On 8th June 2017, Yentyl Williams, Founder and President of ACP YPN presented her new book chapter, “Labour standards in the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs): Weakening or strengthening the EU-ACP Cotonou provisions?” at the SOLIDAR Progressive Lab for Sustainable Development in the European Parliament. A copy of the book is available here.
Abstract: Although the trade-labour nexus has received a lot of attention, the literature on the newer Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states concluded between 2014-2016 is still in its infancy. This article contributes to this literature by providing an analysis of the most recent EPAs with three African regions: the East African Community (EAC) in 2014, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in 2014 and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in 2016. The empirical investigation based on analyses of the legal texts and participatory observation in EU-ACP stakeholder meetings shows that there is clear evidence of ACP exceptionalism in the EPAs, especially vis-à-vis labour provisions. Despite the weaker trade-labour nexus in the newer agreements, the upcoming negotiations of a post-Cotonou Agreement and the existing UN Agenda 2030 framework both provide opportunities to bring labour provisions back to the table.
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