Sunday, 17 February 2008

Ivory Coast breaks ranks, goes for EPA

Ivory Coast will sign a definitive Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Europe in June, according to Reuters, believing that it will open the door for other West African countries to do likewise. African Integration Minister Amadou Kone said Ivory Coast was advising regional powerhouse Nigeria on how to seal an EPA, designed to replace preferential trade terms for former European colonies that expired last year. Nigeria has so far publicly shunned any talk of a deal.

Ivory Coast and Ghana, the world's top cocoa exporters, broke ranks with their partners in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) last year to sign interim deals to safeguard favourable terms for their key agricultural exports. These interim deals only covered trade while the definitive EPAs are expected also to cover services and a host of other areas such as intellectual property and government procurement. ECOWAS gave its blessing for its 15 member states to sign interim trade deals, but urged them to move forward as a bloc to the signing of a regional EPA.

Earlier Afro-IP post on EPAs here.

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