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Publication / 17 December 2009

EPA's? Onderhandelingskader, mogelijkheden, en risico's

Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are free trade agreements between the EU and 77 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries - the so-called ACP countries. Approximately 80% of the Least Developed Countries (also known as LDCs) in the world belong to this group of ACP countries. Negotiations on these agreements have been taking place since 2002. Civil society organisations around the world are very concerned about EPAs such as these, especially since the EU would appear to have only its own economic interests at heart. 

The EU wants more or less complete reciprocal liberalisation of agriculture and industry, which would offer ACP countries no possibility to build their economies behind protective tariff walls. The fact that the EU has an enormous negotiating capacity and is the largest development aid donor to many ACP countries also makes for an unequal bargaining relationship. 

Many complex issues surround EPAs. This Fact sheet aims to explain the context in which these EPAs are negotiated and what factors are behind the process. The focus is on the relationship between EPAs and the World Trade Organisation (WTO), concerning the trade in goods.

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