WHAT is the West Africa – European Union Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)?

A regional Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with a development dimension, between the European Union (EU) and West African States (ECOWAS + Mauritania). 

 The main objective of the West Africa – European Union EPA is the establishment of a free trade area between Europe and West Africa in accordance with Article XXIV of GATT, through the gradual removal of trade restrictions between the two trade partners. However, the objectives of the EPA go beyond a conventional free trade agreement. The EPA is designed as a tool which enables trade to support the development. Therefore, the EPA is intended to deepen regional integration and foster the smooth and gradual integration of ACP States into the world economy, with due regard for their political choices and development priorities, thereby promoting their sustainable development and contribution to poverty eradication.

The EPA is negotiated between the EU and each of 7 regional groups, including West Africa which comprises ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania. The regional negotiations were preceded by an “All ACP-EU” phase.

The negotiations were officially launched at all ACP level on 27 September 2002.  The negotiations between EU and WA took off on 4 August 2004 f[F1] ollowing the launch of the Accra Road Map.

 [F1]To be confirmed

Posted in: Understanding the EPA