published on jcms.ideasoneurope.eu, 16.08.2021
The negotiations and implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the European Union (EU) and the 79 countries forming the Organisation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) – a group of developing countries largely sharing a colonial past with EU members – were conflict-ridden from the beginning. Transforming a decades-long system of unilateral tariff preferences into quasi-reciprocal trade agreements, at the heart of controversies are the potentially adverse effects of the EPAs inflicted on African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. In our recently published article we explore this allegation by providing an early ex-post assessment of the EPAs’ effects on two-way trade flows between the European Union and the ACP countries. An empirical assessment is key to inform the heated discussions on EPAs and EU-ACP trade relations and to also shed new light on the debate on the European Union as a potentially normative trade power which uses its economic strength to advance non-trade objectives such as sustainable development.