Negotiating an Economic Partnership Agreement
For Eastern and Southern Africa
Mark Pearson 1
The main objectives of the Cotonou Agreement are, by building on existing regional integration
arrangements, to assist with the smooth and gradual integration of the ACP States into the world economy;
and to enhance the production, supply and trading capacity of the ACP countries as well as their capacity
to attract investment. These two main objectives are to be achieved in conformity with the provisions of the
WTO, taking account of the respective levels of development of ACP countries and are to be achieved
through the negotiation of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).
The negotiations on EPAs were launched in Brussels on 27 September 2002. At the opening
session an agreement was reached to sequence the negotiations in two phases. The first phase was at an
allACPEC level and during this phase it was intended to address horizontal issues of interest to all parties.
The first phase lasted for one year and culminated with the preparation of a joint ACPEC report
(ACP/00/118/03/Rev.1 and ACPEC/NG/NP/43) which, among other things, agreed on the principles and
objectives of EPAs.
The Joint Report also agreed on a common approach which was to guide the second phase
negotiations, which were to be at the level of ACP countries and regions, in market access, agricultural and
fisheries, services, traderelated issues, and development support.
The meetings held during the first phase of EPA negotiations allowed the parties to converge on a
number of issues but, at the end of the phase, divergent views remained. Therefore, both parties decided to
continue discussions at the allACP–EC level, in parallel with the regional negotiations, and agreed:
to establish an allACPEC Technical Monitoring Committee, in order to maintain
transparency with regard to the regional negotiati