The EPAs with sub-Saharan African countries and other EU free trade agreements with North African countries are building blocks that contribute to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the long-term prospect of a free trade agreement between continents. The EPAs already contain useful trade instruments for the construction of the AfCFTA. They provide a solid framework for regional trade and investment between the EPA partners themselves and with the EU. They also strengthen the trading capacity of the EU`s partners. Chang et al. broadened the analytical framework and examined various other policy complementarities for trade-growth;9 In addition to good government regulation, they found that a high level of human capital, well-developed financial markets, good public infrastructure and sufficient labour market flexibility play an important role in the relationship between trade and economic growth rates. The paper concludes that the effects of openness on growth can be significantly improved if certain complementary reforms are implemented. Our current relations with acp countries are governed by the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement (2000), also known as the Cotonou Agreement, which brings together more than 100 partner countries and around 1.5 billion people. It is the most comprehensive Partnership Agreement ever signed between the EU and third countries. In addition to the lack of confidence in the negotiations, there is also an underestimation of the potential benefits for the development of an EPA in ACP countries. On the basis of economic theory, we could expect positive effects of the reduction of trade barriers for ACP countries, as nations benefit from the known benefits of trade and specialisation through trade. Static profits from trade can be divided into trade creation and trade diversion effects. The first category is defined as the change in imports from beneficiary countries and consists of the consumption effect, i.e.dem increase in total consumption due to lower prices and the relocation of domestic production5.
While the creation of trade increases well-being, the diversion of trade reduces the level of prosperity. In addition to these fundamental effects, preferential trade liberalisation leads to a decline in government revenues, as imports from privileged sources, i.e. from the EU, enter ACP countries duty-free. The overall objective of the EPAs is to contribute, through trade, to sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction in ACP countries. West African countries approved a regional EPA on 10 July 2014, but the agreement has yet to be signed by Nigeria (where it faces persistent opposition). Under pressure from the ultimatum issued by the European Commission in 2016, Côte d`Ivoire and Ghana therefore decided in August 2016 to ratify their old and obsolete 2007 agreement. Côte d`Ivoire`s interim EPA has been in use since 8 September 2016 and Ghana`s interim EPA since 15 December 2016. The EU`s trade relations with ACP countries are governed by the Cotonou Partnership Agreement signed in 2000 between the EU, its Member States and acp countries. Given that this comprehensive political, economic and development partnership expires in 2020, the parties are currently negotiating a successor agreement (the so-called “post-Cotonou” agreement). To date, none of the interim agreements have been replaced by comprehensive agreements. Most of the most recent interim agreements have yet to be notified and implemented at the WTO.
In addition, several countries have further postponed the signing of their interim agreements with the EU. . . .