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. Free trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement provide for duty-free trade in goods and services between nations and the removal of other trade barriers. Economic partnership agreements contain the same provisions as a free trade agreement, but go beyond free trade agreements. In addition to free trade, the EPAs provide for the free movement of people and include provisions relating to public procurement, international competition and cooperation, customs procedures and international dispute resolution. European Union Delegation to Japan:eeas.europa.eu/delegations/japan/56981/eu-japan-economic-partnership-agreement-epa_en Read more about exporting European food and beverages to Japan under our EPA tax trade agreement? Opponents of economic partnership agreements argue that agreements can benefit more developed countries than their less developed partners. Stronger economies may be more likely to exploit their weaker partners, leading to unequal benefits. In the view odi.org, economic partnership agreements must provide for reciprocity in order to be taken into account under World Trade Organization rules. This means that any action taken in favour of a given economy must be replicated by that economy, which in theory brings equal benefits for each country. Taxation and Customs:ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/business/international-affairs/international-customs-cooperation-mutual-administrative-assistance-agreements/japan_en THE EU`s trade relations with ACP countries are governed by the Cotonou Partnership Agreement signed in 2000 between the EU, its Member States and the ACP countries. As this political, economic and global development partnership expires in 2020, the parties are currently negotiating a successor agreement (the “post-Cotonou”).
The Economic Partnership Agreements are a system for creating a free trade area between the European Union and the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP). This is a response to persistent criticism that the EU`s proposed non-reciprocal and discriminatory preferential trade agreements are incompatible with WTO rules. The EPAs date back to the signing of the Cotonou Agreement. EPAs with different regions are in different playing conditions. In 2016, the EPAs were to be signed with three regional economic communities in Africa (East African Community, Economic Community of West African States and Southern African Development Community), but these faced challenges.  About the agreement:ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/in-focus/eu-japan-economic-partnership-agreement/ The Cotonou Agreement offers the EU and ACP countries the opportunity to negotiate development-oriented free trade agreements, known as economic partnership agreements (EPAs).