1611 Working Group News on Trade – November 2016

  1.    Update Ghana interim Economic Partnership Agreement and the European Parliament 


The International Trade Committee of European Parliament (INTA) voted on the Ghana interim Economic Partnership Agreement (iEPA) last 11th November 2016. The Ghana iEPA may now go into application soon so that Ghana’s trade preferences will no longer be based on Cotonou or MAR1528 but on the iEPA itself. The European Union and Ghana will have to discuss which tariff liberalisation schedule Ghana will apply as the tariff liberalisation schedule of the iEPA is outdated and its point of departure no longer exists. The ECOWAS Common External Tariff is one of the instruments of harmonising ECOWAS Member States and strengthening its Common Market.


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      2.   EU-Africa deal comes into effect      


The SADC-EU EPA between the EU and Southern African states has come into effect. The agreement grants extensive access to the EU trade market to Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland, in most sectors, free from duties and quotas, but the EU retains the ability to protect domestic European markets if they are at risk from competition. The region is a prominent exporter of diamonds, beef, fish, sugar, oil and aluminium to the EU. Meanwhile, South Africa exports a more diverse array of products to the EU including manufactured goods.


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       3.  EU’s EPA strategy detrimental to Africa – ECOWAS farmers


The Economic Community of West Africa States ECOWAS,’ farmers have called on African leaders to resist the pressure being put on them by the EU to sign the EPA. The farmers group said the pressure and the strategies implemented by the EU to achieve the EPA put serious doubts about the real objectives. ECOWAS said that the reciprocal market opening asked by the EU that is the world’s premier economic trade zone, will weaken different economic sectors, including emerging industries, by subjecting them to fierce and unfair competition with products of European economies.


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