In January 2013, the European Parliament approved the agreement. The agreement remains open to other countries that wish to join at a later date. Because of the WTO`s persistent incompatibility with previous agreements, the main feature of EPAs is their reciprocity and non-discriminatory nature. These include the phasing out of all trade preferences introduced between the EU and ACP countries since 1975 and the phasing out of trade barriers between partners. To meet the test for a non-discriminatory agreement, EPAs are open to all developing countries, thus ending the ACP group as the EU`s main development partner. They can continue to put an end to EU materials or processing in order to use their exports to the ESA countries. The states of the United Kingdom and the ASS must have met the requirements of the origin protocol. You must also ensure that the work or transformation you are doing in the UK goes beyond the minimum operations mentioned in the agreement and that the other relevant conditions are met. The Interim EPA contains an appointment clause for the negotiation of other trade-related areas, such as rules and commitments on services and investment, sustainable development and competition (known as the “deepening process”). The five countries that already implement the agreement have said they are ready to move beyond trade in goods to a broader agreement. Negotiations on deepening the EPA, launched on 2 October 2019.
The Interim EPA also includes cooperation on technical barriers to trade and standards for animal and plant health. The EPAs will therefore take specific steps for this specific group. Unlike other ACP countries, the smaller group is invited to reject EPAs and continue trade relations under the “Everything but Arms” (EBA) regulation. Launched in 2001 by the Council of Ministers, this change to the EC`s system of generalised preferences has since regulated trade relations between the EU and LDCs that have chosen to use this facility and allows all LDC products duty-free access to all LDC products, without any quantitative restrictions, except arms and ammunition. This provision, while facilitating the situation of LDCs under the new trading system, has also been criticised because the EBA initiative prevents LDCs from opening their markets to EU products under an EPA. Another weakness of the EBA initiative is that it uses the GSP`s rules of origin, which require a two-step transformation for textiles and clothing. On the other hand, the rules of origin of EPAs allow for a one-stage transformation of exports of these sectors. This is one of the reasons why Mozambique and Lesotho (both LDCs) signed the SADC INTERIMs EPA in November 2007 and signed in July 2009. Angola (the least less than the least of the products in the CDAA EPA configuration) has decided to continue its activities under the EBA, as its main exports to the EU are oils and diamonds, which can enter duty-free and quota-free as “fully preserved” origin products in accordance with the EBA`s rules of origin. The Economic Partnership Agreements are a system for creating a free trade area between the European Union and the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP). This is a response to persistent criticism that the EU`s proposed non-reciprocal and discriminatory preferential trade agreements are incompatible with WTO rules.
The EPAs date back to the signing of the Cotonou Agreement.