Partnership deals – everything but time

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Publication Date 25/10/2007
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It will soon become apparent which of the six regions currently negotiating controversial Economic Partnership Agreements with the EU are to meet the deadline of the end of this year.

European Commission officials say that in order for Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) to be in place by 1 January, they will have to be signed in the next two to three weeks in order for market access mechanisms to be in place and approved by the Council of Ministers and the Commission.

But few of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) regions are in a position to sign the deals. Just two - the Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (Cariforum) and Central Africa - are said to be close to signing, with the various elements of the deals, such as those on market access, trade rules and how their development package will be spent, laid down.

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