Chapter 1. Introduction


1.1. What are EPAs?

The Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are comprehensive trade agreements between the United Kingdom (UK) and African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP). Their background dates from when the UK was a member of the European Union (EU). In an effort to update its prior trade relations with ACP countries, and ensure compliance with the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the EU has negotiated and signed Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP). These include seven (7) EPAs with Central Africa, Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA), East African Community (EAC), Southern African Development Community (SADC), West Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific countries. The trade relations between the UK and ACP countries after it has left the EU are largely based on these EPAs.

 

 

EPAs are WTO-consistent trade agreements, but they go beyond conventional free trade agreements (FTAs) by focusing on ACP countries development, taking account of their socio-economic circumstances and including cooperation and assistance to help ACP countries implement the agreements. Not only do EPAs seek to foster favourable market access terms among parties, they consist of an integrated package of protocols on trade in goods, trade in services, investment, capacity development, administrative assistance, etc. Moreover, EPAs can enlarge their scope of coverage by introducing rendezvous clauses where parties wish to continue negotiations on specific matters at a later stage.

 

 

To respond to ACP countries’ concerns, EPAs include specific asymmetries in their favour, such as the exclusion of sensitive products from liberalisation, long transition periods, flexible rules of origin (RoO), special agricultural safeguard measures, and food security and infant industry protection. EPAs are also designed to be drivers of change, which will help partner countries attract investment and boost economic growth through initiating reform and strengthening good economic governance [1] .

 

1.2. Trade with the UK from 2021

 

 

The UK withdrew from the EU on 31 January 2020, when the Withdrawal Agreement entered into force. Leaving the EU had important implications for the 79 ACP countries, not only for the bilateral relations between the EU and the UK. The post-Brexit EU-UK relationship largely determines the UK’s relations with third countries, and this inevitably creates certain disruptions and uncertainties, but also new opportunities if businesses know how to take advantage of the new situation.

The UK participates in a number of international treaties as a result of or relevant to its membership to the EU. These treaties underpin the UK’s relations with third countries and international organisations. During the During the transition period until the end of 2020 [2] , the UK continued trading under EU rules, while negotiating a new trade agreement with the EU. Now that the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) has been reached, the UK will be able to negotiate new trade deals with the rest of the world [3]

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The EU’s EPAs with regional ACP groupings ceased to apply to the UK since December 31st 2020. The UK has, however, sought as far as possible to continue the effect of its current arrangements after it leaves the EU. In line with the British government’s commitments in the Trade Bill of 2018-2019 [4], the UK commits to continuing the trade relations with ACP countries. Therefore, it has signed continuity agreements with ACP states, including ESA, CARIFORUM states, Southern African Customs Union and Mozambique (SACUM), Pacific states, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, and Kenya. The newly negotiated UK-ACP EPAs took effect since January 2021 [5]. Negotiations of an EPA with Ghana were finalised in early February 2021, and took effect soon after. Apart from continuity agreements that largely mirror EU-ACP EPAs, new UK-ACP negotiations are likely to take place in the long term.

 

 

 

To address potential disruptions and provide maximum stability for businesses, it has been agreed, for example, in the ESA-UK EPA, that the EU’s materials and processing can be counted towards the UK’s and ESA’s content should they meet the conditions for cumulation specified in the agreement’s protocol on RoO.

The British government has also taken other measures to avoid trade disruptions with ACP countries. One of the safeguards is the ‘Cross-Border Trade Act’ [6], which allows the UK to continue granting non-reciprocal market access to developing countries equivalent to the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) and Everything-But-Arms (EBA) systems and includes an ‘LDCs services waiver’. Therefore, LDCs would experience little changes under UK’s EBA scheme [7]. ACP countries, particularly those who have not signed continuity or new EPAs with the UK, may continue making use of these alternatives.

Despite the changes and disruptions witnessed during 2020, new opportunities are presented in the UK-ACP EPA negotiations. The state of play in the negotiations and the current global economic context bring opportunities to improve relationships among EPA partners, particularly by updating and improving the content of these texts. Among a number of improvements that can be incorporated in these EPAs, UK-ACP EPAs may include safeguarding food security and industrialisation of ACP countries. Moreover, the UK-ACP EPAs are also more flexible, adequately monitored, and ideally fit into a broader trade and economic policy framework guided by poverty reduction objectives[8] .

 

Guidance on UK’s trade with developing countries during and after the transition period is found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/trading-with-developing-nations-during-and-after-the-transition-period

 

1.3. EPAs’ key components and their roles

UK-ACP EPAs’ improved market access provisions are liberal, often asymmetrical, and include relatively flexible RoO that enable deeper integration into global value chains (GVCs). Some EPAs contain provisions on ‘new generation’ trade issues such as e-commerce and personal data protection, but also leave room for future negotiations.

 

Standard provisions on cross-border trade

EPAs’ chapters on trade contain all the standard provisions like elimination or reduction on customs duties, trade defence instruments and non-tariff measures (NTMs) that set the stage for market access liberalisation.

Addressing barriers to cross border trade is an integral component of EPAs as it relates to trade opportunities but also the UK’s economic development objectives. Freer cross border trade is generally considered mutually beneficial as it allows for wider consumer choice in the variety and quality of goods and services, lower prices through increased competition and efficiency, higher productivity, and higher real wages and living standards for the countries engaged[9].

Addressing barriers to cross border trade is an integral component of the EPAs as it relates to trade opportunities but also the UK’s and EU’s economic development objectives. Freer cross border trade is generally considered mutually beneficial as it allows for wider consumer choice in the variety and quality of goods and services, lower prices through increased competition and efficiency, higher productivity, and higher real wages and living standards for the countries engaged [10].

Asymmetrical liberalisation

To ensure that development objectives are fulfilled, the EPAs include asymmetrical liberalisation provisions in favour of ACP countries. This means most ACP countries immediately receive duty-free, quota-free (DFQF) access to the UK, while they are to guarantee gradual tariff reduction on imports from the UK. Furthermore, depending on several developmental criteria (like GDP per capita or HDI scores)[11], ACP states may not have to reciprocate the UK DFQF liberalisation offers, but can maintain MFN rates on a certain number of products imported from the UK.

EPAs protect ACP countries’ most sensitive local – mostly agricultural, but also industrial – products. While some are completely exempt from liberalisation, others are subject to certain quantitative limits, or reduced tariff rates.

 

 

Rules of Origin

To encourage regional integration and the development of regional value chains, RoO in EPAs allow for more extensive use of foreign components without losing free access to the UK market.

Tolerances - specified thresholds for products not meeting sufficiently transformation criteria - included in EPAs are more lenient than in other FTAs. Therefore, traders have more opportunities to benefit from preferences.

Moreover, cumulation provisions in EPAs (bilateral, diagonal, and full) expand the choices of traders to incorporate inputs from signatory countries and other neighbouring developing countries to benefit from preferences granted by EPAs.

EPAs’ derogation provisions may also grant derogation from RoO by applying more relaxed criteria to specific products originating in specific countries under specific conditions. Just to cite one example, preserved tuna and tuna loins under the UK-ESA EPA are entitled to such derogation [12].

Sector specific provisions

EPAs also contain sector-specific provisions for key economic resources in ACP states. Fisheries, for example, are considered an important source of food and foreign exchange for ESA countries. In the UK-ESA EPA, the parties agree to cooperate for the sustainable development and management of the fisheries sector in their mutual interest, taking into account the economic, environmental, and social impacts as well as support national and regional policies aimed at increasing the sector’s productivity and competitiveness[13]. Particularly, with regards to marine fisheries, in the UK-ESA EPA, the UK is committed to contributing towards mobilizing resources for fisheries management, conservation issues, vessel management, post-harvest arrangements, financial and trade measures, development of fishery products and marine aquaculture to ensure the sustainable exploitation and management of fisheries resources.

 

 

In addition, EPAs include additional provisions to further reduce time and cost of trade. Unfortunately, ‘modern trade issues’ have not been included in all EPAs, apart from the most comprehensive one with the CARIFORUM region. However, the agreements leave room for signatories to elaborate on these increasingly pertinent issues in the future.

Regional integration

Regarding regional integration, EPAs contribute by joining up smaller markets into larger EPA regions. Regional preference clauses in EPAs set out that countries in the same region provide at least the same advantages to each other as they do to the UK. Furthermore, while many ACP countries maintain barriers amongst themselves, EPAs, coupled with other support initiatives for regional integration, will help them come to grips with technical and policy aspects of economic integration[14].

 

 

More flexible RoO, notably their provisions on cumulation, derogation, tolerance, and generous thresholds for products to obtain originating status, mean that parties can more easily claim EPA originating status to take advantage of the liberal market access offered by the UK. This will contribute to economic development through export-led growth, but also foster regional value chains leading to further regional economic development.

Development

Trade and investment under EPAs are an important channel to boost economic growth and sustainable development in ACP countries. To further assist development via trade under EPAs, robust safeguards are provided to help protect domestic industries and local producers from disruptive effects. Bilateral safeguards provide for the possibility to limit trade temporarily when the imports of certain products take place in such a quantity or in such a way that poses a threat to domestic industries, or risks creating disturbances in an economic sector. Furthermore, to shield infant industries, tariffs may be reintroduced together with additional instruments to ensure adequate policy space for ACP countries in building their economies. In addition, EPAs also contain provisions on aid-for-trade measures, and encourage deeper cooperation on customs, technical barriers to trade (TBT) and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) matters.

Beyond indirect impacts through enhanced trade and investment, EPAs’ annexes on development are expected to yield specific outcomes for developing partner states. The development chapters and commitments aim to provide targeted support to parties in their implementation of EPAs, which often take the Cotonou Agreement as a reference framework for economic development and poverty reduction. The ESA-UK EPA, for instance, sets out an indicative list of potential development targets that benefit African partner states via the development of infrastructure, key sectors, regional integration, trade policy, and institutions.

Other development objectives of EPAs are enshrined throughout the agreements’ provisions that seek to create new business, trade, and investment opportunities, generate positive impacts on the labour market, provide support for farmers, and promote regional economic integration. Among other things, by offering more legal certainty, EPAs are expected to attract UK investors into ACP countries, which will drive economic development and create new jobs [15].

