Key Agricultural Issues in the Post-Cotonou Negotiations
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Stevens, Christopher. 2002. Key Agricultural Issues in the Post-Cotonou Negotiations. IDS, Brighton, UK
Permanent link to cite or share this item: https://hdl.handle.net/10568/52943
This Briefing Paper aims to break the sterile exchange of well established positions that has characterised EU–African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) debate on trade for the past five years or more. Negotiations have now begun for a successor to the trade regime in the current Cotonou Agreement. The new trade regime is scheduled to be in place by 2008. The first phase of negotiations covers general principles. There is disagreement between the ACP (which want this phase to last a year and result in a binding agreement on the areas covered) and the EU (which appears to want a shorter time period and no binding agreement). But in either case, serious, informed negotiation for phase 2 cannot occur unless certain basic research has been completed. The Briefing Paper describes the potential implications for agriculture of a new trade agreement. It assesses the data and analysis that is required to understand ACP interests. And it indicates which data and analyses are already available, which need to be undertaken, and the priority areas for this new work. The ACP–EU negotiations are taking place during a period when there are many other, parallel negotiations all of which will have inter-related effects. For both practical and developmental reasons, the ACP need to identify, first, their national development priorities and, second, their regional goals. These should be the foundations on which their multilateral policy is based. Trade policy with the EU needs to be tailored so that it is compatible with these national, regional and multilateral priorities. The tail of a trade agreement with one (albeit important) trade partner should not wag the dog of national, regional or multilateral policy. A high priority for new research is to identify the potential implications of reciprocity in the area of agriculture. An initial set of scoping studies can be based upon a simplifying assumption that the terms of an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) will be similar to those of the EU–South Africa Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement EU–SAFTA). They can use various hypothetical EPA memberships to show the range of potential effects. This initial set of studies will allow each ACP state to identify the range of agricultural products that could be excluded from an EPA. In this way, they can identify more clearly than is possible at present the potential competitive and fiscal effects of reciprocity. To the extent that ACP states lower their restrictions on imports from the EU, domestic producers will face greater competition. And, unless alternative revenue sources are obtained, a lowering of tariffs will, at least in the medium term, result in a fall in government revenue. Agricultural producers stand to be affected by both impacts. They will face increased competition from cheaper food imports. And they may suffer from any knock-on effects of reduced government revenue on lower agricultural development expenditure. Such sensitivity analysis will not only guide ACP states on the potential effects of different EPA memberships. They will also help identify the ways in which development and regional integration strategies need to evolve to overcome the new challenges. For these outcomes to arrive in good time for the phase 2 negotiations data gathering needs to commence by November 2002.
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