TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (June06/03)
7 June 2006
One of the major agenda items was the Economic Partnership Agreements that the African countries are negotiating with the European Union.
The African Ministers at the AU Conference adopted a Nairobi Declaration on EPAs.
The final version of this Declaration is attached, in English and French.
This is a landmark declaration, which follows up on the Ministerial Declaration on EPAs adopted by the African Ministers in their Cairo meeting of 2005.
Among the major points of the Nairobi Declaration:
1. The EPAs should be consistent with and not adversely affect the objectives and process of economic integration in Africa,
2. No African country should be worse off under the new trade regime.
3. Conclusions of the market access aspects of the EPAs should take place upon completion of the proposed amendment to Article XXIV of GATT to enable special and differential treatment and development flexibilities; so that the EPAs can be pro-development (Para 8).
4. African countries shall not make services commitments in the EPAs that go beyond our WTO commitments; and we urge the EU not to push our countries to do so (Para 10). Note: This is a new principle which was not in the Ministerial Declaration on EPAs of Cairo.
5. We reject any attempt to introduce any TRIPS-plus provisions on intellectual property issues in the EPA negotiations (Para 12).
6. The issues of investment policy, competition policy and government procurement which have been removed from the WTO's Doha Work Programme should be kept outside the ambit of the EPAs. (Para 14).
We hope you can widely disseminate this Nairobi Declaration on EPAs.
With best wishes