Commonwealth Trade Hot Topics

The Trade Hot Topics series provides concise and informative analyses of various trade and trade-related issues which are prepared both by Commonwealth Secretariat and international experts.


Challenges Facing the Caribbean During EPA Negotiations

ACP-EU negotiations on Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) represent a step into uncharted territory for ACP countries. The major fault line in the upcoming negotiations can be generalised as follows: the EU wants to integrate the ACP into the world economy on the twin basis of strict adherence to tight WTO rules and liberalised markets. The ACP countries seek to carve out a greater policy space in order to pursue their own developmental agenda and appropriate policy measures.

This issue of Trade Hot Topics examines the challenges facing the Caribbean during the EPA negotiations. These challenges include the cost of reciprocity, the configuration of a regional EPA, the quest for improving market access conditions from both traditional and new exportables, the need to instil a strong developmental component in EPAs by tackling supply side constraints and obtaining EU funding to underwrite the costs of adjustment, and the search for coherence among all FTAA, EPA and WTO negotiations. EPA will no doubt prove to be a stern test of the region’s capacity to defend its fundamental economic interests.


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