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SOL | 29 March 2020
The European Commission’s manipulations of the interim Economic Partnership Agreements of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana
by Jacques Berthelot (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I – The EU large agricultural refunds on its exports to SSA before the 1990s
II - Preparation of the WAEMU Common External Tariff (CET) in the 1990s
III - WTO, FAO and the European Commission refuse to recognise the bound "other duties and charges" (ODC) of ACP countries
IV - DG Trade has modified CI’s and Ghana’s iEPAs’ tariff offers without formal approval of the Council and the European Parliament
V - The twists and turns of the change of tariffs in the CI and Ghana iEPAs
VI – The attempts of the European Commission to demonstrate the absence of negative impact of the two iEPAs on the rest of ECOWAS
This analysis aims to uncover the many tricks used by the European Commission to impose the Interim Economic Partnership Agreements (iEPAs) of Côte d’Ivoire (CI) and Ghana, within the broader framework of the imposition of the West African (WA) regional EPA.
We begin by recalling that, even before the 1992 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), where the EU sharply reduced its minimum domestic agricultural prices by compensating them with domestic direct aids, the European Commission had made an habit of granting very high export subsidies ("refunds") on its exports to Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The evolution of import protection for wheat and flour in CI is then presented, which allows to understand the preparation of the Common External Tariff (CET) of the WAEMU (Economic and Monetary Union of West Africa, comprising the 7 French-speaking countries and Guinea Bissau) in the 1990s.
This is followed by an analysis of the contradictions of the WTO, the FAO and the EU which, on the one hand, recognise the legal reality of the bound "other duties and charges" (ODC) of the West African (WA) countries in the WTO but, on the other hand, try to deny their legitimacy.
We then show the hold up by DG Trade, which modified the 2008 iEPAs tariff offers to bring them in line with the WA CET of 2015, without formal approval by the Council and the European Parliament. And this was done in simple meetings of the EU-CI and EU-Ghana Joint iEPA Committees.
We conclude by highlighting the contradictions in the attempt of the DG Trade report of May 2019 to show the absence of negative impact of the two iEPAs on the other States of WA.