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SOL | 26 May 2016
The EPA would liberalize the majority of EU agricultural exports to West Africa
by Jacques Berthelot
This document is limited to assessing the importance of the liberalization of agricultural imports in the EU-West Africa (WA) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) given the crucial nature of these products for WA where around 60% of the active population works in agriculture and where the food deficit rises sharply, even if WA has an agricultural trade surplus vis-à-vis the EU owing to cocoa exports, but a growing large deficit without them. Keeping also in mind that WA industrialization will be necessarily based on the processing of regional agricultural products not only for processed food but also for non food products, such as the textile and garnment industry processing regional cotton.
Contrary to the EU recurrent statements that all agricultural products are excluded from liberalization in the WA EPA, in fact more than half (56%) of the FOB (free on bord) value of the EU agricultural exports to WA – for €2.140 billion on a total of €3.801 billion – would be liberalized in year T+20 or 2035 if the EPA had been fully implemented already in 2015 (T being the starting year of implementation, and T+5 the beginning of liberalization). This percentage would be of 53% on average for the 13 LDCs (least developed countries, including Cape Verde which benefits from the GSP+ regime offering the same duty free access to the EU) – for €1.020 billion on a total of €1.923 billion –, and of 59.7% for the 3 DCs (developing countries) – for €1.121 billion on a total of €1.878 billion –, of which 51.4% for Ivory Coast – for €279 million on a total of €543 million –, 42.2% for Ghana – for €144 million on a total of €341 million –, and 70.1% for Nigeria: for €697 million on a total of €994 million.