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International Agreements in Progress: Economic Partnership Agreement with the East African Community

16-04-2018

The current ACP-EU Partnership Agreement (the 'Cotonou Partnership Agreement') features a provision making it possible for the EU to negotiate different economic partnership agreements (EPAs) with regional ACP sub-groups. This provision was needed for the partnership to be brought into compliance with the World Trade Organization's rules. Negotiations for an EPA with the members of the East African Community (EAC) – at the time: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda – were finalised in October ...

The current ACP-EU Partnership Agreement (the 'Cotonou Partnership Agreement') features a provision making it possible for the EU to negotiate different economic partnership agreements (EPAs) with regional ACP sub-groups. This provision was needed for the partnership to be brought into compliance with the World Trade Organization's rules. Negotiations for an EPA with the members of the East African Community (EAC) – at the time: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda – were finalised in October 2014. South Sudan, which joined the EAC in 2016, did not take part in the negotiations, but can join the agreement once it comes into force. Once it enters into force, the EU-EAC EPA will provide immediate duty-free, quota-free access to the EU market for all EAC exports, combined with partial and gradual opening of the EAC market to imports from the EU. The EPA contains detailed provisions on sustainable agriculture and fisheries, rules of origin, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures. The parties are committed to concluding additional negotiations within five years of the entry into force of the agreement. The signing of the EPA has been stalled because of discussions within the EAC. Kenya is the only EAC country to have ratified the agreement, in order not to lose free access to the EU market. Other EAC member states, being least developed countries, still enjoy free access and some of them have pushed for further clarifications on the consequences of the EPA for their economies before the EAC endorses the agreement. First edition. The 'International Agreements in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the process, from initial discussions through to ratification.

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.

Vanjski autor

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

International cooperation in Africa

04-03-2015

Inspired by the idea of pan-African solidarity and unity, the countries of Africa have established a multi-layered architecture for cooperation and integration. At its heart is a pancontinental organisation with a broad mandate – the African Union. At subcontinental level, a total of eight regional economic communities (RECs), with overlapping memberships in a number of cases, have been officially recognised by the African Union as pillars of economic integration.

Inspired by the idea of pan-African solidarity and unity, the countries of Africa have established a multi-layered architecture for cooperation and integration. At its heart is a pancontinental organisation with a broad mandate – the African Union. At subcontinental level, a total of eight regional economic communities (RECs), with overlapping memberships in a number of cases, have been officially recognised by the African Union as pillars of economic integration.

The Tripartite Free Trade Area project: Integration in southern and eastern Africa

04-03-2015

The African continent could soon witness an important milestone on its path towards economic integration with the completion of the Tripartite Free Trade Area covering 26 countries and representing more than half the continent's gross domestic product (GDP). The establishment of this area would be the logical consequence of integration efforts in three regional economic communities in the eastern and southern parts of the continent, which have already concluded preferential trade agreements with ...

The African continent could soon witness an important milestone on its path towards economic integration with the completion of the Tripartite Free Trade Area covering 26 countries and representing more than half the continent's gross domestic product (GDP). The establishment of this area would be the logical consequence of integration efforts in three regional economic communities in the eastern and southern parts of the continent, which have already concluded preferential trade agreements with considerable economic benefits in their own regions and are moving forward with integration. The proposed Tripartite Free Trade Area is based on three main pillars – market integration, infrastructure development and industrial development – reflecting the fact that there are multiple obstacles to trade in the region and it requires efforts to increase and diversify industrial production and improve transport infrastructure. The trade negotiations include two phases: in the first phase, they will deal with the liberalisation of trade in goods, by removing tariff and non-tariff barriers, and with ensuring the free movement of business people; in a second phase, they will tackle the gradual liberalisation of trade in services. Although the expected direct gains are moderate and will mainly benefit the more economically powerful countries, the real advantages should be broader, including an improved business environment, more foreign direct investment, enhanced economic development in general, and, most importantly, bringing impetus to the realisation of the continental free trade area, a project currently led by the African Union. The completion of the Tripartite Free Trade Area would also simplify the complicated geography of regional integration schemes, and would fit into the integration efforts promoted in the framework of the Economic Partnership Agreements already negotiated by the EU with two of the regional groupings involved.

African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Countries' Position on Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAS)

08-04-2014

After twelve years, Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) negotiations between African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and the EU continue to drag on, as many contentious issues remain pending. The decision by the EU to remove their unilateral trade preferences by 1 October 2014 for countries that have not signed or ratified the EPAs is now creating tremendous pressure and tension in various countries and subregions. In particular, African countries are caught in the dilemma of losing their ...

After twelve years, Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) negotiations between African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and the EU continue to drag on, as many contentious issues remain pending. The decision by the EU to remove their unilateral trade preferences by 1 October 2014 for countries that have not signed or ratified the EPAs is now creating tremendous pressure and tension in various countries and subregions. In particular, African countries are caught in the dilemma of losing their preferential market access for the few products they export to the EU if they do not sign the EPAs, versus their longer-term development prospects if they do sign the EPAs. The threats presented by EPAs as articulated by many stakeholders include: significant tariff revenue losses, loss in policy space and threats to local industries, unemployment, serious disruption of existing or planned customs unions and the displacement of existing regional trade and regional production capacities. Several alternatives to the EPAs have been proposed which could be WTO-compatible and which the EU already provides to some other countries. Options could include: improving the EU's Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) schemes by, for instance, giving all countries in ‘LDC customs unions’ Everything But Arms (EBA) treatment, or improving the EU's GSP+ scheme. Alternatively, the EU could demand a waiver from WTO members for specific developing country regions, as the US has successfully done.

Vanjski autor

Aileen Kwa, Peter Lunenborg, and Wase Musonge (South Centre, Geneva, Switzerland)

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