Since 2002, the European Union (EU) has been negotiating new trade deals called Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with 76 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP). The EPAs are perhaps the most important trade talks faced by these countries which represent 750 million of the world’s poorest people. The EU is not only their largest export market, but also their biggest aid donor. Although the European Trade Commission has promised that EPAs will be ‘tools for development’, there has been a concerted campaign against them by some ACP governments and many civil society organisations in ACP and EU countries. Although the negotiations were meant to be completed by December 2007, many countries have refused to sign despite the threat that their exports would be subject to higher taxes and would be less competitive in world markets.
RISC has joined development education organisations in Italy, Spain and Holland in the Partnership for Change project. This raises awareness of the impact that EPAs are likely to have on ACP countries, especially on their ability to achieve the Millenium Development Goals.
Critical issues in the EPA negotiations EPA Watch, 2009
Post-European parliament elections assessment of the state of play in the negotiations.
Dialogue of the Deaf ICCO, 2008
A critical assessment of the EU's developmental approach to trade negotiations.
Dear President Barroso Trade Justice Movement, 2008
Open letter from MEP David Martin, signed by 55 fellow MEPs, calling on the President of the European Commission, to “stand with us on the side of the world’s poor”, and reassess and renegotiate EPAs.
EPAs: A ‘historic step’ towards a ‘partnership of equals’? Overseas Development Institute, 2008
Argues that most interim EPAs were badly conceived and will make regional integration difficult.
EPAs: building or shattering African regional integration EcoNews Africa, Seatini & Traidcraft, 2007
Report shows how EPAs will undermine the chance for African countries to build up their economies.
EPAs: The rhetoric and the reality Traidcraft, 2007
Useful summary that questions the claims being made for EPAs, and lays out the real costs and benefits of the proposed deals.
EPAs: what MEPs need to know Traidcraft, 2009
Briefing paper for MEPs in the new Parliament. Very useful summary of issues and demands.
Economic Partnership Agreements: Overview of State of Play European Commission, 2009
Short summary of the state-of-play in September 2009.
Set of policy briefing papers published in 2007 by Stop!Think! Resist!, a coalition of African NGOs, highlighting implications of signing an EPA.
EPAs: What Every Parliamentarian Needs to Know
EPAs: Undermining Human Rights in Africa
EPAs: A Threat To Food Sovereignty
EPAs: Jeopardizing A United Africa
The EU-India FTA: initial observations from a development perspective Traidcraft, 2008
Report which analyses the development implications of the Global Europe agenda for India and questions how far trade liberalisation has reduced poverty.
The EU-India Free Trade Agreement: what MEPs need to know Traidcraft, 2009
Briefing paper which calls for a halt to the negotiations until a transparent, accountable and consultative negotiation process is adopted, and a fundamental change of approach to trade relations with India.
Global Europe: competing in the world European Commission, 2006
Key document from the EC outlining its strategy for economic growth and job creation.
Global Europe: the EU's double attack on developing countries and the European social model War on Want, 2008
Argues that the Global Europe strategy favours the interests of capital over the development needs of the Majority World.
The Great Cotton Stitch-Up Fairtrade Foundation, 2010
Report on how small-scale cotton farmers in West Africa are prevented from improving their livelihoods by huge subsidies given to US and EU farmers – bn over the past nine years.
Hidden Threats: An Analysis of Intellectual Property Rights in EU-ACP
Economic Partnership Agreements: Unveiling the Hidden Threats to
Securing Food Supplies and Conserving Agricultural Biodiversity UK Food Group, 2009
Briefing paper which argues that new international rules on intellectual property rights (IPRs) which the EU is proposing to include in EPAs will be beyond countries’ obligations under the WTO’s TRIPs agreement and threatens food security in ACP countries.
Impact of EU’s agricultural trade policy on smallholders in Africa Germanwatch, 2007
Study examines the potential impact of the EU’s policy, especially EPAs, on smallholder farmers and their food security in Sub-Saharan Africa, using case studies from Uganda, Zambia and Ghana.
Introduction to EPAs RISC, 2008
Extract from the Reader summarising the troubled history of the EPA negotiations.
Making trade work for development – Aid for Trade: a selection of case studies from around the world European Commission, 2008
Case studies to support the EC's argument that trade is an essentdial vehicle to achieve the Millenium Development Goals.
The new EPAs: comparative analysis of their content and the challenges for 2008 Overseas Development Institute & European Centre for Development Policy Management, 2008
Comprehensive analysis of the trade regimes for Africa that replaced the Cotonou Partnership Agreement.
The New Resource Grab Traidcraft, 2010
This report shows that EU trade policies are already having severe adverse impacts on developing countries and that these will become worse if the current EU proposals succeed.
Nigeria and the EU: Trade for Development – An Introduction to the EPA European Commission, 2007
Major document explaining the background to EPAs and the possible benefits for Nigeria’s development.
An Overview of the Interim Agreements European Commission, 2008
Explanation of the need for Interim Agreements when EPA negotiations could not be completed before the WTO's December 2007 deadline.
Partnership or powerplay? Oxfam International, 2008
Policy paper on how Europe should bring development into its trade deals with ACP countries. Evaluates the likely development benefits of the ‘initialled’ EPAs.
Partnership Under Pressure: an assessment of the European Commission's conduct in the EPA negotiations Traidcraft, 2007
Report revealing the dirty tricks that the EU has used to get ACP countries to sign EPAs.
The Promise and the Perils of Agricultural Trade Liberalization: Lessons from Latin America Working Group on Development and the Environment in the Americas, 2004
The report looks at the impact of trade policies that support export agriculture on small scale farmers, using case studies of the South American soybean boom. It warns of loss of rural livelihoods and notes the importance of small-scale agriculture in poverty reduction: “Improving the productivity, profitability, and sustainability of smallholder farming is the main pathway out of poverty in using agriculture for development.”
Six reasons to oppose EPAs in their current form, 2004
Key document from 20 leading ACP and EU civil society organisations questioning the key arguments put forward in support of EPAs by the EU and heralding an international Stop EPAs campaign.
Six common misconceptions about EPAs European Commission, 2008
EC's response to Stop EPAs campaigners.
Undercutting Africa Friends of the Earth, 2008
Report which argues that EU trade policy is primarily aimed at securing raw materials and new markets in a competitive globalised world economy.
Updating Economic Partnership Agreements to Today's Global Challenges German Marshall Fund of the United States, 2009
In light of the protracted and still unresolved negotiations this collection of opinion pieces provides a useful contribution to help steer the EPA debate toward a truly developmental and more positive direction.
Why more free trade won’t help Africa: Through the lens of Kenya Traidcraft, 2005
Excellent illustrated summary of the impact of trade liberalisation on Kenya.
EPA Watch is a Pan-European website with news and resources on the Stop EPAs campaign.
Partnership for Change project website has regular updates on the progress of EPA negotiations, and campaign and teaching resources.
Seattle to Brussels Network is a portal raising awareness of trade issues. Very active in challenging the Global Europe strategy.
Traidcraft is one of the few UK NGOs still actively campaigning on EPAs. Site includes background information and map showing current status of the negotiations.
Trade Justice Movement campaigns for fundemental change to the unjust trade rules and institutions governing international trade. Has coordinated Stop EPAs and anti-Global Europe campaigns in the UK.
The Partnership for Change project has received funding from the European Union, although the views expressed within do not necessarily reflect its official policy.