The UK EPAs contain provisions on labour and environmental standards of varying degrees, with the CARIFORUM EPA often referred to as the model agreement for sustainable development [16]. EPAs lacking such provisions contain commitments on future negotiations.

 

 

Last but not least, EPAs reaffirm the parties’ commitments to upholding human rights, democracy, and rule of law as enshrined in the Cotonou Agreement, and refer indirectly to the possibility to suspend the agreements should these principles be violated (non-execution clauses).

Capacity building

The development matrix in the ESA-UK EPA provides several illustrative activities on capacity building. Examples include designing and constructing instruments to mobilise resources for investment; human resource development; service standards to facilitate trade and business transactions; information and communication technology-enabled services and institutional reforms to allow for integrated electronic information systems; and building sustainable production chains through harmonised regional policies, regulatory frameworks, and quality certification instruments accredited to international standards.

 

1.4. Benefits of EPAs

 

EPAs enable ACP countries to grow their economies in a sustainable way and raise their citizens’ living standards. The EU has highlighted ten benefits of the EU-EPAs for participating ACP states[17], which will apply equally in the context of the new UK-ACP EPAs.

 

 

  • EPAs promote shared values
    • In every EPA the UK and its partners agree to promote:
      • labour standards.
      • environmental protection.
      • good governance.
      • human rights.
    • To put the EPAs into practice, various stakeholders from government authorities to business associations, NGOs and trade unions are involved.
  • EPAs protect local producers
    • EPAs enable ACP countries to protect their local producers that may otherwise struggle to compete against UK imports. ACP countries can opt to retain tariffs on sensitive goods. In case imports of some products suddenly surge, they can apply safeguard measures, such as quotas.
  • EPAs encourage industrialisation
    • EPAs help ACP countries produce and export higher-value processed goods instead of just unprocessed, lower-value commodities thanks to highly flexible RoO. For example, textile products can enter the UK duty-free if at least one stage of production, e.g., weaving or knitting, takes place in an EPA country.
  • EPAs support ACP farmers
    • EPAs assist ACP farmers in meeting the UK’s high standards in food safety and animal and plant health. EPAs also allow ACP countries to respond, for instance by banning imports of agricultural products from the UK, should problems arise.
  • EPAs promote closer relations between neighbouring countries
    • Regional EPAs build on the existing efforts of ACP countries to work more closely together and integrate their economies. EPAs also promote regional value chains because a country can process inputs from its neighbours and still benefit from duty-free access to the UK.
  • EPAs help signatories respond together to global challenges
    • In the past, the UK offered unilateral access to its market, which might be withdrawn at any time. By signing reciprocal EPAs, both sides make binding commitments to each other. EPAs also create joint institutions, enabling ACP countries and the UK to reach decisions together. EPAs may also come with UK development aid, which helps ACP countries to make the most out of the partnership.
  • EPAs cut the costs of exporting and importing
    • The UK provides aid-for-trade along with every EPA. This helps partner countries adapt their customs procedures and reduce paperwork, which results in less hassle for exporters and importers and greater incentive to tackle corruption.
  • EPAs generate more and better jobs
    • EPAs help ACP countries to compete, thereby helping them expand their economies. New industries spring up will create more jobs. EPAs also encourage governments to work with trade unions and NGOs to improve labour standards.
  • EPAs help countries attract more investment
    • EPAs are permanent, with no end date, giving local or foreign potential investors the long-term stability, they look for. EPAs also signal that partners involved are serious about attracting businesses and giving them good prospects to set up or expand.
  • EPAs create new business opportunities
    • Firms from countries covered by an EPA can freely export to the UK – no duties to pay at customs and no quotas for most products. They can also import the inputs they need, such as machinery or components, at lower prices.

 

 

1.5. Misconceptions of EPAs

 

EPAs have sometimes been labelled as unfair by some commentators who argue that EPAs open ACP markets to international competition at the expense of local businesses. Other critics have accused EU-ACP EPAs of diluting the negotiating power of developing ACP countries, leaving them as rule takers. The followings are some most common misconceptions held by opponents of EU EPAs and their counterarguments[18], which will apply equally in the context of the new UK-ACP EPAs.

 

 

#1: ACP countries have been forced into EPAs by EU/UK pressure

No. The pressure to sign EU-ACP EPAs came from the expectations of other WTO members, including non-ACP developing ones, that the EU and ACP countries would respect their commitments to make their trade relations WTO-compatible by 1 January 2007. Whereas, the need to maintain and strengthen economic ties between the UK and ACP countries after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU has necessitated the negotiations of UK-ACP EPAs.

#2: Countries that have signed EPAs will see their markets flooded with cheap UK imports

No. Under the terms of EPAs, the ACP countries are free to exclude a wide range of sensitive goods and sectors from liberalisation. UK companies export little to most ACP countries. The interest is to build integrated supply chains with ACP countries that can be mutually beneficial.

#3: By signing EPAs with different ACP countries the UK has undermined regional integration

No. EPAs are designed to enhance the creation of regional value chains and support increased trade between all parties, including ACP countries. This is supported, for example, by flexible rules of origin.

#4: Cuts in import duties as ACP countries liberalise will undermine government revenue

No. ACP countries have excluded many products from liberalisation and will gradually liberalise other tariffs over 10-15 years, lowering tariffs on the imports that ACP economies need first. This will prevent dramatic changes in revenue. In addition, the UK is ready and has the means to assist ACP countries with fiscal reform and adjustment to help cushion any net fiscal losses observed as a result of EPAs.

 

 

#5: Future development funds are conditional on the signing of EPAs

No. Both the EU and the UK never tie development finance to the signing of EPAs. The regional financing element of the European Development Fund (EDF) does support ACP regional integration but its programming guidelines do not specify that this must involve an EPA. It states only that where there is an EPA, funds must support the smooth implementation of any related commitments. This is also the same approach of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development on funding for the EPA Support Programme[19].

#6: The UK is still insisting on negotiating on issues such as investment and services in full EPAs, even where ACP countries do not want to do so.

No. The UK has never insisted that these issues be covered by EPAs. But it believes that there are good development reasons explaining why they should be. Services like telecommunications, banking and construction are the backbone of a growing economy and most ACP countries desperately need to attract foreign investment in these sectors and others.

#7: EPAs are a danger to ACP countries’ development[20]

No. The UK's trade and development policy is more concerned on how the UK can use trade to help ACP countries build stronger economies and break their dependence on trade preferences and basic commodity trade. EPAs that the UK signs with ACP countries are designed to help bring greater opportunities to local businesses, attract new investment and build strong regional markets that can compete globally. EPAs will turn a trade relationship that is dependent on several commodities into one based on economic diversification and growing economies.

#8: RoO in EPAs bind countries to trade more with party states

The claim here is that RoO are too restrictive as they bind EPA countries to trade more with other EPA partners at the expense of third party LDC countries. However, countries are not bound, but rather have more liberal criteria for goods coming from EPA party states.

 

 

#9: Goods originating in the EPA states are good and goods from elsewhere are bad

While EPAs include chapters on TBT and SPS, it does not mean that all other goods are substandard. The quality of products is all gauged according to the same standards, it is up to trading firms to judge if certain products meet their needs and if the standards and certification are trustworthy.

#10: Imports from all ACP countries can enter partner states free of duty

Not all ACP states have FTAs with one another. Treatment of goods from ACP states is thus decided on the trading relationship between the country of import and the originating country.

 

 

Beyond capacity building with specific development objectives, EPAs also involve enhanced policy cooperation and dialogue on agriculture and food security that, among other things, seek to improve farmers’ capacity to comply with SPS and other agricultural standards. Furthermore, EPAs also attempt to address capacity relating to issues at the border. For example, several UK-ACP EPAs with ESA, SACUM, CARIFORUM, and Pacific States provide a legal framework with clear trade facilitation objectives.

Finally, programmes to take advantage of or support the implementation of EPAs will be carried out to improve ACP countries’ technical and administrative capacity in both the public and private sectors.

 

 

Chapter 2. What businesses need to know?


Trade is an important aspect for prosperity and development for African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. While possessing huge export potential for a wide range of products, much of such potential remains untapped. Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) bring the trade support needed to narrow the gap between potential and realised exports. They also boost regional trade and help ACP countries to build supply chains to compete in the global markets. Given their central role in the implementation of EPAs, ACP firms, particularly micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) need to understand the opportunities brought about by EPAs and learn how to benefit from these trade agreements.

 

2.1. How businesses benefit from EPAs?

Tariff preferences in EPAs allow importers and exporters to pay less or no duties for goods that meet prescribed rules of origin (RoO) and other criteria. Preferential tariff regimes give trade advantages. Moreover, reduced or eliminated tariffs also lower the transaction costs; which means goods imported from ACP countries will land on shelves at more reasonable prices, thereby attracting more UK consumers.

This benefit is tremendous as the UK is a major market with high demand for a wide range of products that ACP firms can supply. The products with largest export potential include beverages, beauty products, apparel and clothing accessories, fish and shellfish, cocoa and cocoa products. In this regard, not only do ACP exporters gain from market expansion, but UK importers also benefit from more diversified sources of supply.

Besides export opportunities created by tariff preferences, EPAs also enable ACP firms to import essential production inputs at lower prices, such as machinery or components. These inputs are crucial to improving technology and enhancing production to expand business operations. In addition, when dealing with more customers from the UK, the learning-by-doing effect will also help ACP firms become even more proficient in doing business.

Unlike unilateral preferences granted by the EU prior to the Cotonou Agreement, ACP countries will be subject to moderate level of competition when entering into EPAs with the UK. However, as a safety net, ACP countries are allowed to maintain tariffs on sensitive goods. Thus local producers will not struggle to compete against UK imports. In case there is a sudden surge in the imports of certain goods, safeguard measures such as import quotas may be applied to protect domestic markets. The gradual reciprocal market opening and steady exposure to competition, coupled with capacity building programmes, will help strengthen the competitiveness of ACP firms in the long run.

