Following the Doha negotiations in November 2001, WTO members signed a waiver for the extension of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA) which allowed the Cotonou trade regime to be extended if it became WTO-compatible, i.e. a free trade area (FTA). Negotiations are expected to be concluded by December 2007. Successful negotiations between the EU and 15 Caribbean Cariforum countries have resulted in an agreement (EU CEPOL) that provided for the removal of barriers to trade in services and trade in goods. This “deep” agreement reflected a favourable balance in the trade-off between the benefits (internalization of training) and the costs (far from the preferred national policies of members) of a deep regional agreement, as it led to the transfer of national sovereignty to regional negotiating teams. But after five years of the agreement, only six members had ratified it and only two had begun to lower tariffs. The reasons given for these delays are difficulties in meeting the necessary regulatory and policy changes, lack of financial resources and lack of technical assistance (South Centre, 2013). Further delays were made as a result of the EU`s call for the mutual recognition agreements necessary for the integration of service markets to be first implemented at the Cariforum level. A more precise description of the liberalisation in question should specify the steps according to the number of years following the year the final agreement was signed (which, given the deadline of 1 October 2014 2014, will be 2014) and the corresponding amounts should be based on the 2014 data. Since August 2014, an agreement has been reached on the MFN clause and the rules of origin for the EPA-EU. With regard to export taxes, the EAC intends to retain its power to set tariffs without obtaining EU authorisation. With regard to subsidies, EAC members stressed that the EPA must include a provision that limits or excludes ABCAs as a destination for subsidised EU agricultural exports.
Finally, the ABC has reservations about the inclusion of a non-enforcement clause authorizing the suspension of the agreement in the event of a proven violation of human rights. But until the deadline expired, only Rwanda and Kenya had signed the agreement. With the exception of CEPOL between CA and the EU, which was established in 2007, all other IEPA negotiations focused on trade in goods with a lot of negotiating energy, in order to establish the exclusion list in order to achieve the 80% of duty-free imports from the EU, and the corresponding timetable, in order to achieve this objective. In the end, IEPA failed to negotiate a “comprehensive” mutual free trade agreement, with only 80% of imports from the EU expected to eventually reduce tariffs to zero. It is therefore interesting to have an idea of what has been negotiated, unlike a comprehensive and reciprocal free trade agreement, in which all tariffs on EU imports have been set at zero and what has been done within the framework of a deep agreement, including barriers to trade in services. At the previous EAC Heads of State and Government Summit in Dar es Salaam, EAC Heads of State and Government requested additional time to resolve some of the contentious issues raised by partner countries before considering signing the agreement as a bloc. Considering that all the countries in the region, at a standstill, with the first country, are among the least developed countries, access to the EU market is already guaranteed without the agreement by the “Everything but Arms” regime.