Analytical Note, April 2010

Contentious Issues in the Goods EPAs: What is the Value of the 2009 Renegotiations?.

A large part of the discomfort of many ACP countries vis-à-vis the EPAs have to do with what are now known as ‘contentious issues’ or ‘unresolved issues’. Negotiations on these issues took place between the EU and some African sub-regions in 2009, with agreements on some of these issues emerging for SADC and ESA countries.

This note analyses the results of the negotiations on the standstill clause; modification of tariff commitments provision; duties and taxes on exports; the infant industry clause; prohibition of quantitative restrictions; the food security clause; free circulation of goods and definition of the ‘parties’.  These form only part of the list of the overall basket of contentious issues, but they are those negotiated in 2009.

Whilst the EU claims that it was flexible in the 2009 renegotiations, the results of these negotiations are disappointing. There are some positive improvements in certain areas. However, on other issues, the new language provides only clarification. In yet other areas, the new remedy could even be worse.

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