Thanks to more relaxed RoO in EPAs, firms in ACP countries are poised to start producing and exporting higher-value and more processed goods instead of just raw commodities. For example, a textile product can enter the UK duty-free if at least one stage in its production takes place in an EPA country. EPAs will also encourage ACP firms to cooperate with local firms, or expand their business to neighbouring countries to build regional value chains. This is because the RoO in UK-EPAs create the incentives for ACP firms to use inputs from another company in the region to benefit from the duty-free access to the UK. This is also the channel through which more foreign direct investment will be attracted into ACP countries.

Apart from manufacturing firms, farmers are expected to prosper from EPAs as well. The UK will continue to ban subsidies on exports of agricultural products to ACPs, thus the competition pressure is low in agriculture sector, and higher revenues for local producers are foreseeable. By complying with the UK standards for food safety and animal and plant health, farmers in ACP countries will become more competent, and can even expand their export markets to other parts of the world.

To learn more about tariff preferences offered by EPAs, please visit UK’s Gov.uk and ITC’s Market Access Map.

 

2.2. Trade areas covered by EPAs

Apart from the CARIFORUM-UK EPA that is an inclusive agreement covering investment, services, and a number of trade related issues from public procurement to competition and intellectual property rights (IPRs), all other UK-ACP EPAs cover only trade in goods and development cooperation.


 

 

Goods

All EPAs cover trade in goods, RoO, safeguards, customs and trade facilitation, agriculture and fisheries, Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures, and development cooperation. In the ESA-UK EPA, for example, the UK commits to provide immediate duty-free, quota-free (DFQF) access to goods exported from Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) states. In return, the ESA states commit to gradual tariff liberalisation of goods. As regards to agriculture, the ESA-EU EPA contains a mechanism entitling the EU to raise safeguards on sugar; however, this mechanism has been suspended in the ESA-UK EPA. The parties are also committed to promoting sustainable growth of the fishing industries.

The UK’s EPA with Pacific states only covers trade in goods, though the UK exports almost exclusively services and imports exclusively goods (cane sugar and fish) from its partners. Tariffs are removed or reduced, and new RoO are included to allow for an extended cumulation of EU and other ACP inputs. This EPA also includes a mechanism to trigger safeguards against sugar imports in case of disturbance to the importing market, but this mechanism is initially suspended for five years.

The CARIFORUM-UK EPA is committed to removing tariffs and other barriers to trade. In the areas of agriculture and fisheries, export subsidies are prohibited. The parties pay particular attention to the role of food security and competitiveness of traditional agricultural products in the Caribbean region.

In addition to removing tariffs and obstacles to trade, the Southern African Customs Union and Mozambique (SACUM)-UK EPA enables the harmonisation of customs procedures. Export subsidies on agricultural goods are removed, and so are tariffs and quotas for goods entering the UK from the SACU member states and Mozambique.

Some domestically sensitive goods are excluded from tariff liberalisation. The main exclusions in all EPAs are agricultural products and processed agricultural products. The exclusions are based mainly on the need to protect infant industries and sensitive products of ACP countries.

Services

EPAs provide for a progressive and reciprocal liberalisation of trade in services and investment aiming at assuring a comparable level of market access opportunities, consistent with the relevant World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, in particular Article V of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), taking into account the level of development of the ACP countries concerned. A good example is the CARIFORUM-UK EPA which provides a title on services, investment and e-commerce, which gives rise to an agreement compatible with the GATS.

Beyond market access, the CARIFORUM-UK EPA contains significant regulatory principles in several sectors, in particular tourism at the request of CARIFORUM states, to help develop competitive sectors and ensure benefits for the region. A specific commitment to environmentally sustainable tourism is also included. The CARIFORUM-UK EPA also provides for the removal of barriers to trade in services, and establishes a framework for mutual recognition of qualifications.

The provisions on trade in services for the ESA-UK EPA are stipulated in a chapter on areas for future negotiations. However, the UK and ESA countries have agreed to coordinate their tourism policies and promote the conversation of environmental and water resources.

In the SACUM-UK EPA, the parties have set out a framework for negotiating concessions going beyond the GATS (GATS+).

Trade-related Issues

Some EPAs also include trade-related rules such as IPRs, competition, procurement, or transparency. All UK-ACP EPAs have provisions on IPRs and geographical indications (GIs), government procurement, competition and trade remedies. Besides, EPAs may also cover current payment and capital movement, innovation, and environment and social aspects.

In CARIFORUM-UK EPA, its parties have committed to allowing access to procurement market, while no CARIFORUM state has acceded to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement. The EPA also provides improved protection of IPRs, including GIs.

Trade-related issues in the ESA-UK EPA are covered in a chapter on areas for future negotiation, which includes customs and trade facilitation, outstanding trade and market access issues, TBT and SPS, trade in services, agriculture, and any other areas that the parties find necessary.

 

2.3. EPA utilisation strategy

 

2.3.1. Reactive approach

 

The reactive strategy to take advantage of EPAs means a company attempts to gain benefit from EPA preferences when conducting a specific transaction. This strategy is used when a company already has a combination of partner, market, and product in mind. The reactive EPA utilisation, therefore, serves the immediate needs of that particular transaction.

Let’s imagine a scenario in which a company in Madagascar has been approached by a buyer in the UK who wants to buy its citrus jam. The company wants to utilise trade preferences under the ESA-UK EPA. To this end, it needs to understand the procedures to export jam products to the UK market, the tariff reduction that its product might be eligible for under the EPA and the requirements to be fulfilled to claim preferential tariff. In various cases, it is because the importer asks the exporter to provide an EPA certificate of origin that prompts the latter to utilise the EPA. If the EPA preferences can be utilised, this company may export its jam to the UK free of duties, thereby becoming more competitive as compared to other competitors. However, the company does not intend to renovate its business operations at the moment in order to gain EPA benefits.

2.3.2. Proactive approach

 

The second approach to EPA utilisation is a more proactive one. This is when a company explores various opportunities brought out by EPAs before entering foreign markets. In this scenario, the company does not have a specific combination of buyer, product and market in mind yet. There might be a range of products that it wants to export, and a number of markets or just geographical regions to consider. For example, the company mentioned above is using the EPA in a proactive way if it starts exploring which market is the first one it should enter, whether the UK is the best market considering its EPA with ESA, and whether it is worth utilising the EPA, or UK’s General System of Preferences (GSP) , as the case may be. It may want to know, among other things, if the EPA brings tariff advantages to its product, and if it may face strong competition or strict regulatory requirements in the destination market. It also estimates the cost to comply with the EPA’s RoO in order to build a pricing strategy to maximise profit.

In the proactive approach, an exporter may use information on markets and competitors to decide if it should export to a certain EPA market, to weigh the costs and benefits of EPA utilisation, and eventually to adapt its production and supply chains to obtain EPA benefits.

Whether taking the reactive or the proactive strategy when trading under EPAs, businesses may find themselves in a position where they do not have enough market information. For this reason, ITC has developed a suite of market analysis tools which enable firms, particularly MSMEs, to compare market access requirements, identify opportunities, and expand trade and investment activities.

 

Understanding the new rules that apply after the transition period expires is important for both approaches. Visit https://www.gov.uk/transition/ for more information.

 

 

2.3.3. ITC market information and access tools [21]

 

The ITC’s suite of market analysis tools are among of the world’s largest databases on trade statistics, tariff data, foreign direct investment data and voluntary standards.

An exporter will first need to know how its product is classified in the national tariff nomenclature as well as in the tariff nomenclature of the target market. Exporters can look for their products’ HS codes by scrolling through: https://www.macmap.org/en/resources/product-search.

 

 

Once a company knows its product’s HS code, it may want to gather more information on global demand for the product: which countries are importing this product, the quantity, and the annual/monthly trade value. Perhaps the company also wants to know which other countries are exporting identical or similar products, to which markets, and if there are any trends in world trade for the product in question. ITC’s Trade Map offers a user-friendly tool to address these trade flow questions.

 

 

https://www.trademap.org/

ITC’s Trade Map is a trade statistical tool which allows both trade support institutions and businesses to address trade flows and related questions, thereby facilitating strategic market research for the purpose of diversifying products, markets, and suppliers.

Trade Map provides users with detailed data on international trade flows as well as indicators on trade performance, international demand, alternative markets, and main competitors from both product and country perspectives.

The tool presents information in an accessible, intuitive, and interactive web-based application. Results can be displayed in the form of tables, charts or maps, and users may make queries by product, country, group of products, or group of countries.

 

Now the firm is equipped with extensive knowledge of trade flows for its product, it will continue looking for information on the target market’s tariff and non-tariff measures, trade remedies, etc., applied to the product. It may also want to investigate if it has tariff advantages over its competitors in the target market. Besides, it may want to know if other markets offer better entry conditions. Such questions can be addressed by surfing the Market Access Map.

 

 

https://www.macmap.org/

ITC’s Market Access Map is an online tool that provides information on applied customs tariffs, including MFN and preferential tariffs in unilateral and reciprocal trade agreements. It also covers bound tariffs of WTO members, TRQs, trade remedies, and non-tariff measures, etc. The tool allows users to Access, Compare and Analyse tariff and non-tariff measures applicable to a specific product in any market.

Market Access Map responds to users’ specific needs depending on their business profile, and provides free and user-friendly access to market information. The tool is vital for MSMEs in developing countries, who have limited sources of reliable information about foreign markets. The revamped Map now allows exporters, importers, policymakers, trade and investment support institutions, researchers, and trade negotiators to better understand and analyse market access conditions, explore new markets, develop better trade policies, or negotiate better outcomes in trade agreements.

 

When the company has decided to export to a certain market, or if it has been approached by a buyer from that market, it may want to know whether its product is entitled to any preferences. In case there is a trade agreement in place, the good needs to qualify for originating status to be considered eligible. A tool has been built by ITC to facilitate MSMEs to search, understand, and comply with RoO – the Rules of Origin Facilitator.

