What Is The Purpose Of Economic Partnership Agreement

The EU`s trade relations with ACP countries are governed by the Cotonou Partnership Agreement signed in 2000 between the EU, its member states and the ACP countries. As this political, economic and global development partnership expires in 2020, the parties are currently negotiating a successor agreement (the “post-Cotonou”). The European Union`s (EU) Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with regional blocs of African countries (and some African countries) aim to promote more than simply boosting trade between the EU and African countries. They aim to promote sustainable development and poverty reduction, including supporting regional integration processes in Africa, encouraging the gradual integration of African economies into global markets, and improving the ability of African countries to take advantage of trade opportunities for economic growth. With the internationalization of production processes, which account for 70% of world trade in intermediate goods or services, increased participation in regional and global value chains has become an essential part of African countries` transformation and sustainable development strategies. It is therefore important to consider how EPAs could affect the ability of African producers and service providers to integrate into such value chains. The Cotonou agreement offers EU and ACP countries the opportunity to negotiate development-oriented free trade agreements, known as Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). EPAs are firmly rooted in the goals of sustainable development, human rights and development cooperation, which are at the heart of the Cotonou agreement. The overall goal of EPAs is to contribute, through trade, to sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction in ACP countries. In Africa, EPAs support the implementation of the Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs, launched in September 2018. These are key instruments of the EU`s overall strategy with Africa.

The economic pillar of this strategy sees trade – in addition to regional and continental economic integration – as an important element in promoting the sustainable development of African countries. Economic partnership agreements are intense alliances signed by two or more countries that provide for reciprocal economic integration and participation. The agreements proved very popular around the world at the beginning of the 21st century, with the nations of Europe, Asia, Africa and the Pacific united to survive and compete in a turbulent international economic context.

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