Special and Differential Treatment in CARIFORUM-EC EPA Services Negotiations

January 2005 to December 2005

The Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA), signed in 2000 and ratified in 2003 by a sufficient number of states, allows for the negotiation of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the European Union (EU) and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries in the area of services. One current concern is how SDT can be applied to CARIFORUM producers in the context of EPAs.

The Caribbean region is currently involved in several levels of negotiations on services :

  • CSME – the Caribbean Single Market and Economy which include a negative list on services (i.e. it has a list of restrictions which member states will remove according to a fixed scheduled until 2005).

  • FTAA – Free Trade Area of the Americas which includes a draft chapter on services.

  • Bilateral negotiations such as Caricom-Costa Rica/Canada.

  • GATS 2000 which is part of the Doha single undertaking.

  • CARIFORUM-EC EPA negotiations until end of 2008.

Some parts of the Caribbean may need further time for preparation to assess the best available options in each of these levels of negotiation, particularly in relation to EPA negotiations. An improved understanding of the key issues is required urgently.

The ODI conducted a scoping study on SDT in Cotonou Services Negotiations and identified 10 options for applying SDT. It argued that more detailed work at regional level is required to understand more fully the benefits and costs of possible services negotiations under EPAs and the role of SDT in this.

The principle objective of the current study is to assess the costs and benefits of SDT options in possible EPA negotiations on services in the CARIFORUM-EC context. The study will focus predominantly on key sectors in representative Caribbean countries. Sectors of key importance to the Caribbean (and mentioned in the CPA) include: Tourism; Financial services; Education; Mode IV; ICT; Cultural services. The study will focus on key sectors in three representative countries, with varying levels of development: Barbados; St Lucia; and Suriname.