The decision by the EU to remove trade preferences for countries that have not signed or ratified the Economic Partnership Agreements by 1 October 2014 is creating tension. Patricia Michelle Lenaghan raises the question whether the decision of Nigeria not to sign an EPA can ultimately lead to a transformation of the transnational governance of the global economy. Attendance is open to the public and free of charge.
African governments in particular have become caught between a rock and a hard place due to the EU's decision. On the one hand they fear losing their preferential market access and on the other hand longer-term development and regional integration prospects may be negatively affected if they do indeed sign the EPAs. They are not alone in their concerns. This tension confirms that although trade and investment agreements are essential for development, unequal trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties, which disallow the very policies developing countries need in order to deliver social goods and regional integration are problematic. The vote of Nigeria not to proceed with the signing of an EPA raises the possibility that their resistance can allow for the continued development of a ‘modern prince’ aimed at transforming the transnational governance of the global economy.
Patricia Michelle Lenaghan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mercantile Law at the University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa. As an Erasmus Mundus scholarship she has been a visiting researcher with the Department of International and European Public Law since April 2014. Her present areas of research are broadly related to the impact of trade and globalisation on the developing world and in particular the impact of the Economic Partnership Agreements on regional integration within Africa.
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