Research Paper 11, March 2007

Development at crossroads: The economic partnership agreement negotiations with Eastern and Southern African countries on trade in services.

In simple terms, Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) are intergovernmental Agreements that manage and promote trade activities in specific regions of the world, aimed at reducing or eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade between members. RTAs may solely address trade integration, or may be part of a wider Regional Integration Agreement (RIA), which encompasses governance and political issues. In Africa, RIAs are the most common form of integration and major examples in the region include the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), African Union (AU), Southern African Development Cooperation (SADC), and the East African Community (EAC). The rules concerning Economic Integration Agreements, which are embodied more specifically in the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) refer to agreements aimed at enhancing trade in services through, for example, providing for the elimination of existing discriminatory measures, and/or prohibition of new or more discriminatory measures.

This paper seeks to analyse negotiations between the European Union (EU) and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries in the context of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), assessing what is at stake in development terms for Eastern and Southern African (ESA) countries engaged in this process.


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