 

 

http://findrulesoforigin.org/

Rules of Origin Facilitator provides user-friendly access to ITC’s database of RoO and origin provisions in force worldwide. Combined with the tariff and trade agreement database maintained by Market Access Map since 2006, it results in a unique market intelligence solution empowering companies to benefit from trade agreements by complying with their RoO. The Facilitator aims to help MSMEs take advantage of trade opportunities in the form of reduced tariffs under trade agreements.

The database on RoO currently contains data for over 350 trade agreements applied by more than 190 countries. This database is continuously expanding with the ultimate goal to cover all trade agreements that are active in the world (450+). Non-preferential RoO of some WTO members have been covered as a pilot exercise as well.

 

Access to real-time and sector-specific market price information is another crucial factor which enables MSMEs to make decisions and anticipate trends in international markets. ITC’s Market Price Information Portal is introduced as part of the suite of market analysis tools for this purpose.

 

 

https://mpi.intracen.org/

ITC’s Market Price Information Portal provides free access to real-time data on price and market updates for over 300 products of the following sectors: agricultural soft commodities; culinary spices and herbs; dairy, livestock, fish and seafood; fresh fruit and vegetables; forestry, fibre, textiles; grains and pulses; and oilseeds, oils, nuts and fats.

For each product, prices are broken down by variety, quality and other characteristics, enabling MSMEs to stay alert to the latest market movements. Launched with a view to improving transparency in trade and facilitating the decision-making processes of MSME exporters, the portal also provides research and up-to-date agricultural commodities news.

The Market Price Information Portal will help MSMEs become more competitive, make it easier for them to connect to global markets, and enable them to grow their businesses.

 

Armed with the knowledge of trade flow, market price, and market access, the company may still want to know what markets offer the most promising opportunities. At this stage, the firm may be interested in more technical work that models export potential for its product taking into account various factors such as trade flows, tariffs, national purchasing power and geographic data, etc.

 

 

http://exportpotential.intracen.org/en/#/home/

ITC’s Export Potential Map is an innovative free tool that identifies products, markets and suppliers with (untapped) export potential. It also identifies export diversification opportunities for 222 countries and territories and 4,064 products.

Based on an economic model that draws on trade, tariff, GDP, and geographic data, the tool attempts to turn economic analysis into practical trade information. Information provided by the Export Potential Map facilitates evidence-based prioritisation of sectors and markets to inform and develop national and regional export strategies, help guide businesses in their export decisions, as well as strategically direct trade policy negotiations.

ITC can, on request, also produce customised country-specific versions of Export Potential Map, as it did for Malawi in 2018 [22].

 

The company now has a much clearer picture of which markets offer what opportunities for its product. However, taking one step further, the company may consider investing in a foreign market to diversify its operational footprint. Let’s suppose the company is cultivating a unique chilli pepper in Zimbabwe, but environmental conditions there are limiting pepper production. It may be interested in investing in greenhouse facilities offshore to maximise output and move closer to target markets. To this end, the company may want to consult ITC’s Investment Map.

 

 

https://www.investmentmap.org/

ITC’s Investment Map collects data on foreign direct investment (FDI) and the activities of multinational firms. The tool helps investment promotion agencies identify priority sectors and countries competing for foreign investment, as well as existing and potential foreign investors. Moreover, it helps companies identify potential locations for investment abroad.

The database includes information on total FDI flows and stocks for about 200 countries; FDI flows and stocks, broken down by industry and/or country for over 115 countries; export/import data and trade performance indicators for around 227 countries; tariff data applied by 187 countries and faced by 200 exporting countries; and data on the location, sales, employment, and parent company for over 150,000 foreign affiliates located in developing or transition economies.

 

After thorough consideration, the company has narrowed down its export opportunities to a handful of options, and may now start to contact customers in the target market. However, there is one last hurdle before making decision – supply chain standards, which include standards for environmental protection, worker or labour rights, economic development, quality and food safety, business ethics, etc. It is at this point that ITC’s Sustainability Map steps in to help:

 

 

https://www.sustainabilitymap.org/home/

ITC’s Sustainability Map provides a free access to a wide-range of information related to sustainability initiatives, standards, and trends, which allows users to better deploy sustainability practices in global trade. The tool reviews and analyses various standards’ requirements, guides users through compliance, and assists them in identifying, reviewing, comparing, setting a reference, and self-assessing against the various standards, codes of conduct, audit protocols, and best practices.

The main beneficiaries of the tool are MSMEs. However, it is also useful for government agencies which need to understand how sustainable production and consumption trends affect the competitiveness of their key sectors and domestic exporters.

 

Let’s consider another example of a Tongan engineering firm specializing in construction of platforms, piers, and freight transport infrastructure. It does not want to export its goods and services to a foreign market solely through the private sector channel. Another option for this company is to bid for a foreign public procurement contract. The company may consult ITC’s Procurement Map to view listed tenders in its sector, or target a specific market for a broader view of available public tenders.

 

 

http://procurementmap.intracen.org/

ITC’s Procurement Map helps businesses, especially MSMEs, bid for public procurement contracts over the world. It includes a country-by-country breakdown of public tenders and indicates when countries have procurement policies that favour women-owned businesses or MSMEs.

Procurement Map provides detailed information of over 150, 000 public tenders. It is a route to foster entrepreneurship and seek new market opportunities. Users can conveniently identify potential buyers thanks to an intuitive search facility based on target country and economic sector.

 

Apart from the tools above, ITC also provides other useful resources which should be consulted for more efficient utilisation of EPAs.

 

 

NTM Survey Portal | www.ntmsurvey.org
SheTrades | https://www.shetrades.com/en
SME Academy | https://learning.intracen.org
Trade Intelligence Portal | https://tradeintelligenceportal.org

 

 

2.3.4. Using ITC tools - reactive or proactive?

 

Depending on the approach a company is taking towards EPA utilisation, it will use ITC tools in a different way. Let’s take the use of Market Access Map as an example.

 

 

Use Market Access Map in a reactive strategy: A company in Jamaica has been contacted by a customer in the UK, who is interested in purchasing its product. The company exports regularly to other Caribbean countries but has never exported to the UK. In this case, the company will use Market Access Map to make sure its product can enter the UK market and land on shelves. It will firstly use the Customs Tariffs module to check applicable tariffs, and explore if there are any preferential tariffs available. It also wants to check the Export and Import Requirements module to find out if the UK applies any technical barriers to its product.

 

 

 

Use Market Access Map in a proactive strategy: A company in Jamaica thinks its product potentially sells well in other markets. The company has exported its goods once or twice but is now looking to develop an export plan to enter the UK market. It does not have a particular buyer in mind yet but starts reaching out to potential buyers in this market. To this end, the company is conducting a comprehensive analysis via the Compare Markets module to understand the UK’s market access conditions as opposed to other markets. It also relies on the Compare Competitors module to verify if it has any tariff advantages in the UK market.

Among ITC market analysis tools, some are more suitable for a proactive use, e.g., the Export Potential Map, while others are suitable for both strategies. For example, the Rules of Origin Facilitator may be used either to comply with origin criteria in a certain transaction when an EPA buyer asks for a certificate of origin, or to weigh various tariff options associated with different origin requirements when exporting to different markets. A company may also use the Facilitator at an early stage to make decision on inputs sourcing so that its product will meet the RoO of an EPA.

 

 

 
 

Chapter 3. What trade and investment support institutions need to know?


3.1 Strategic goals of EPAs

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are explicitly based on essential and fundamental elements set out in the Cotonou Agreement, i.e., human rights, democratic principles, the rule of law, and good governance[23]. EPAs thus contain some of the strongest provisions on those elements available in existing trade agreements to which the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) are contracting parties.

The Cotonou Agreement was adapted in 2010 to deal with non-trade issues namely climate change, food safety, HIV/AIDS, strengthening security in fragile regions, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (replaced in 2016 by 17 SDGs [24]. Conceptualised as the trade pillar of the Cotonou Agreement and likely to long outlive it, EU/UK EPAs with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries are the most relevant to SDG 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise global partnership for sustainable development [25] .

 

 

 

Source: DIE (2016) [26]

 

Commercial interests

 

Together with SDGs, EPAs also aim to deliver commercial interests for ACP countries, including more markets and more sales, by fully opening the UK market to imports from ACP countries, strengthening and boosting trade among ACP countries. EPAs directly benefit ACP manufacturers, service providers, farmers and the communities in which they operate by allowing duty- and quota-free access to many exports to the UK. This access to the UK market incentivises international exporters to target economies of scale and increase output.

 

 

The UK often negotiates EPAs with regional blocs rather than individual states. These strategic and more integrated regional markets will benefit ACP exporters by boosting trade between neighbouring ACP countries and within regions.

EPAs also offer more flexible, simpler RoO for some products as compared to those that apply to MFN and GSP preferences, which allow ACP states to use cheaper, better quality or more innovative inputs from other countries in their exports, thereby moving up the value-added ladder rather than exporting predominantly lower value raw materials [27].

EPAs also bring advantages to the UK through offering lower prices and better value by removing trade barriers, which in turn produces healthy competition in the UK market and lower prices for consumers. They also present wider choice and better quality imports - EPAs can help promote exports of new products from ACP countries and new varieties of familiar products like coffee, cocoa, mangoes or pineapples [28].

While firms from countries covered by an EPA can freely export to the UK, they can also import the inputs they need, such as machinery or components, at lower prices. EPAs lower the costs of imported inputs needed to make final products, such as machinery. This will lower the costs of production in ACP countries and increase the competitiveness of the local economy.

Moreover, EPAs include important provisions to make customs procedures easier and more efficient. EPAs also introduce clauses on areas for future negotiations covering ‘behind the border’ issues such as customs and trade facilitation. Once fully implemented, such clauses are expected to help ACP countries adapt their customs procedures and reduce paperwork. This results in less hassle for traders and greater incentive to tackle corruption, which can help cut trade costs.

 

3.2. Issues for future negotiations

Despite the EU’s initial ambition to conclude modern comprehensive agreements that cover trade in services and trade-related issues, it has been fully realised in the EPA with the CARIFORUM region only. In other EU-ACP EPAs, these elements have been reserved for future negotiations. This remains the situation of UK-ACP EPAs.

