and ACP countries in the year 2008. These EPAs will provide for free reciprocal trade exchanges, compatible with WTO rules. Non-reciprocity will continue to apply for least-developed countries. At the dawn of these negotiations, it is important to have a clear understanding of the various elements of the negotiating mandate of the EU: accompanying measures defining how development problems (such as restrictions in supply, and adjustments in fiscal policy) should be taken into account; alternatives to the EPA for non-signatories of the EPA; agreeing on a timetable; the European Commission is aiming at regional-level negotiations as from January 2004, whereas the ACP countries appear to be aiming first at overall negotiations before moving to the regional level, thus pushing back the date of regional consultations; the future of the protocols, or house-rules , guiding the conduct of EU-ACP exchanges; the possible impact of the EU s Common Agricultural Policy and the revised rules of origin which define whether or not a product is indeed of ACP origin; the issue of compatibility with WTO rules with regard to the revision of Article XXIV defining the position of customs unions and other special trading arrangements; the 'Everything But Arms' initiative, which allows the least-developed countries free access for all products except armaments, but brings into question the need for them to sign the EPAs. From the perspective of ACP countries, it is crucial that negotiations be expanded to include aid issues, in order to allow for the accompanying measures and any adjustments which may be needed in the transition from a non-reciprocal to a reciprocal agreement.