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SANITARY, PHYTOSANITARY AND TECHNICAL BARRIERS TO TRADE IN THE ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENTS BETWEEN THE EUROPEAN UNION AND THE ACP COUNTRIES

Economic growth has been called the “engine of development as a whole” since the Agenda for Development was presented in 1994 by former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. Further, he expressly recognized that the “expansion of international trade is essential to economic growth and is an integral part of the economic dimension of development.” This forms the context within which the interim/final Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries must be seen.

This paper is premised on the significance of the commitment of the European Council to ensure that EPAs are development instruments. This commitment can be seen as the touchstone against which they are to be assessed. It also takes into account the aims set out in the Cotonou Agreement, under which EPA negotiations should further “the progressive removal of barriers to trade between the Parties, in accordance with the relevant WTO rules” and “improving current market access for the ACP countries through, inter alia, a review of the rules of origin.” It thus reflects on the development potential of the EPAs by examining whether they effectively improve the opportunities for ACP countries to have access to the EU market, provide avenues to diminish dependence on preferences and promote regional integration within ACP groupings.

AUTEUR / EDITEUR : ICTSD

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