It is also noted that UK-ACP EPAs contain chapters on areas for future negotiations, which set out critical areas of negotiation that may drastically improve EPAs’ effectiveness and offer massive benefits to Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs). The most vital issues designated for future negotiations include: customs and trade facilitation, outstanding trade and market access issues, trade defence measures, technical barriers to trade (TBT) and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, trade in services and other trade related matters.

 

 

The services sector features a higher share of exporters being MSMEs than the manufacturing sector. However, exports of services continue to be underrepresented in the portfolio of most ACP countries compared with the rest of the world, with the notable exception of the Caribbean region. Data reveals that sectors such as wholesale and retail trade, auxiliary transport activities, hotels and restaurants, and other services comprise a large proportion of MSMEs while large companies manufacture textiles, food products and beverages, as well as chemical products [29]. Therefore, the inclusion of trade in services in future negotiations will enable MSMEs to benefit more from EPAs.

 

 

3.3. Monitoring EPA implementation

 

 

3.3.1. Stakeholders

 

EPA implementation involves a wide range of stakeholders, which vary from country to country. The following table provides an indicative list of stakeholders that may be relevant for the implementation of provisions of EPAs (e.g., government departments and agencies), and for broader consultation on the overall objectives of EPAs.

 

3.3.2 Communication and Engagement Strategies

 

Communication about the UK-ACP EPAs is the responsibility of different stakeholders, including national governments and regional organisations. It is important to ensure all efforts to communicate and engage be coordinated in order to avoid contradictory information and unnecessary overlapping. The communication and visibility aspects of EPAs could be captured in the national and/or regional implementation plans for the agreements.

Based on the experience of the EU-ACP EPA parties, there are various activities that should be undertaken to assist communication and stakeholder engagement under UK-ACP EPAs, including:

 

 

Communication

  • Create a shared knowledge management portal that collects all relevant documents and information about EPAs. This should be made available online for the public and kept up to date as the implementation of the EPA progresses [30];
  • Prepare and circulate accessible summary information about EPAs to business and civil society stakeholders. This is vital because not many stakeholders will read the full text of EPAs. This may include fact sheets, brochures, handbooks, case studies, success stories, data analysis, thematic webinar recordings and audio presentations on EPAs;
  • Train media stakeholders on EPAs so that they can assist in disseminating information;
  • Consider developing materials that are accessible on mobile devices, such as an application that provides information on EPAs. At a minimum the web-based knowledge management portal should be accessible on mobile devices.

 

Engagement

  • Organise brief national and regional conferences and workshops on EPAs;
  • Conduct presentations to lawmakers who will ratify and monitor the implementation of EPAs, in some cases;
  • Organise trade promotion activities that target key sectors with preferential access under EPAs and provide opportunities to link producers and buyers;
  • Strengthen existing platforms for consultation between government and businesses, such as regular public-private dialogues. This may include establishing an EPA-specific panel responsible for monitoring the implementation of the agreements.
  • Organise joint consultations between the UK and ACP stakeholders, including businesses and civil societies, to exchange experiences in implementation of EPAs

 

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted a rethinking of how networking and consultations should take place. There have been limitations to in-person events in most countries, which has prompted a growing number of online or virtual options springing up. Communication and engagement strategies on the UK-ACP EPAs should definitely take these options into account.

 

 

 

Chapter 4. UK-ACP ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENTS (EPAS)


4.1. CARIFORUM-UK EPA [31]

 

4.1.1. Agreement Structure

 

In general, the EPA between CARIFORUM states and the United Kingdom (UK) is structured into a main legal text agreement which contains all articles that regulate the terms of the agreement followed by supplementary protocols, annexes, appendices, sections, notes and templates for trade documents that elaborate on how the main text is to be implemented.

 

 

 

The main legal text of the CARIFORUM-UK EPA first sets out general provisions on trade partnership for sustainable development. Part I of the EPA includes all articles relating to sustainable development which includes articles on sustainable development, regional integration, development cooperation, etc.

The CARIFORUM-UK EPA structure differs from other EPAs in that some articles in this first part have their own chapters in the section on trade related matters, such as competition, innovation and intellectual property, public procurement, environment, social aspects, and personal data protection. These chapters also contain implementable articles that can impact bilateral commerce.

 

 

The next part in the main text of the EPA contains articles on trade and trade related matters. This part in the CARIFORUM-UK EPA first covers matters on trade in goods which relate to customs duties, trade defence measures, non-tariff measures, customs and trade facilitation, agriculture and fisheries, and technical barriers to trade (TBT) and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, etc.

The CARIFORUM-UK EPA exceptionally includes detailed chapters on investment, trade in services, and e-commerce, which contain annexes on specific commitments with regards to market access for services. It also provides a separate section on current payments and capital movement, which are often included in the trade in goods section.

Trade and trade related matters are followed by a part on dispute avoidance and settlement. This part contains provisions on objectives and scope and two chapters on consultations and mediation and dispute settlement procedures. A section on common provisions is included in the chapter on dispute settlement procedures.

The CARIFORUM-UK EPA contains a part on exceptions which includes a general exception clause, security exceptions, and taxation. This part sets out the measures that parties can apply in the interest of domestic economic or social objectives on the condition that such measures do not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination among the parties where like conditions prevail, or a disguised restriction on international trade.

The CARIFORUM-UK EPA dedicates a section to institutional provisions, which elaborates on the councils and committees that need to be assembled, their composition and rules of procedures, and their decision-making powers and procedures.

The main legal text then concludes with a section on general and final provisions. This section provides a collection of articles setting out implementation details, parties’ obligations, future negotiation, and interaction with other treaties and agreements.

The general and final provision section includes a provision stating that annexes and protocols form an integral part of the EPA. While the main text sets out the legal and regulatory scope and obligations of the EPA, the annexes and protocols provide technical details for effective EPA implementation.

The first annex of the EPA contains provisions on the customs duties of the UK on products originating in CARIFORUM states. This annex provides that customs duties of the UK shall be entirely eliminated on all products of Chapters 1 to 97 of the HS, except Chapter 93, originating in a CARIFORUM state upon the entry into force of the EPA. For products of Chapter 93, the UK shall continue to impose the applied MFN duties.

The next annex sets out the customs duties of CARIFORUM states on products originating in the UK. It makes clear that products of Chapter 93 of the Harmonised System (HS) shall not be subject to this Annex.

Following the custom duty tables, the CARIFORUM-UK EPA contains annexes on:

  • Lists of commitments on investment and trade in services refer to provisions in the main text under the section on investment, trade in services and e-commerce. The annex contains positive lists that set out the applicable market access and national treatment limitations.
  • List of commitments on investment in economic activities other than services sectors detail the reservations by signatory CARIFORUM states regarding measures not in conformity with obligations set out under the section on investment, trade in services and e-commerce in the main legal text.
  • List of commitments in services sectors set out the service activities in which signatory CARIFORUM States are undertaking commitments
  • The CARIFORUM-UK EPA contains several other annexes relating to investment, services trade, and e-commerce: one on enquiry points, one on public procurement, another on means of publication, and one on rules of procedure for dispute settlement.

These annexes are followed by a protocol concerning the concept of ‘originating products’ and methods of administrative cooperation. This protocol follows a standard format across EPAs:

General provisions, concerning definitions

Definition of the concept of ‘originating products’, concerning the criteria to obtain originating status which include cumulation, wholly obtained products, sufficiently worked, insufficiently worked, unit of qualification, etc.

Territorial requirements, setting out the principle of territoriality, direct consignment, and exhibitions provisions.

Proof of origin, detailing the procedure for the issuance of a movement certificate, its retrospective and duplicative issuance, its issuance on the basis of a previously submitted proof of origin, conditions for making out an invoice declaration, the validity of proof of origin, submission of proof of origin, approved exporter status, etc.

Arrangements for administrative cooperation, largely concerning administrative conditions of parties and the mutual assistance, through competent customs administrations, in checking the authenticity and the correctness of information given in supporting documents.

Final provisions, containing final provisions of the protocol including amendments, tasks of the Special Committee on Customs Cooperation and Trade Facilitation, review, and annexes.

The annexes to the Rules of Origin (RoO) protocol are very extensive and technical, setting out in detail the conditions, criteria and thresholds required for products to obtain originating status, or what fails products from obtaining it. The annexes also contain the templates for supporting administrative documents detailed in the protocol.

The protocol on mutual administrative assistance in customs matters follows directly the RoO protocol. This protocol legislates that parties assist each other in the areas within their competence, and under the conditions laid down in the protocol. The aim is to ensure the correct application of the customs law without prejudice to the rules governing mutual assistance in criminal matters. The protocol goes into much detail on the mechanisms of mutual administrative assistance in its various articles.

 

 

 

The CARIFORUM-UK EPA contains an additional unique protocol on cultural cooperation that speaks to the parties’ commitments under the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

The EPA then concludes with the final act, stipulating the annexes, protocols and joint declarations that the parties adopt upon signing the agreement.

 

4.1.2. EPA institutions

Article 227 of the EPA establishes a joint CARIFORUM-UK Council. A Trade and Development Committee which will assist the Joint Council is also established according to Article 230 of the EPA.

 

For more information about the EPA, please visit:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/summary-of-the-cariforum-uk-economic-partnership-agreement-epa
https://findrulesoforigin.org/en/home/agreement-detail?fta=963

 

4.2. ESA-UK EPA [32]

 

4.2.1. Agreement Structure

 

In general, the EPA between the Eastern and Southern African (ESA) and the UK is structured into a main legal text agreement which contains all articles that regulate the terms of the agreement followed by supplementary protocols, annexes, appendices, sections, notes and templates for trade documents that elaborate on how the main text is to be implemented.

 

 

 

The main legal text of the ESA-UK EPA first sets out in its Chapter 1 the provisions which govern the general objectives of the EPA, its specific objectives and principles.

