As former colonies of the member states of the EU, African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries have enjoyed a preferential treatment but have delivered a disappointing trade performance.
On the contrary, developing countries such as Asia, which have received a less favourable treatment, have been more successful in penetrating the EU market.
What has gone wrong? The author argues that the Lome' Convention may not have provided sufficient incentives to overcome the structural problems of some ACP countries that limit trade development, such as the lack of adequate infrastructure to provide a reliable export supply, insufficient capacity to attrack private investment, an inadequate financial sector and weak human resource.
Moreover, the fact that APC countries have been exempted from the highest trade barriers for long, means that they will not benefit from the Uruguay Round to the same extent other countries will. In contrast, they are likely to lose out following the reduction of their preferential margin vis-à-vis other exporters, and the loss of market to more competitive countries.