Article from ROAPE Volume 34 Number 111
Future of Africa's Trade with Europe: ‘New’ EU Trade Policy

The Future of Africa's Trade with Europe: ‘New’ EU Trade Policy
Vol.34 No.111 (March 2007), pp139-151
Trade with Europe is currently more important for the African continent, and nearly every single country in it, than any other international economic links. Africa's future trade relationship with the European Union (EU) is now being decided in negotiations which are provoking intense debate, and to understand what is at issue it is necessary to locate these negotiations in the context of the EU's wider trade policy. This policy was recently reiterated in a more coherent and focused form in the European Commission's (EC's) October 2006 proposal for a new trade strategy. This paper seeks to review the main elements of this ‘new’ strategy before looking at how it impacts on the EU's approach to the negotiations for ‘Economic Partnership Agreements’ (EPAs) with four groupings of African countries.1 It closes by reviewing what this will probably mean for the Africa-EU trade relationship in the future in the context of the major trends in the current processes of negotiations.