Thursday, August 9, 2007

EPA negotiations in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA): Way Forward for Market Access negotiations

Market access, both for agricultural and for industrial products, is the core of the EPA agenda and in that sense is at the front stage of current negotiating efforts. In fact, one of the topmost motivations for concluding an EPA, from the viewpoint of ACP governments, is to lock Cotonou preferential conditions of market access into a new trade arrangement, reports back Darlan Marti, Expert on Trade in Industrial Goods in South Centre, from the round table dialogue on "EPA market access negotiations in Eastern and Southern Africa: what options for the way forward?" organized in Mauritius on 3 August 2007.

The round table was organized by South Centre in the margins of the 12th Regional Negotiating Forum of the EPA ESA region.

The EPAs provide a WTO-compatible framework, in the form of a reciprocal Free Trade Agreement, which guarantees the continuation of exports from ACP countries to the European Union under preferential conditions. For this reason, the conclusion of the market access aspect of EPAs is a sine qua non precondition to the finalization of EPAs.

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