WHY the need for a West African – European Union EPA?

An agreement compatible with WTO rules and which fosters the gradual integration of West African States into the world economy.

Between 1975 and 2000, relations between West Africa (as part of the African Caribbean and Pacific States) and the European Union were governed by four successive Lomé conventions, with the main objective of promoting the gradual integration of ACP countries into the global economy.

As the Lomé convention was about to expire, the EU and the ACP entered into negotiations about the follow-up agreement and decided to make considerable changes. The principle reason was that the Lomé trade arrangements was not compatible with international trade rules, but also because the existing trade preferences had had only limited success and were being eroded.  Both parties therefore agreed to conclude a new trading arrangement by December 2007 which is the deadline set up in the waver granted by WTO for the preferential regime between the EU and ACP. This commitment is stated in Cotonou Agreement signed in 2000.

Posted in: Understanding the EPA