EU offers full market access to Africa, Caribbean and Pacific regions in EPAs negotiations

Friday 6 April 2007

The EU has today proposed to remove all remaining quota and tariff limitations on access to the EU market for all African, Caribbean and Pacific regions as part of the Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations. The offer covers all products, including agricultural goods like beef, dairy, cereals and all fruit and vegetables. It will apply immediately following the signing of an agreement - with a phase-in period for rice and sugar. The only exception will be South Africa where a number of globally competitive products will continue to pay import duties.

This offer will:
  • Eliminate all tariffs and import quotas for all ACP countries.
  • Give all African Caribbean and Pacific countries the same full access to EU markets that all Least Developed Countries have under the EU's "Everything But Arms" Duty and Quota Free market access system. This means all ACP countries would have the same market access conditions, encouraging ACP neighbours to collaborate and helping build regional markets and supply chains – responding to the concerns of agricultural exporters in countries like Kenya or Ghana.
  • Not be tied to the requirement of equivalent openness from the ACP countries. The EPAs are not free trade agreements in the classic sense. Flexibility under WTO rules means that ACP counties will have to offer market access, but this will phase in over many years. The ACP will also retain the right to protect sensitive products where the removal of import duties could threaten local producers.
  • Apply in full from day one - planned to be 1 January 2008- with the exception of a transition period for rice and sugar. The transition periods for rice and sugar will ensure compatibility with EU market reforms and ensure stability to protect the interests of both the EU and ACP producers who supply those markets.

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