South Africa is participating in the 107th Session of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP) Council of Ministers and the 43rd Session of the ACP-European Union Joint Council of Ministers, which is underway in Lome, Togo.
On the agenda is the Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA), which makes provision for duty-free, quota-free trade for member states into the EU, which expires in 2020.
ACP developing countries and the EU signed the partnership agreement, dubbed the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, in Cotonou, Benin, on 23 June 2000 for a 20-year period from 2000 to 2020.
The agreement governs trade and political relations but also cooperation between the EU and 79 ACP countries.
The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Luwellyn Landers, is leading the South African delegation for the talks, which will end on Friday. In the discussions, parties will seek to review the partnership and how the global south stands to benefit further.
South Africa became a qualified member of the agreement between ACP member countries and the European Union in November 1995, and consequently also became a member of the ACP Group through this action.
South Africa’s trade with the EU has taken place in accordance with the provisions of the bilateral Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) between South Africa and the EU and more recently in accordance with the Southern African Development Community-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (SADC-EU EPA).
The decision to join the ACP Group was based on historical and political considerations, and was a manifestation of South Africa's commitment to South-South solidarity and a desire to use this platform to advance the developmental interests of the Group and the broader South.
In preparation for 2020, the ACP has undertaken a process of reviewing its performance over the last 40 years and reflecting on how the ACP could restructure the organisation to respond to the current global environment and also developing its negotiating memoranda for a new successor framework agreement to the CPA.
Through ACP processes, all three regions - Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific -- have embarked on regional and continental discussions aimed at formulating their positions in preparation for the negotiations on the finalisation of a successor agreement to the CPA. – SAnews.gov.za