Trade plays a crucial role in supporting economic growth in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. Aid for trade is among the priorities of EU cooperation with the region as a whole as a means of better integrating ACP countries both among themselves and into the world economy.
The EU promotes trade in and with ACP countries by supporting capacity building for trade policy formulation and negotiation, regulation and development.
In the revised Cotonou Agreement, the EU and ACP countries defined a new trade relationship reaffirming the role of the Economic Partnership Agreements to boost economic development and integration into the world economy.
Numerous initiatives are underway to deliver on these objectives. Support is provided to help countries participate in international trade negotiations and standard-setting bodies and access international markets by meeting sanitary, phytosanitary and technical norms and standards.
Earlier activities in this field have already triggered positive results: the capacity of individual countries to identify and design trade development programmes has been strengthened, and trade issues are now increasingly mainstreamed into national development strategies.
Programmes and projects
- ACP MTS Programme
- Programme in the field of Technical Barriers to Trade
- Standards and Trade Development Facility
- Consolidation of the Action Framework for the EU-Africa Partnership on Cotton
- Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT)
All-ACP agricultural commodities programme (AAACP)
- enhance farmers' productivity and competitiveness;
- increase returns on labour;
- reduce income fluctuations;
- open up new market opportunities;
- facilitate the use of market-based risk management instruments.
- Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) of the African Agriculture Fund (AAF)
- Pesticides Initiative Programme (PIP) – Second Phase of the Quality and Conformity Fruits and Vegetables Programme
- Strengthening Food Safety Systems through Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (EDES)
This programme focuses on integrating ACP countries into the multilateral trading system. Its assists them in developing their negotiating capacities, implementing multilateral trade agreements and integrating trade into their overall development process.
The programme will be launched in 2013 and aims at strengthening the capacity of ACP countries to tackle Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) in external markets. The programme will also help ACP countries define and enforce legitimate and adequately harmonised technical regulations in internal markets.
The EU contributes to this global partnership by supporting developing countries in building capacity to implement international sanitary and phytosanitary standards, guidelines and recommendations as a means to improve human, animal and plant health and improve market access.
The partnership, established to address the consequences of the decrease in cotton prices since the 1990’s, has two aspects: a ‘development’ and a ‘trade’ component. The latter aims at establishing more equitable trade within the Doha Development Round.
The EU contributes to the Action Framework of the partnership to the benefit of cotton producers associations, ministries concerned with the sector, professional associations, and regional economic organisations.
The objective of the project is to improve governance in the forestry sector, contributing to poverty reduction and sustainable management of forestry resources. In its framework, the FLEGT Action Plan sets out actions to prevent the import of illegal wood into the EU, to improve the supply of legal timber and to increase demand for wood coming from responsibly managed forests.
To improve incomes and livelihoods for ACP producers of traditional or other agricultural commodities and reduce income vulnerability, the programme aims to:
The facility was set up to enable small businesses, small-scale farmers, farmers’ organisations and cooperatives to benefit from the investment windows of the AAF by providing grant funding.
The first phase of the programme helped ACP countries comply with European regulations on pesticides for fruit and vegetables. Despite the progress made, these countries are still at risk of losing market shares because of international competition and more stringent demands for market access. The second phase of the programme therefore strives to take this process further.
The EU-funded EDES programme helps small producer organisations in ACP countries produce safe food for local, regional and international consumers.