Designing a Monitoring Instrument for Economic Partnership Agreements: Methodological issues

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UNU Insitute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies
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UNU-CRIS Working Papers
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The African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states and the European Union (EU) countries haveagreed to negotiate new WTO-compatible Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) that should not be an end in itself, but be first and foremost instruments for development, as provided for by the Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA). While these new free trade arrangements offer new development opportunities, they also create serious challenges to the ACP. To ensure that the development dimension of EPAs is fulfilled, it is therefore of prime importance to closely monitor both the negotiation and implementation of these new partnership agreements. A monitoring instrument for EPA negotiations and implementation has been suggested by many actors in both the ACP and the EU, with the aim of assessing the progress of EPAs against the goals set out in the CPA and the development objectives of the ACP countries and regions. The purpose of this Study is to provide an overview and assessment of the methodological issues encountered in the design of a monitoring instrument for EPAs. A sound and transparent methodology is required for a monitoring exercise related to the wide range of complex issues and processes surrounding the EPA negotiations and implementation. The analysis presented here aims at informing the policy debate and helping increase the understanding by the different participants in the negotiations, as well as clarifying the choice of alternative options that ACP and EU countries may have, for the establishment of an EPA monitoring instrument. Since the monitoring exercise should enhance transparency and provide the basis for informed decisions within the EPA process, this Study should help interested ACP and EU stakeholders in identifying actions needed in order to timely develop their own position on the possible establishment of an EPA monitoring instrument...