With the EPA, do vital sectors of the West African economy run the risk of fading away and won’t public revenue drain away, thereby engendering prejudicial consequences for the populations?

The structure of the offer for access to West African markets, the schedule for dismantling and other envisaged measures make it possible to reduce the adverse effects of the agreement.

 This scenario for disaster can not occur due to the following main reasons:

  • Products considered very sensitive by the region, such as agricultural produce, have been excluded from liberalisation – 60 of the 75% of products to be liberalised involve input, raw materials or capital goods, some of which already had a 0% customs duty attached to them, they are therefore already liberalised indeed.
  • By the end of the first five years, the nature of liberalised products should have a positive impact on the productive sector and, therefore, on increase in wealth and in revenue.
  • It is envisaged that there be compensation by the EU for fiscal net impact and support for implementing a fiscal transition regime which would, on the medium term, generate new tax revenue for the State.
  • Safeguard measures have been envisaged.
  • The agreement consists of a clause for revision that may be implemented every 5 years.
  • The calendar for liberalisation provides for gradual opening over a 20 year period, which gives West African countries enough time to adjust to the new context of the EPA.

Posted in: Understanding the EPA