Economic Partnership Agreements: The Impact of Trade Liberalisation
The WTO rules of non-discrimination require a redefinition of the existing trade agreements between the European Union and the ACP countries. If they wish to retain preferential access to the European market, these countries and the EU will have to come to a reciprocal free trade agreement (EPAs) covering most of the bilateral trade. But uneven development creates a high degree of asymmetry between the two negotiating parties, accentuated by the current levels of protection which strongly concentrate the effort necessary to accomplish the liberalisation reform on ACP countries. In this article we evaluate the commercial and budgetary impact for each of the six ACP regions with whom the EU has been negotiating. For some countries, the transition will be difficult and will require sustained European support.
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