Background note on the EU approach to EPA negotiations
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CTA. 2003. Background note on the EU approach to EPA negotiations. Agritrade, April 2003. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/52900
A European Commission background note sets out the EC's approach to the EPA...
A European Commission background note sets out the EC's approach to the EPA negotiations. The Commission expresses the view that the 'clustering of issues in the joint discussions does not necessarily need to follow the division of labour decided between the ACP'. Against this background the Commission proposes to structure negotiation around four themes: market access, rules-related issues, the 'tool box' and procedures. It maintains that the development dimension can best be dealt with by integrating it into the relevant themes. Comment: This note makes no reference to special treatment for agricultural issues in the negotiations, in contrast to ACP proposals to discuss agricultural issues separately, given the importance of agriculture in ACP countries and the centrality of agricultural trade to the ACP-EU trade relationship. The Commission's clustering of issues allows it to avoid serious discussion of the impact of CAP reform on ACP-EU trade relations, despite its profound impact on the value of ACP trade preferences and the price competitiveness of EU agricultural and value-added food product exports. Overall the Commission's approach downplays the development challenges which will face ACP countries in exploiting opportunities under moves towards free trade with the EU and the magnitude of the costs which will arise for ACP economies as a consequence of the developing nature of their economies. This constitutes a profound weakness in the EU's approach to the current negotiations and contrasts markedly with ACP efforts to focus discussions on this dimension by having the development issues addressed in a separate negotiating group.