unctad.org | Economic Partnership Agreements: Comparative Analysis of the Agricultural Provisions
Economic Partnership Agreements: Comparative Analysis of the Agricultural Provisions
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Full Report ( 99 Pages, 966.0 KB )

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This study analyses the development implications of the agricultural provisions of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the European Union (EU) and 36 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. It is argued that, for most countries, the loss of EU preferences was the decisive factor in signing the EPA, while the additional gains of improved market access have been limited.

With respect to ACP countries’ import liberalization commitments, the analysis shows that ACP agricultural markets are not exposed per se to EU products but are affected very differently. In some EPAs, import liberalization is (heavily) front-loaded and also includes agricultural items that appear to compete with domestic production. In other EPAs, import liberalization is largely back-loaded and excludes most sensitive agricultural items. For some countries and regions, the EPA will affect agricultural protection less than the implementation of regional tariff commitments will.

However, the EPA does not only include import liberalization commitments, but also a set of trade policies that comprehensively rule not only EU–ACP trade but also intra-ACP trade. The implementation of these rules is likely to affect current agricultural policies, as well as the Special and Differential Treatment (SDT) policies applied in some regions.

The negotiations towards comprehensive EPAs offer both parties the chance to address areas that are feared to constrain ACP development and regional integration. Having had the time to study and digest the contents of the interim agreements and their potential impact in a regional context, both sides might be interested in revising some of the provisions agreed upon and/or taking up more favourable conditions that have been agreed upon in another region.

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