Analytical Note, June 2010

EPA Contentious Issues Matrix: Key Problems and Some Recommendations.

The document contains a matrix of 21 contentious issues pertaining to the goods negotiations in the EPAs. For each issue, the ‘best’ language (i.e. least damaging language) from the various EPA texts is identified. The problems posed by these contentious issues are then highlighted, and some recommendations provided.

These 21 issues include the standstill clause; review clause, rendez-vous clause; market access offer (substantially all trade); community levies; prohibition of quantitative restrictions; MFN clause; rules of origin; export taxes; general exceptions; multilateral safeguard; bilateral safeguard; definition of parties; development assistance; modification of tariff commitments; free circulation of goods; food security clause; infant industry protection; subsidies; agricultural export subsidies; non-execution clause.

The recommendations should be red in the context of attempts at ‘damage control’. In as far as the EPA forces on countries a high level of liberalization, watering down some clauses can lessen but not eliminate the damage that is likely to result.

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