The next chapter in the main EPA text contains articles on regime for trade in goods. This chapter covers matters on trade in goods, which relate to customs duties, trade defence measures, non-tariff measures, customs and trade facilitation, etc. It is followed by a specific chapter on fisheries, which aims to promote sustainable development and management of fisheries, a key economic resource of the ESA region.

The ESA-UK EPA deviates from the broad template by including a chapter on economic and development cooperation that cover development needs of the ESA states to promote sustainable growth in the region. This chapter includes several sections on general provisions, private sector development, infrastructure, natural resources, and the environment. It is also critical to note that the ESA-UK EPA contains a chapter on areas for future negotiations which sets out critical areas of negotiation that could drastically improve the effectiveness of the trade agreement.

Trade in goods and fisheries matters are then followed by Chapter VI on dispute avoidance, settlement, institutional, general and final provisions. The ESA-UK EPA is less detailed in this section, it instead bundles together all provisions on these issues in only 14 articles.

Regarding institutional provisions, the ESA-UK EPA contains one article on the establishment of the EPA committee, responsible for the administration of all matters under the EPA.

 

 

 

The main legal text concludes with general and final provisions, which set out the implementation details, parties’ obligations, future negotiation, and interaction with other treaties and agreements.

The general and final provision section includes a provision stating that annexes and protocols form an integral part of the EPA. While the main text sets out the legal and regulatory scope and obligations of the EPA, the annexes and protocols provide technical details for effective EPA implementation.

The first annex of the EPA contains provisions on the customs duties of the UK on products originating in ESA states. It provides that customs duties of the UK shall be entirely eliminated on all products of Chapters 1 to 97 of the HS, except Chapter 93, originating in an ESA state upon the entry into force of the EPA. For products of Chapter 93, the UK shall continue to impose the applied MFN duties.

The next annex sets out the customs duties of partner states on products originating in the UK. This annex refers to Article 5 of Chapter II of the EPA referencing market access commitments of partner states. The ESA states that take commitments under Chapter II include Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The schedule of tariff liberalisation of each of these ESA states specifying customs duties on products originating in the UK is provided together with an exclusion list of products precluded from the respective EPA partner state’s tariff reduction commitments.

Following the customs duty tables, the ESA-UK EPA includes the following annexes:

  • ESA member states’ exceptions on duties, export taxes, national treatment on internal taxation and regulation, addressing specific import price controls by Seychelles and the set of export taxes implemented by Zambia.
  • Development matrix, detailing key areas, objectives and illustrative activities used to guide activities of cooperation alongside the ESA Development Cooperation Strategy.

These annexes are followed by a protocol concerning the concept of ‘originating products’ and methods of administrative cooperation. This protocol follows a standard format across EPAs:

General provisions, concerning definitions

Definition of the concept of ‘originating products’, concerning the criteria to obtain originating status which include cumulation, wholly obtained products, sufficiently worked, insufficiently worked, unit of qualification, etc.

Territorial requirements, setting out the principle of territoriality, direct consignment, and exhibitions provisions.

Proof of origin, detailing the procedure for the issuance of a movement certificate, its retrospective and duplicative issuance, its issuance on the basis of a previously submitted proof of origin, conditions for making out an invoice declaration, the validity of proof of origin, submission of proof of origin, approved exporter status, etc.

Arrangements for administrative cooperation, largely concerning administrative conditions of parties and the mutual assistance, through competent customs administrations, in checking the authenticity and the correctness of information given in supporting documents.

Final provisions, containing final provisions of the protocol including amendments, tasks of the Special Committee on Customs Cooperation and Trade Facilitation, review, and annexes.

The annexes to the RoO protocol are very extensive and technical, setting out in detail the conditions, criteria and thresholds required for products to obtain originating status, or what fails products from obtaining it. The annexes also contain the templates for supporting administrative documents detailed in the protocol.

The protocol on mutual administrative assistance in customs matters follows directly the RoO protocol. This protocol legislates that parties assist each other in the areas within their competence, and under the conditions laid down in the protocol. The aim is to ensure the correct application of the customs law without prejudice to the rules governing mutual assistance in criminal matters. The protocol goes into much detail on the mechanisms of mutual administrative assistance in its various articles.

 

The EPA then concludes with the final act, stipulating the annexes, protocols and joint declarations that the parties adopt upon signing the agreement.

 

4.2.2. EPA Institutions

 

A Committee composed of the representatives of the parties is established in Article 61 of the ESA-UK EPA. This Committee is responsible for administrating all matters under the EPA, including development cooperation and for the fulfilment of any tasks mentioned in the EPA.

 

For more information about the EPA, please visit:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/summary-of-the-esa-uk-economic-partnership-agreement-epa
https://findrulesoforigin.org/en/home/agreement-detail?fta=966

 

4.3. Pacific-UK EPA [33]

 

4.3.1. Agreement Structure

 

In general, the EPA between Pacific States and the UK is structured into a main legal text agreement which contains all articles that regulate the terms of the agreement followed by supplementary protocols, annexes, appendices, sections, notes and templates for trade documents that elaborate on how the main text is to be implemented.

 

 

The main legal text of the EPA first sets out provisions on trade partnership for sustainable development.

Chapter 1 of the Pacific-UK EPA includes four articles governing the objectives and principles of the EPA, sustainable development, regional integration, and cooperation in the international fora.

The next part in the main EPA text contains articles on trade in goods. This part covers matters related to customs duties, trade defence measures, non-tariff measures, customs and trade facilitation, TBT and SPS measures, etc.

Trade in goods matters are followed by a part on dispute avoidance and settlement, which contains four chapters on objectives and scope, consultations and mediation, dispute settlement procedures, and general provisions. Some common provisions on mutually agreed solution, languages of submission, and code of conduct, etc. are provided as a section in the chapter on dispute settlement procedures.

The institutional provisions section in the Pacific-UK EPA contain a single article on a trade committee that is tasked with dealing with all matters necessary for the implementation of the agreement.

 

 

The main legal text then concludes with a section on general and final provisions. This section provides a collection of articles setting out implementation details, parties’ obligations, future negotiation, and interaction with other treaties and agreements.

The general and final provision section includes a provision stating that annexes and protocols form an integral part of the EPA. While the main text sets out the legal and regulatory scope and obligations of the EPA, the annexes and protocols provide technical details for effective EPA implementation.

The first annex of the EPA contains provisions on the customs duties of the UK on products originating in Pacific States. It provides that customs duties of the UK shall be entirely eliminated on all products of Chapters 1 to 97 of the HS, except Chapter 93, originating in a Pacific State upon the entry into force of the EPA. For products of Chapter 93, the UK shall continue to impose the applied MFN duties.

The next annex details the customs duties of partner states on products originating in the UK. This annex includes the schedules of tariff liberalisation of Fiji and Papua New Guinea, in which products excluded from tariff reduction commitments are indicated.

The Pacific-UK EPA contains these brief annexes following the customs duty tables:

  • TBT and SPS measures listing the priority products for export from the Pacific States to the UK.
  • TBT and SPS measures listing the priority products for trade among the Pacific States.
  • Joint statement of the parties to the interim EPA between the UK and the Pacific States.

These annexes are followed by a protocol concerning the concept of ‘originating products’ and methods of administrative cooperation. This protocol follows a standard format across EPAs:

General provisions, concerning definitions

Definition of the concept of ‘originating products’, concerning the criteria to obtain originating status which include cumulation, wholly obtained products, sufficiently worked, insufficiently worked, unit of qualification, etc.

Territorial requirements, setting out the principle of territoriality, direct consignment, and exhibitions provisions.

Proof of origin, detailing the procedure for the issuance of a movement certificate, its retrospective and duplicative issuance, its issuance on the basis of a previously submitted proof of origin, conditions for making out an invoice declaration, the validity of proof of origin, submission of proof of origin, approved exporter status, etc.

Arrangements for administrative cooperation, largely concerning administrative conditions of parties and the mutual assistance, through competent customs administrations, in checking the authenticity and the correctness of information given in supporting documents.

Final provisions, containing final provisions of the protocol including amendments, tasks of the Special Committee on Customs Cooperation and Trade Facilitation, review, and annexes.

The annexes to the RoO protocol are very extensive and technical, setting out in detail the conditions, criteria and thresholds required for products to obtain originating status, or what fails products from obtaining it. The annexes also contain the templates for supporting administrative documents detailed in the protocol.

The protocol on mutual administrative assistance in customs matters follows directly the RoO protocol. This protocol legislates that parties assist each other in the areas within their competence, and under the conditions laid down in the protocol. The aim is to ensure the correct application of the customs law without prejudice to the rules governing mutual assistance in criminal matters. The protocol goes into much detail on the mechanisms of mutual administrative assistance in its various articles.

The EPA then concludes with the final act, stipulating the annexes, protocols and joint declarations that the parties adopt upon signing the agreement.

 

 

4.3.2. EPA institutions

 

Article 68 of the Pacific-UK EPA establishes a Trade Committee composed of representatives of the Parties which deals with all matters necessary for the implementation of the Agreement.

 

For more information about the EPA, please visit:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/summary-of-the-uk-pacific-economic-partnership-agreement-epa
https://findrulesoforigin.org/en/home/agreement-detail?fta=974

 

4.4. SACUM-UK EPA [34]

 

4.4.1. Agreement structure

 

In general, the EPA between Southern African Customs Union Member States and Mozambique (SACUM) and the UK is structured into a main legal text agreement containing all articles that regulate the terms of the agreement followed by supplementary protocols, annexes, appendices, sections, notes and templates for trade documents that elaborate on how the main text is to be implemented.

 

 

The main legal text of the EPA first sets out provisions on sustainable development and other areas of cooperation. This part of the EPA is divided into chapters that clarify the agreement’s objectives and principles, trade and sustainable development, and areas of cooperation.

The next part in the main EPA text contains articles on trade and trade related matters. This part covers matters on trade in goods, which relate to customs duties, trade defence measures, non-tariff measures, customs and trade facilitation, agriculture, and TBT and SPS measures, etc. It also includes a Chapter on trade in services and investment, which is a placeholder for future liberalisation in these areas.

