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An overview of the EU-ACP countries' economic partnership agreements: Building a new trade relationship

03-07-2018

In line with the objective enshrined in the Cotonou Partnership Agreement (signed in 2000), the EU has sought to update its preferential trade relationship with the ACP countries by establishing free-trade areas with regional groupings. As well as allowing ACP countries to continue exporting their products to the EU without any restriction, this would also ensure compliance with WTO rules. The negotiation process has been longer and more complicated than initially expected. So far, it has ushered ...

In line with the objective enshrined in the Cotonou Partnership Agreement (signed in 2000), the EU has sought to update its preferential trade relationship with the ACP countries by establishing free-trade areas with regional groupings. As well as allowing ACP countries to continue exporting their products to the EU without any restriction, this would also ensure compliance with WTO rules. The negotiation process has been longer and more complicated than initially expected. So far, it has ushered in nine agreements covering more than half (51) of the ACP countries. Some of these agreements are interim, others are final; seven are already under provisional application. Economic partnership agreements are development-oriented asymmetric agreements providing important advantages and safeguards to ACP countries, in order to foster their sustainable economic development, regional integration and integration on world markets. They are the first attempt to liberalise trade between economies with such a disparate level of development, which also possibly explains the difficulties encountered during the negotiations. Despite the EU's initial ambitions to conclude modern comprehensive agreements that also cover trade in services and trade-related issues, this has been fully possible only in the EPA with the Cariforum region; in the other EPAs, these elements have been left for future negotiations.

The EU and Africa [What Think Tanks are thinking]

17-11-2017

The European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) will hold their fifth summit on 29-30 November 2017 in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, with the aim of strengthening political and economic relations between the two continents. The focus of the meeting is on investing in youth, which is a priority for Africa, where 60 % of the population is under the age of 25. Other key topics include security, governance and democracy, human rights, migration and mobility, as well as investment and trade, skills development ...

The European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) will hold their fifth summit on 29-30 November 2017 in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, with the aim of strengthening political and economic relations between the two continents. The focus of the meeting is on investing in youth, which is a priority for Africa, where 60 % of the population is under the age of 25. Other key topics include security, governance and democracy, human rights, migration and mobility, as well as investment and trade, skills development and job creation. Relations between Africa and the European Union are governed by partially overlapping policy frameworks. The most important ones are the EU-ACP Cotonou Agreement from 2000 and the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) agreed in 2007. Relations with Northern African countries are governed by the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EUROMED) launched in 2008 and the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP). This note offers links to a series of recent studies from major international think tanks and research institutes on EU-African relations and other issues related to the continent and its countries. More reports on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) can be found in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are Thinking’ published in October 2017.

ACP-EU relations and the Joint Africa-EU strategy

15-11-2017

The Cotonou Agreement, a treaty binding the EU and 78 ACP countries, the majority of them from sub-Saharan Africa, is set to expire in 2020. Since its inception in 2000, major changes have occurred and new issues have emerged, requiring a broader approach. For the African states parties to the Cotonou Agreement, the Joint Africa-EU strategy could be an appropriate platform to reflect on their future relations with the EU.

The Cotonou Agreement, a treaty binding the EU and 78 ACP countries, the majority of them from sub-Saharan Africa, is set to expire in 2020. Since its inception in 2000, major changes have occurred and new issues have emerged, requiring a broader approach. For the African states parties to the Cotonou Agreement, the Joint Africa-EU strategy could be an appropriate platform to reflect on their future relations with the EU.

Understanding Sustainable Development Goals

14-11-2017

Two years ago, the international community embarked on an unprecedented common path mapped out in the comprehensive set of Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs), to which it had committed. Taking into account the high level of ambition of this new agenda, it was crucial to implement it as quickly and coherently as possible on all levels.

Two years ago, the international community embarked on an unprecedented common path mapped out in the comprehensive set of Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs), to which it had committed. Taking into account the high level of ambition of this new agenda, it was crucial to implement it as quickly and coherently as possible on all levels.

Decentralised cooperation in the context of the 2030 Agenda

16-06-2017

Cooperation between sub-national authorities is a potentially powerful tool for the local implementation and public ownership of the 2030 Agenda. Without application at every level that ambitious, comprehensive agenda might never come to fruition.

Cooperation between sub-national authorities is a potentially powerful tool for the local implementation and public ownership of the 2030 Agenda. Without application at every level that ambitious, comprehensive agenda might never come to fruition.

Human Rights Provisions in Economic Partnership Agreements in Light of the Expiry of the Cotonou Agreement in 2020

23-03-2017

The study considers the options for suspending obligations under the EU-ACP Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) in connection with violations of human rights, democratic principles or the rule of law following the expiry of the Cotonou Agreement in 2020. It outlines the functioning of the human rights clause in the Cotonou Agreement, before considering the possibilities for suspending the EPAs under their own provisions, or for other reasons in international law, such as countermeasures. Next, ...

The study considers the options for suspending obligations under the EU-ACP Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) in connection with violations of human rights, democratic principles or the rule of law following the expiry of the Cotonou Agreement in 2020. It outlines the functioning of the human rights clause in the Cotonou Agreement, before considering the possibilities for suspending the EPAs under their own provisions, or for other reasons in international law, such as countermeasures. Next, it discusses how any post-2020 arrangements can best continue the existing mechanisms for human rights conditionality set out in the Cotonou Agreement. In connection with this, this study proposes certain suggestions for improving future versions of human rights clauses, and considers whether there are legal obstacles to the invocation of this clause under general international law, principally under WTO law. The study concludes with a set of comments and recommendations.

