The Way Forward for the Southern African Development Community Economic Partnership Agreement
Negotiations on economic partnership agreements (EPAs) between the European Union (EU) and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries will end on 1 October 2014.
After long and acrimonious talks, concessions must now be made. In the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the EPA can be completed with more flexibility on four issues: export taxes, the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) clause, agricultural safeguards and rules of origin. Abandoning restrictions on export taxes will cost the EU little and will respect African states’ sovereignty.
Changing the calibration of the MFN clause can offer the EU matching liberalisation without restricting SADC’s future negotiating space. Safeguards that work for agriculture take into account the distorted nature of the EU agricultural market, while offering improved market access. Furthermore, support for rules of origin capacity building will assure the deal reached on paper can be applied in practice.