All the versions of this article: [English] [français]
SOL | 17 May 2016
Perpetuating the interim EPAs of Ivory Coast and Ghana would be meaningless
by Jacques Berthelot
There is a rumour that, if Nigeria’s stance not to sign the regional EPA is definitive so that the EPA would be buried, DG trade is contemplating to perpetuate the interim EPAs of Ivory Coast and Ghana provided they would formally sign them.
Regional integration having been claimed to be the main objective of the regional EPA, this would imply that DG trade doesn’t worry about the disintegration of West Africa (WA). Indeed the other 14 States would be obliged to levy duties on their imports from Ivory Coast and Ghana to avoid being flooded by the EU products they would have imported duty free.
Not only the Common External Tariff in force since January 2015 would disappear but also all the other common policies put in place with difficulty since 1973, of which particularly the agricultural policy (ECOWAP) given the weight of Ivory Coast (and to a lower extent Ghana) in the regional agricultural trade.
Actually Ivory Coast’s exports of all products, excluding cocoa, to ECOWAS (€2.024 billion) have exceeded by 72% in 2014 those to the EU (€1.176 billion) as cocoa exports to the EU were of €2.237 billion against €1.7 million to ECOWAS. Moreover Ivory Coast’s exports to ECOWAS in 2013 (€3.071 billion) have even exceeded those to the EU (€3.016 billion) without excluding cocoa, and have exceeded them by 90% without cocoa (€1.590 billion). We should do the same calculus for Ghana.