Trade and trade related matters are followed by a part on dispute avoidance and settlement. The EPA section on dispute avoidance and settlement contains chapters on objective and scope, consultations and mediation, dispute settlement procedures, and common provisions.

The SACUM-UK EPA particularly contains a section on exceptions that includes a general exception clause, security exceptions, and taxation. This part sets out the measures that parties can apply in the interest of domestic economic or social objectives on the condition that such measures do not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination among the parties where like conditions prevail, or a disguised restriction on international trade.

The SACUM-UK EPA dedicates a section to institutional provisions, which elaborates on the councils and committees need to be assembled, their composition and rules of procedures, and their decision-making powers and procedures.

 

 

The main legal text then concludes with a section on general and final provisions. This section provides a collection of articles setting out implementation details, parties’ obligations, future negotiation, and interaction with other treaties and agreements.

The general and final provision section includes a provision stating that annexes and protocols form an integral part of the EPA. While the main text sets out the legal and regulatory scope and obligations of the EPA, the annexes and protocols provide technical details for effective EPA implementation.

The first annex of the EPA contains provisions on the elimination of customs duties of the UK on products originating in SACUM states. As compared to other EPAs, the SACUM-UK EPA contains more detailed provisions on staging categories for UK customs duty elimination for products originating in SACUM states and also contains a section TRQs for specific goods. The customs duties schedule of the UK on products originating in SACUM states is then set out in a table in Annex 1 that states the product common nomenclature number (UK national tariff line), gives short text description of the products, lists the products’ sectoral classification, lists duties for indicative purposes, and details the staging category for South Africa and separate staging categories for other SACUM states.

The next annex details the customs duties of SACUM states on products originating in the UK. This annex also deviates from other ACP-UK EPAs by including specific sections on staging categories of elimination or reduction of customs duties, and TRQs for specific goods, followed by the customs duties schedules of SACUM states.

The Annexes following the SACUM-UK EPA schedules of customs include:

  • Agricultural safeguards, listing products and their reference quantities for imposing safeguards.
  • Transitional safeguards for Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho and Namibia listing the products eligible for imposing transitional safeguards in case UK imports cause or threaten to cause serious injury to these states.
  • SPS priority products and sectors, identifying priority products and sectors for SACUM cooperation on matters concerning SPS measures.
  • Commitments derived from the Cotonou Agreement as referenced in the EU-SADC EPA, containing many articles recalling, reaffirming, and recognising the commitments derived from the Cotonou Agreement. This Annex also provides for the incorporation of relevant obligations and principles of the Cotonou Agreement referred to in the EU-SADC EPA into the SACUM-UK EPA.

 

These annexes are followed by a protocol concerning the concept of ‘originating products’ and methods of administrative cooperation. This protocol follows a standard format across EPAs:

General provisions, concerning definitions

Definition of the concept of ‘originating products’, concerning the criteria to obtain originating status which include cumulation, wholly obtained products, sufficiently worked, insufficiently worked, unit of qualification, etc.

Territorial requirements, setting out the principle of territoriality, direct consignment, and exhibitions provisions.

Proof of origin, detailing the procedure for the issuance of a movement certificate, its retrospective and duplicative issuance, its issuance on the basis of a previously submitted proof of origin, conditions for making out an invoice declaration, the validity of proof of origin, submission of proof of origin, approved exporter status, etc.

Arrangements for administrative cooperation, largely concerning administrative conditions of parties and the mutual assistance, through competent customs administrations, in checking the authenticity and the correctness of information given in supporting documents.

Final provisions, containing final provisions of the protocol including amendments, tasks of the Special Committee on Customs Cooperation and Trade Facilitation, review, and annexes.

The annexes to the RoO protocol are very extensive and technical, setting out in detail the conditions, criteria and thresholds required for products to obtain originating status, or what fails products from obtaining it. The annexes also contain the templates for supporting administrative documents detailed in the protocol.

The protocol on mutual administrative assistance in customs matters follows directly the RoO protocol. This protocol legislates that parties assist each other in the areas within their competence, and under the conditions laid down in the protocol. The aim is to ensure the correct application of the customs law without prejudice to the rules governing mutual assistance in criminal matters. The protocol goes into much detail on the mechanisms of mutual administrative assistance in its various articles.

 

The SACUM-UK EPA contains an additional unique protocol addressing GIs and trade in wine and spirit, which focuses on promoting the development of indicators to identify a product as originating in the territory of a party where the given quality, reputation or other characteristic is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.

 

 

The SACUM-UK EPA GIs protocol includes a section on GIs, which includes articles on protection of established GIs, the right of use, enforcement of protection; trade in wine and spirit section covering articles on winemaking practices of GIs for import and marketing purposes as well as certification; and a section on general provisions. It also includes annexes and an appendix to an annex which details the GIs of South Africa and the UK as well as the importation and marketing practices of GI products.

The final unique protocol of the EPA is concerning the relationship between the Trade, Development & Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) and the SACUM-UK EPA, briefly recalling that the TDCA ceases to apply to the UK when it ceases to be a Member State of the EU.

The EPA then concludes with the final act, stipulating the annexes, protocols and joint declarations that the parties adopt upon signing the agreement.

 

4.4.2. EPA institutions

 

Article 100 of the SACUM-UK EPA establishes a Joint SACUM-UK Joint Council, which shall oversee and administer the implementation of the agreement. The Joint Council assumes similar functions as the ones assumed by the SADC-EU Joint Council. A Trade and Development Committee is also established by Article 103 of the EPA to support the Joint Council.

 

For more information about the EPA, please visit:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/summary-of-the-sacum-uk-economic-partnership-agreement-epa
https://findrulesoforigin.org/en/home/agreement-detail?fta=976

 

4.5. UK-Kenya EPA [35]

 

4.5.1. Agreement structure

 

In general, the EPA between the UK and Kenya is structured into a main legal text agreement containing all articles that regulate the terms of the agreement followed by supplementary protocols, annexes, appendices, sections, notes and templates for trade documents that elaborate on how the main text is to be implemented.

The main legal text of the EPA begins with several general provisions setting out the agreement’s scope, objectives, and principles. There is also one rendezvous clause which lists the areas parties undertake to conclude the negotiations within five years upon the entry into force of the EPA, e.g., trade in services and trade-related issues.

The next part in the main EPA text contains articles regulating trade in goods. This part covers various matters including customs duties and free movement of goods, non-tariff measures, customs cooperation and trade facilitation, TBT and SPS measures, and trade defence measures.

Trade in goods matters are followed by parts dedicated to fisheries and agriculture. The part on fisheries includes provisions on the principles of cooperation in fisheries, fisheries management and conservation issues, as well as vessel management and post-harvest arrangements. The part on agriculture elaborates on various issues such as enabling policies, sustainable agricultural development, food and nutrition security, value chain management, domestic policy measures, etc.

The UK-Kenya EPA particularly contains a rigorous chapter on economic and development cooperation, which reaffirms that development cooperation is a core element of the EPA. Economic and development cover a wide range of areas, including infrastructure, agriculture, private sector development, fisheries, water and environment, market access issues, EPA adjustment measures, and mobilisation of resources.

The agreement dedicates the next section to institutional provisions, which elaborates on the composition, mandates, and powers of EPA council and committees.

Institutional provisions are followed by a part on dispute avoidance and settlement, which contains two chapters on consultations, mediation, and arbitration procedure. Common provisions on mutually agreed solution, languages of submission, and code of conduct, etc. are provided as a separate chapter.

The next part of the agreement includes provisions on exceptions that includes a general exception clause, security exceptions, and taxation. This part sets out the measures that parties can apply in the interest of domestic economic or social objectives on the condition that such measures do not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination among the parties where like conditions prevail, or a disguised restriction on international trade.

The main legal text then concludes with a section on general and final provisions. This section provides a collection of articles setting out implementation details, parties’ obligations, future negotiation, and interaction with other treaties and agreements.

The general and final provision section includes a provision stating that annexes and protocols form an integral part of the EPA. While the main text sets out the legal and regulatory scope and obligations of the EPA, the annexes and protocols provide technical details for effective EPA implementation.

The first annex of the EPA contains provisions on the customs duties of the UK on products originating in Kenya and other EAC partner states that may later join the EPA. It provides that customs duties of the UK shall be entirely eliminated on all products of Chapters 1 to 97 of the HS, except Chapter 93, originating in an EAC partner state upon the entry into force of the EPA. For products of Chapter 93, the UK shall continue to impose the applied MFN duties. The importation of products of tariff heading 1701 originating in any EAC Partner State that is recognised by the United Nations as a least developed country shall remain subject to the provisions of Article 50 (Bilateral Safeguards).

The next annex details the customs duties applicable to products originating in the UK imported into the territory of Kenya or any other EAC partner state which may later join the EPA. Customs duties applicable to products originating in the UK imported into EAC may either be categorised in Annex II(a), which shall be eliminated upon the entry into force of the agreement, or in Annex II(b) and Annex II(c), which shall be progressively abolished in accordance with the schedules specified in this annex. Goods that are excluded from any of the regimes of tariff phase-down are listed in Annex II(d).

Unlike other UK-ACP EPAs, there is only one annex on the Joint Statement of the Parties on the objectives and essential and fundamental elements of this agreement that follows the UK-Kenya EPA’s schedules of customs duties:

These annexes are followed by a protocol concerning the concept of ‘originating products’ and methods of administrative cooperation. This protocol follows a standard format across EPAs:

General provisions, concerning definitions

Definition of the concept of ‘originating products’, concerning the criteria to obtain originating status which include cumulation, wholly obtained products, sufficiently worked, insufficiently worked, unit of qualification, etc.

Territorial requirements, setting out the principle of territoriality, direct consignment, and exhibitions provisions.

Proof of origin, detailing the procedure for the issuance of a movement certificate, its retrospective and duplicative issuance, its issuance on the basis of a previously submitted proof of origin, conditions for making out an invoice declaration, the validity of proof of origin, submission of proof of origin, approved exporter status, etc.

Arrangements for administrative cooperation, largely concerning administrative conditions of parties and the mutual assistance, through competent customs administrations, in checking the authenticity and the correctness of information given in supporting documents.