ACP-EU relations after 2020: The end of an era

16-12-2016

One of the main building blocks of EU external relations, the Cotonou Partnership Agreement between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP), is set to expire in 2020. Due to EU institutional evolution and changes in the global balance of powers, a renewal 'as is' of the agreement is not an option. There is a need to streamline ACP-EU relations, with new EU strategies in the regions concerned, and to adapt to the ACP countries' new ambitions. The issue of financing is also on ...

One of the main building blocks of EU external relations, the Cotonou Partnership Agreement between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP), is set to expire in 2020. Due to EU institutional evolution and changes in the global balance of powers, a renewal 'as is' of the agreement is not an option. There is a need to streamline ACP-EU relations, with new EU strategies in the regions concerned, and to adapt to the ACP countries' new ambitions. The issue of financing is also on the table. Stakeholders have started discussions, focusing on the overlaps with other frameworks and the assets that should be kept or reformed. The main challenge for the EU is to keep its leverage in the region while remaining faithful to the values the EU Treaties promote. The EU's new relationship with the ACP countries will have to be consistent with recent strategic changes in its foreign policy, such as the EU global strategy. Formal negotiations between the parties need to start in August 2018 at the latest. Further to a joint evaluation, the European Commission and the High Representative have put forward their preferred option: an umbrella agreement with tailored regional partnerships. To date, other stakeholders have not yet taken formal positions, but some discernible patterns are emerging. This briefing develops and updates an 'At a glance' note of September 2016.

Stosunki AKP-UE po roku 2020

27-09-2016

Dwadzieścia osiem państw członkowskich Unii Europejskiej (UE) oraz 78 państw Afryki, Karaibów i Pacyfiku (AKP) jest prawnie związanych postanowieniami umowy z Kotonu, która obejmuje trzy ściśle ze sobą powiązane filary: wymiar polityczny, strategie na rzecz rozwoju oraz współpracę gospodarczą i handlową. W lutym 2020 r. umowa z Kotonu wygaśnie i trzeba będzie stworzyć nowe podstawy stosunków z uwzględnieniem zalet i wad dotychczasowej umowy. Unia powinna zająć stanowisko w tej sprawie do maja 2017 ...

Dwadzieścia osiem państw członkowskich Unii Europejskiej (UE) oraz 78 państw Afryki, Karaibów i Pacyfiku (AKP) jest prawnie związanych postanowieniami umowy z Kotonu, która obejmuje trzy ściśle ze sobą powiązane filary: wymiar polityczny, strategie na rzecz rozwoju oraz współpracę gospodarczą i handlową. W lutym 2020 r. umowa z Kotonu wygaśnie i trzeba będzie stworzyć nowe podstawy stosunków z uwzględnieniem zalet i wad dotychczasowej umowy. Unia powinna zająć stanowisko w tej sprawie do maja 2017 r. Przed zawarciem umowy konieczna będzie zgoda Parlamentu Europejskiego.

Good Governance in EU External Relations: What Role for Development Policy in a Changing International Context?

04-07-2016

EU support for governance reforms has gained prominence in the EU’s external relations and particularly in the EU’s development policy. However, the EU’s engagement in this field has come under considerable pressure in recent years. It is by no means automatic that the EU will continue and further increase its engagement in supporting governance reforms. In this context, the objective of this study is to summarise evidence from academic research on why the EU and other donors should support governance ...

EU support for governance reforms has gained prominence in the EU’s external relations and particularly in the EU’s development policy. However, the EU’s engagement in this field has come under considerable pressure in recent years. It is by no means automatic that the EU will continue and further increase its engagement in supporting governance reforms. In this context, the objective of this study is to summarise evidence from academic research on why the EU and other donors should support governance reforms and under which conditions EU support positively contributes to governance reforms. Moreover, the study analyses how the EU has aimed at contributing to governance reforms during the past decade, focusing in particular on the Development Cooperation Instrument and the European Development Fund. The study puts emphasis on EU development policy, but places the analysis of governance support through development policy in the broader context of EU external relations. The study makes recommendations related to EU good governance support, to good governance support through the DCI and EDF, to ongoing strategy processes in EU external relations, and also in regard to the future of the EU’s relations with the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.

Autorzy zewnętrzni

Christine HACKENESCH

Export Taxes and Other Restrictions on Raw Materials and their Limitation through Free Trade Agreements: Impact on Developing Countries

28-04-2016

Export taxes and restrictions take various forms and their effects may not be limited to the countries that apply them. Developing countries use such export taxes and restrictions in pursuit of development policy objectives. The effects on third countries depend on the market power of the country applying them and the nature of the restriction or tax. Large developing and emerging economies are the main users of these types of instruments, which are often used to counter the distortions due to tariff ...

Export taxes and restrictions take various forms and their effects may not be limited to the countries that apply them. Developing countries use such export taxes and restrictions in pursuit of development policy objectives. The effects on third countries depend on the market power of the country applying them and the nature of the restriction or tax. Large developing and emerging economies are the main users of these types of instruments, which are often used to counter the distortions due to tariff escalation. Multilateral trade rules do not forbid the use of export taxes, but they do apply to export restrictions. The treatment of these instruments in Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) negotiated by the EU varies, even between the different Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). The EU should be flexible when it comes to the treatment of these instruments in trade agreements involving LDCs and small developing countries. In some cases, the EU should consider renegotiating existing agreements to remove strict prohibitions that can hamper development.

Autorzy zewnętrzni

Maximiliano Mendez Parra (Overseas Development Institute), Samuel R. Schubert (Webster University) and Elina Brutschin (Webster University)

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