Cotton ready for export in Peru. Small cotton producers are negatively affected by regional trade agreements. Credit: Renato Guimarães/Oxfam
Europe is choosing power politics over partnership.

EPAs: Partnership or power play?

Europe is negotiating new trade deals, called "Economic Partnership Agreements" (EPAs) with African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries. A true partnership in trade could radically transform the lives of one-third of all people living in poverty, providing farmers and small businesses with sustainable incomes and workers with decent jobs. But Europe is choosing power politics over partnership.

Oxfam recommends:

  • A thorough independent evaluation of what has been initialled before any deal is signed
  • Adaptation of existing EU preference schemes to ensure that no ACP country is left worse off if it doesn’t conclude an EPA
  • Renegotiation of problematic aspects of the initialled deals
  • ACP countries decide whether to negotiate on services, investment and other trade-related issues
  • Additional support from the EU to tackle infrastructure and competitiveness constraints in the ACP
  • ACP countries take stock within their regional blocs, fully consulting all affected parties including workers, producers and businesses.

Read the report: Partnership or Power Play? How Europe should bring development into its trade deals with African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries

Read the press release:  Oxfam: rethink unfair EU trade deals before it’s too late