WTO Doha Round and EPAs in an era of crisis: salvation or suicide for ACP countries?

03 November 2009
03 November 2009


Dot Keet, Ignacio Iruarrizaga Díez

Debate panel
Ms. Dot Keet is originally from Zimbabwe and has worked as a researcher and lecturer in African political economy. She is currently a Research Associate of the Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC) in Cape Town, South Africa and a Transnational Institute Fellow on the Alternative Regionalisms programme.

Mr. Ignacio Iruarrizaga Díez is Deputy Head of the Services and Investment Unit of DG Trade, European Commission. The unit is responsible for the negotiation of trade agreements on services and investment and it handles the multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations in those areas.

Liberalisation and deregulation of services are directly implicated in the global financial and economic crisis.

WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy, in a speech to the Global Services Summit on 14 October 2009 in Washington D.C., said: “to speed global economic recovery, we will need to shore up peoples’ faith in an open international trading system. We will need to demonstrate that continued policy and regulatory reform in favour of services trade will be vital to supporting economic recovery”.

In parallel to WTO negotiations, the EU has continued the negotiations to conclude Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP), a key chapter of which is on services liberalisation, including financial services.

In the context of the upcoming Doha Round of WTO Negotiations in Geneva (28 November-2 December 2009) and the ongoing Economic Partnership Agreements negotiations, this debate will present different views on what policy measures are needed in response to the global economic crisis in order to address the developmental needs of the people of the ACP countries.

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