Final provisions, containing final provisions of the protocol including amendments, review, and annexes.

The annexes to the RoO protocol are very extensive and technical, setting out in detail the conditions, criteria and thresholds required for products to obtain originating status, or what fails products from obtaining it. The annexes also contain the templates for supporting administrative documents detailed in the protocol.

The protocol on mutual administrative assistance in customs matters follows directly the RoO protocol. This protocol legislates that parties assist each other in the areas within their competence, and under the conditions laid down in the protocol. The aim is to ensure the correct application of the customs law without prejudice to the rules governing mutual assistance in criminal matters. The protocol goes into much detail on the mechanisms of mutual administrative assistance in its various articles.

 

 

4.5.2. EPA institutions

 

Article 104 of the UK-Kenya EPA establishes a joint EPA Council, which shall oversee and administer the implementation of the agreement. A Committee of Senior Officials is also established by Article 106 of the EPA to support the Joint Council. Particularly, an EPA Consultative Committee is established by Article 108 with the task of assisting the Committee of Senior Officials to promote dialogue and cooperation between representatives of the private sector, organisations of civil society, and social and economic partners.

 

For more information about the EPA, please visit:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/continuing-the-uks-trade-relationship-with-kenya-parliamentary-report
https://findrulesoforigin.org/en/home/agreement-detail?fta=974

 

4.6. UK-Côte d'Ivoire Stepping Stone EPA [36]

 

4.6.1. Agreement structure

 

The stepping stone EPA between the UK and Côte d'Ivoire is concluded to create an initial framework for a comprehensive EPA. One of its objectives is to allow Côte d'Ivoire to benefit from the enhanced market access offered by the United Kingdom, pending the conclusion of a comprehensive EPA.

In general, the agreement is structured into a main legal text agreement containing articles that regulate the terms of the agreement followed by supplementary protocols and annexes that elaborate on how the main text is to be implemented.

The main legal text of the EPA begins with an article setting out the agreement objectives, followed by a part on partnership for development. This part affirms that the parties undertake to cooperate in order to implement this agreement and to help support Côte d'Ivoire in the achievement of the EPA objectives. The cooperation shall take both financial and non-financial forms, focusing on such areas as business environment, support for implementation, strengthening and modernising productive sectors, etc.

The next part in the main text contains articles regulating trade in goods. This part covers various matters including customs duties and non-tariff measures, trade defence instruments, customs regime and trade facilitation, and TBT and SPS measures.

Trade in goods matters are followed by a part on services, investments and rules concerning trade, which is designated as a placeholder for future liberalisation in these areas.

The EPA also contains a part on prevention and settlement of disputes, which contains four chapters on objectives and scope, consultations and mediation, dispute settlement procedures, and general provisions. Some common provisions on mutually agreed solution, languages of submission, and code of conduct, etc. are provided as a section in the chapter on dispute settlement procedures.

The next part of the agreement includes provisions on exceptions that includes a general exception clause, security exceptions, and taxation. This part sets out the measures that parties can apply in the interest of domestic economic or social objectives on the condition that such measures do not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination among the parties where like conditions prevail, or a disguised restriction on international trade.

The main legal text of the EPA concludes with a part which bundles together institutional, general and final provisions. The section on institutional arrangements details on the composition and mandates of the EPA council. The section on general and final provisions provides a selection of articles which set out implementation details, parties’ obligations, future negotiation, and interaction with other treaties and agreements.

The general and final provision section includes a provision stating that annexes and protocols form an integral part of the EPA. While the main text sets out the legal and regulatory scope and obligations of the EPA, the annexes and protocols provide technical details for effective EPA implementation.

The first annex of the EPA contains provisions on the customs duties of the UK on products originating in Côte d'Ivoire. It provides that customs duties of the UK shall be entirely eliminated on all products of Chapters 1 to 97 of the HS, except Chapter 93, originating in Côte d'Ivoire upon the entry into force of the EPA. For products of Chapter 93, the UK shall continue to impose the applied MFN duties. The importation of products of tariff heading 1701 originating in Côte d'Ivoire shall remain subject to the provisions of Article 25 (Bilateral Safeguard Measures).

The next annex sets out customs duties applicable to products originating in the UK imported into the territory of Côte d'Ivoire. Customs duties applicable to products originating in the UK imported into EAC may either be listed in different staging categories (Groups A, B and C). Goods that are excluded from any liberalisation are listed in Group D.

Similar to the UK-Kenya EPA, there is only one annex on the Joint Statement of the Parties relating to the objectives and essential and fundamental elements of the agreement that follows the UK- Côte d'Ivoire EPA’s schedules of customs duties:

These annexes are followed by a protocol concerning the concept of ‘originating products’ and methods of administrative cooperation. This protocol follows a standard format across EPAs:

General provisions, concerning definitions

Definition of the concept of ‘originating products’, concerning the criteria to obtain originating status which include cumulation, wholly obtained products, sufficiently worked, insufficiently worked, unit of qualification, etc.

Territorial requirements, setting out the principle of territoriality, direct consignment, and exhibitions provisions.

Proof of origin,detailing the procedure for the issuance of a movement certificate, its retrospective and duplicative issuance, its issuance on the basis of a previously submitted proof of origin, conditions for making out an invoice declaration, the validity of proof of origin, submission of proof of origin, approved exporter status, etc.

Arrangements for administrative cooperation, largely concerning administrative conditions of parties and the mutual assistance, through competent customs administrations, in checking the authenticity and the correctness of information given in supporting documents.

Final provisions, containing final provisions of the protocol including amendments, and annexes.

The annexes to the RoO protocol are very extensive and technical, setting out in detail the conditions, criteria and thresholds required for products to obtain originating status, or what fails products from obtaining it. The annexes also contain the templates for supporting administrative documents detailed in the protocol.

 

 

4.6.2. EPA institutions

 

Article 73 of the UK- Côte d'Ivoire stepping stone EPA establishes a joint EPA Committee, which shall be responsible for the administration of all the fields covered by this agreement and for the achievement of all the tasks mentioned in this agreement.

 

For more information about the EPA, please visit:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/continuing-the-uks-trade-relationship-with-cote-divoire-parliamentary-report
https://findrulesoforigin.org/en/home/agreement-detail?fta=1065

 

4.7. UK-Cameroon EPA [37]

 

The UK has secured an EPA with Cameroon to roll over current EU-Cameroon trading arrangements from 1 January 2021. While the EPA has yet to come into effect, both parties have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to ensure the mutual continuity of trade and maintain the effects of the EU-Central Africa EPA, until the UK-Cameroon EPA can enter into effect [38] . The UK-Cameroon EPA has been subsequently signed on 9th March 2021, but the text is not yet released.

The MoU includes provisions on trade in goods, which cover preferential tariffs, customs cooperation, and RoO; TBT and SPS measures; and trade remedy measures. The UK commits to providing immediate duty-free, quota-free access to goods exported from Cameroon. In exchange, Cameroon commits to gradually liberalise tariffs applied to goods exported from the UK. Similar to other UK-ACP EPAs, some domestically sensitive products in Cameroon are excluded from tariff liberalisation.

In terms of tariffs, preferential tariff rates for bilateral trade between the UK and Cameroon continue to apply. Commitments on tariffs for both the UK and Cameroon have been replicated from the EU-Central Africa EPA without changes.

In terms of RoO, arrangements on RoO for both the UK and Cameroon substantively replicate the existing arrangements which apply to trade between Cameroon and the EU.

Further details on the UK-Cameroon EPA will be published as soon as possible.

 

For more information about the EPA, please visit:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/summary-of-the-uk-cameroon-economic-partnership-agreement
https://findrulesoforigin.org/en/home/agreement-detail?fta=1079

 

4.8. UK-Ghana Trade Partnership Agreement [39]

 

The UK and Ghana finalised negotiations on a new Interim Trade Partnership Agreement on 4th February 2021. The agreement was signed by both parties on 2nd March 2021 and entered into effect on 5th March 2021 following the completion of relevant internal procedures required in both Ghana and the UK.

This agreement provides for duty-free, quota-free access for Ghana’s exports to the UK market, and preferential tariff reductions for UK exports to the Ghanaian market.

Further details on the UK-Ghana Trade Partnership Agreement will be published as soon as possible.

 

 

 
 

Test your knowledge on EPAs!


How well do you know EPAs? Are you EPA novice, EPA fan or EPA expert? Take this 5-minute quiz and find out!

 

Not ready for this quiz? Then brush up your knowledge by reading our simple EPA guide and get the maximum score! Start with Chapter 1. Introduction.

 

Question 1

Level: Easy

The Caribbean
Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA)
Southern African Development Community (SADC)
Central Africa
West Africa
East African Community
North Africa
Pacific Islands
 

Question 2

Level: Easy

True
False
 

Question 3

Level: Medium

True
False
 

Question 4

Level: Medium

Asymmetric tariff liberalisation of cross-border trade
Flexible rules of origin
Support of development objectives including through bilateral safeguards option
Duty-free quota-free access to the EU and UK markets
Prevention of ACP states from entering into regional trade integration agreements
 

Question 5

Level: Medium

True
False
 

Question 6

Level: Easy

Trade in goods
Trade in services
Trade-related issues
 

Question 7

Level: Easy

True
False
 

Question 8

Level: Easy

Reactive strategy
Proactive strategy
Both of the above strategies
 

Question 9

Level: Medium

Trade in services
Customs and trade facilitation
Outstanding trade and market access issues
TBT and SPS measures
All of the above
 

Question 10

Level: Medium

Participate in consultations
Make and change laws and regulations
Provide capacity building for exporters
Collect data and exchange information about EPAs
Monitor EPA implementation
 

Question 11

Level: Medium

Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) - UK EPA
SACU and Mozambique (SACUM) - UK EPA
CARIFORUM-UK EPA
Pacific States - UK EPA
 

Question 12

Level: Expert

Protocol on Rules of Origin
Protocol on Cultural Cooperation
Protocol on Geographical Indications
Protocol on Technical Barriers to Trade
 

You answered out of questions correctly!