Brussels, 3 December 2010 - EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht will attend the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday. He will take part in a discussion on Economic Partnership Agreements, the EU’s main trade and development instrument for the African Caribbean and Pacific region.

"The current stalemate cannot go on forever", said Commissioner De Gucht. "For the benefit of all the partners in this process, it is time we brought the trade and development talks to a successful conclusion. I would like to inject fresh momentum to close deals wherever possible and to instil a new dynamism into the whole process."

The Africa Caribbean Pacific (ACP) - European Union Joint Parliamentary Assembly is taking place in Kinshasa with a debate on the state of play of Economic Partnership Agreements planned for the 4th December.

Read the speech  by Commissioner De Gucht
Listen  to the intervention of Commissioner De Gucht on EU-ACPs Economic Partnership Agreements - Courtesy by Radio France Internationale


EU – ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA)

The JPA is one of the joint ACP-EU institutions (along with the Joint Council of Ministers and the Committee of Ambassadors) created by the Cotonou Agreement. It is composed of Members of the European Parliament and of ACP national Parliaments.

As a consultative body, its role is to promote democratic processes through dialogue and consultation; facilitate greater understanding between the peoples of the European Union and those of the ACP States and raise public awareness of development issues; discuss issues pertaining to development and the ACP-EU Partnership; adopt resolutions and make recommendations to the Council of Ministers with a view to achieving the objectives of this Agreement.

It meets twice a year in plenary session, alternately in the European Union and in an ACP State.

Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs)

EPAs are trade and development partnerships being negotiated between the EU and the 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries (+ South Africa) and regions. They aim at creating a shared trade and development partnership backed up by development support which will, through gradual and controlled liberalisation of trade in goods over a reasonable period of time, and a set of rules on sectors such as services and investment, contribute to development, growth and job creation.

The EU is in talks with six ACP regions: West Africa, Central Africa, the Eastern Africa Community, Eastern and Southern Africa, the Southern African Development Community EPA Group, and the Pacific. The Caribbean is the only region which has signed a regional comprehensive EPA to date and has moved on to the implementation phase.

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