6 June 2019

Africa: ACP-EU Partnership - Group of 79 Insists On Long-Term Trade Relations

These among other preoccupations were tabled in Brussels during two important Ministerial sessions which ran from the 20th to the 24th of May 2019.

The African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of states has recognised the importance of maintaining long-term trade relations with the European Union (EU) on the one hand, and with the United Kingdom (UK) on the other hand, which are beneficial to all stakeholders. However, as the Brexit process unfolds, member states of the ACP Group have expressed deep concern by the uncertainty of the future of trade deal between the UK and the EU which adversely affects conditions for ACP exporters' access to both markets. Consequently, the group of 79 (ACP), has invited the EU and the UK to consider ACP priorities in their negotiations for UK's withdrawal from the EU, which will ensure the continuity of trade flows and the value of preferences, to ensure continued triangular supply chains.

These among other preoccupations were tabled in Brussels during two important Ministerial sessions which ran from the 20th to the 24th of May 2019. Firstly, it was the 109th Session of Ministers of the ACP States from 20-22/05/2019. This was followed by the 44th joint session of the council of Ministers of the ACP and EU. Prominent on the agenda was the continuation of negotiations for the post-Cotonou Partnership Agreement, before the expiration of the current one in 2020.

While addressing the 109th session, H.E. Dr. Patrick Ignatius Gomes, Secretary General of the ACP disclosed that although substantial progress has been made at the level of negotiations, it was not certain that by February 29, 2020, terminal date of the Cotonou Agreement, a negotiated text will not be ready for signature by the 79 member states. He said in keeping with Cotonou Agreement, there was need to adopt a decision on transitional measures until a new agreement enters into force.

Based on this point, a resolution was adopted delegating the Committee of Ambassadors to put in place measures to avoid any legal vacuum in the ACP-EU relations in case the new partnership is not ready to be applied by February 29, 2020. Cameroon's delegation was headed by the Ambassador to Belgium and the EU, Daniel Evina Abe'e. The 110th Session of the Council of Ministers comes up at the end of the year and new Secretary General and four Assistants will be appointed. The Post of the next Scribe of the ACP Group will go to Southern Africa.

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