The emerging picture on EPAs

Although 35 ACP states initiated Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) almost a year ago, the negotiations continue. Enough is now known to identify the main changes and plot their likely impact. But this will require country-specific analysis because much depends both on the detail of what each state has agreed and how this relates to its existing and planned policies.There are many differences between the scope and timetable of the EPAs which reflect more what each country could negotiate than any objective 'development criterion'. Moreover, the actual impact will depend on the extent to which EPA provisions restrict existing and planned government policies - and the scope that exists to find new, EPA-consistent ways to achieve the same ends (such as replacing tariffs with other sources of government revenue). There have already been a few case studies but more are needed.

Dr. Christopher Stevens
Director of International Economic Programmes
Overseas Development Institute - ODI
London, United Kingdom

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