The possible effects on the Namibian economy of the signing or non-signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Commission as on 1 October 2014
The relationship between the European Commission (EC) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries is governed by the Agreement that was signed in Cotonou in June 2000 and revised in Luxembourg in June 2005. As regards the trade agreements in the Cotonou Agreement, a specific timetable was agreed between the parties, anticipating the various stages leading to the effective setting-up of new arrangements. The Cotonou Agreement will follow the various Lomé Agreements and will be in place until 2020, with the exception of the trade agreements that will be subject to a specific timetable that can be revised as the need arises.
The specific timetable for trade agreements became necessary because of a World Trade Organisation (WTO) provision which made a waiver (namely one that the EC negotiated from the Most Favoured Nation principle) too expensive for the EC to maintain any longer. Negotiations of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) aimed notably at establishing a timetable for the progressive removal of barriers to trade between the parties, in accordance with the relevant WTO rules.
After the different negotiations between the European Commission and the African Union Commission had been exhausted, negotiations in the year 2006 started with the following configuration: that the ACP countries had to split into seven EPA configurations, of which one, the configuration that was of interest to the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), was the so-called Southern African Development Community (SADC)-EPA.
The current pressure on the negotiations by the EC side (which has imposed a September 2014 deadline) seems to be a way to finalise the negotiations whether the outcome is positive or negative and to try to get a better deal out of the negotiation process.
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