Economic Paper

2310-1385 (online)
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This series examines current economic issues from a Commonwealth perspective. The titles in the series are technical papers of topical interest to specialists concerned with trade, micro and macroeconomics, development economics and related subjects.

The CARIFORUM and Pacific ACP Economic Partnership Agreements

The CARIFORUM and Pacific ACP Economic Partnership Agreements

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Christopher Stevens, Jane Kennan, Mareike Meyn
01 Feb 2009
9781848590335 (PDF)

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This report on the CARIFORUM and Pacific ACP Economic Partnership Agreements analyses the detailed implications for the economies of the countries involved of commitments signed or initialled, including an indication of the broad country and regionwide effects. The two agreements cover general provisions related to trade in goods and, in the case of CARIFORUM, an agreement on services as well as coverage on other traderelated issues.

The authors argue that, partly because they are so complex, the agreements are likely to have farreaching implications for all countries involved, but that there has been almost no informed discussion of the likely detailed effects of the agreements based on an analysis of their impact at an industry or sectoral level.

Understanding what these Economic Partnership Agreements mean is challenging, but necessary for both trade negotiators and the private sector. This publication therefore provides an initial analysis and could form the basis of more detailed work at the national level.
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  • Abbreviations and Acronyms
  • Executive Summary

    This report identifies the broad features of the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) initialled by Fiji Islands and Papua New Guinea (PNG), and the full Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) signed formally by most of the states of the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) on 15 October 2008. It provides a baseline analysis of highly complex documents which make many specific commitments. The tariff reduction schedules alone run into thousands of lines and are in some respects the most straightforward part of the agreements. Informed discussion of these agreements (a precondition of any buy-in) requires the sorting out of what has definitely been agreed, what may have been agreed (in the sense that there can be varying interpretations of the commitments) and what has certainly not been agreed.

  • Introduction

    This is the second report (and third discrete output) from a project undertaken by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). It identifies the broad features of the IEPA that has been initialled by Fiji Islands and Papua New Guinea, and the full EPA that was signed formally by most of the CARIFORUM states on 15 October 2008. There are two principal differences between the status of the Pacific and CARIFORUM documents. One is that the CARIFORUM agreement is a full EPA which covers liberal - isation of services and makes commitments in other trade-related areas, matters that are covered only in terms of general principles and timetables in the IEPA. However, for convenience, the initials EPA are sometimes used to cover both agreements. The other difference is that the CARIFORUM agreement was signed by most of the parties while this report was being prepared, whereas the Pacific IEPA has only been initialled while negotiations on some aspects continue.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Main Principles for Trade in Goods

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    • Liberalisation Commitments in the Main CARIFORUM EPA Text

      Although each CARIFORUM state has its individual tariff liberalisation schedule, there is only one main text of the EPA, covering all the CARIFORUM states. This provides the context for the analysis of tariff liberalisation schedules in chapter 4.3 A summary of the key provisions of the CARIFORUM text can be found in Appendix 1.

    • Liberalisation Commitments in the Main Pacific IEPA Text

      The EPA applies to chapters 1–97 of the HS nomenclature. A full analysis of what the three parties (Fiji Islands, Papua New Guinea and the European Union) will liberalise is provided in chapters 4 and 5.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Tariff Removal Commitments

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    • The EPA Liberalisation Commitments

      The 15 CARIFORUM and two Pacific countries covered by this report have agreed to liberalise many thousands of separately identifiable products or product groups. Naturally, detailed analysis of all these lines will take considerable time both to undertake and, no less importantly, to understand. It is important in the interim to provide an accurate overview to everyone who has an interest in the EPAs.

    • The Treatment of Exports
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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Conclusions

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    • Broad Findings

      It cannot be emphasised too strongly that this report ‘lays the foundations’. It identifies the principal provisions of the CARIFORUM–EC EPA and the Pacific–EC IEPA, and it describes empirically the pattern of tariff changes agreed by each party, in order to identify the broad timetable and potential scale of the impact. But much countryspecific work remains to be done if the full development implications of the EPAs are to be identified and quantified. This is partly because the changes are so numerous that it is necessary to focus on individual countries to allow sufficient depth of analysis. It is also because some of the most substantial effects of the EPAs will arise from the clash of the agreed rules with country-specific practices. The small number of case studies that have been completed show very clearly that the disallowing by the EPA of certain policies currently implemented by ACP states may have as big (or a greater) development impact than the reductions of tariffs on imports from the EU. But, unlike the tariff reductions, these potential clashes between the EPA rules and ACP policies are not selfevident from a desk study such as this.

    • What Happens Next?

      Because the EPAs are very complex and substantially under-investigated, it is possible that countries have initialled or signed agreements that will turn out to have some undesirable (and possibly unforeseen) effects. However, an EPA is not necessarily forever – the CARIFORUM agreement includes a specific review clause. Even without this, the agreements will remain intact only so long as the parties consider it to be in their interests to remain members.

    • References
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