Recommendation for a COUNCIL DECISION updating the negotiating directives for the negotiations of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and regions
1. The European Union has seven Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. These agreements are:
a. the interim Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) EPA
b. the interim Ghana EPA
c. the interim Côte d’Ivoire EPA
d. the Southern African Development Community (SADC) EPA
e. the Central Africa EPA
f. the CARIFORUM EPA
g. the interim Pacific EPA
2. The EU’s EPAs are trade agreements that take account of the socio-economic circumstances and regional integration in ACP countries. They are asymmetrical in application by opening up EU markets fully and immediately but allowing ACP countries longer transition periods to open markets partially to EU imports whilst providing protection for sensitive sectors.
3. The basis for the EU’s EPA negotiations is a wide-ranging mandate and negotiating directives which was authorised by the Council on 17 June 2002 (EU document 9930/02) . The EU has been negotiating EPAs since 2002 with the respective regions and countries.