Trade Agreements with ACP Countries
The EPAs are the most development-friendly PTAs concluded by the EU in the 2000s. The EU conceded the longest transition periods for market liberalization to ACP countries and concluded goods-only agreements with Sub-Saharan African states. Exporter and import-dependent interests did not have major stakes in the negotiations, due to the lack of domino effects with major trade powers and the low integration of these countries in GVCs. For these reasons, the politics of the EPA negotiations was mostly affected by European farmer organizations and NGOs. As an exception to these trends, import-dependent service industries actively participated in the Commission’s consultations concerning the negotiations with CARIFORUM. Extensive mobilization of European NGOs, coupled with the lack of European offensive interests, resulted in substantial concessions from the EU to its ACP partners, and especially the African delegations. At the same time, CSOs obtained the inclusion of the most stringent norms concerning sustainable development and human rights in the agreements. On the producers’ front, agricultural organizations were able to obtain protection for European-sensitive agricultural products, especially sugar. Service interest groups, in turn, pushed for liberalization commitments regarding key sectors relevant for European importers in the EPA negotiations with CARIFORUM.
KeywordsCaribbean countries Sub-Saharan Africa European farmers service industry NGOs
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