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The Potential Economic Impact and WTO Compatibility of the Economic Partnership Agreements

2006 is a pivotal year for the negotiations on Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group. Supporters argue that EPAs will provide positive assistance to regional integration among the ACP and remove constraints to their development. Critics can claim the exact opposite: that EPAs are anti-developmental. At present, neither can demonstrate convincingly that the other is wrong since the negotiations have not yet reached a stage at which key details of any EPA have become clear. By year end either they will have reached this stage (with sufficient known to forecast with reasonable accuracy the range of likely effects) or the delays will have made it imprudent to attempt closure by the current deadline of December 2007.

The conclusions from the study have been summarised in three Briefing Papers. The first explains what details are needed to assess the impact and why it is essential that they are fully discussed with ACP stakeholders. The second analyses the economic modelling of EPAs completed so far and explains how it should be interpreted. The third identifies key features of the heterogeneous ACP group that need to be addressed by EPAs.

Staff

Dirk Willem te Velde, Massimiliano Cali, Chris Stevens

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