The conclusion date for these negotiations follows the EU deadline of 1 October 2014, when Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland would have lost preferential access to the EU market for their exports. The initialisation of the EPA ensures that there will be no interruption of trade and market access for our exports to the EU market before the agreement comes into force. Because of the WTO`s persistent incompatibility with previous agreements, the main feature of EPAs is their reciprocity and non-discriminatory nature. These include the phasing out of all trade preferences introduced between the EU and ACP countries since 1975 and the phasing out of trade barriers between partners. To meet the test for a non-discriminatory agreement, EPAs are open to all developing countries, thus ending the ACP group as the EU`s main development partner. Improved merchandise trade opportunities: The EPA guarantees access to the EU market without tariffs or quotas for Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini. South Africa enjoys new market access under the EU-South Africa Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA), which currently governs trade relations with the EU until October 2016 (when the EPA came into force on an interim basis, which lifted the trade component of the TDCA). The new access includes better trading conditions, particularly in agriculture and fishing, including wine, sugar, fish products, flowers and fruit preserves. The EU will benefit from new valid access to the southern African customs union (whose products include wheat, barley, cheese, meat products and butter) and will have the security of a bilateral agreement with Mozambique, one of the region`s LDCs. The EPAs are based on the 2000 Cotonou Agreement. The provisions of the Cotonou Agreement on human rights, sustainable development and dialogue, including parliaments and civil society, remain in force.
That is why the EPA offers one of the most comprehensive human rights and sustainable development protections available in EU agreements. The creation of a reciprocal trade agreement puts the EU at the forefront of how to reconcile the ACP Group`s special status with the EU`s WTO commitments. The near-solution solution to this dilemma is an agreement that is reciprocal only in the way necessary to meet wto criteria. In reality, ACP countries will have some leeway and maintain limited protection of their key products. The extent to which trade should be liberalised under the new EPAs remains a highly controversial issue and it remains to be seen whether the WTO provisions governing regional trade agreements will be revised at the end of the Doha Round in favour of the EPA system. How is SADC EPA a development-oriented agreement? Article 2 of the APE CDAA recalls that the agreement is based on the principles of respect for human rights, the rule of law and democracy.