November 14, 2006

Preliminary Findings in the ACP Case Study

My preliminary findings in the ACP case study can be found in a summarized form below. In general, it seems that changes in an international environment that once favored the creation of a regime of non-reciprocal trade preferences to former colonies fundamentally undermined the basis of Lomé, and led to the reorganization of the ACP-EU regime under the auspices of Cotonou:

1. The reorganization of the regime owes much to the emphasis the EU now places on WTO compliance, but doubts remain as to whether this is not simply a device to legitimate Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA’s) that the EU wishes to pursue as part of its Cotonou strategy: essentially FTA’s with several regional ACP country groupings

2. Officials have also underscored that the “experience with ACP countries was that preferences were necessary but not enough for development.” Cotonou, a more comprehensive development agreement in their eyes, seemed to the well-intentioned

3. Cotonou is seen by EU officials as “neither a trade agreement nor a completely political agreement but a mixture of the two.” (Council Interviews in March 2006) This underscores a growing trend towards conditionality not only in the ACP-EU framework, but also within the EU’s generalized preference schemes for developing countries: in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and its enhanced counterpart Super GSP.

4. The entry of new members has shifted EU priorities towards its neighbors and away from the traditional emphasis on post-colonial relationships.


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