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Posted on: December 12, 2016


The 14th Meeting of the ACP-EU Joint Ministerial Trade Committee (ACP-EU JMTC) took place at Charlemagne Building in Brussels, on Friday 9 December 2016. The mandate of the ACP-EU JMTC is to address any trade related issue of concern or interest to the ACP States including the monitoring of EPAs. 


In order to prepare for the ACP-EU JMTC, a meeting of the ACP Senior Officials responsible for trade matters, was held on 5 – 6 December 2016 in the ACP House in Brussels. Their report was considered and agreed by the 19th ACP Ministerial Trade Committee (ACP MTC) on 7 – 8 December 2016 and presented at the ACP-EU JMTC.

The agenda of the 19th ACP MTC was built to first provide a state of play and steps of the EPAs in particular on the ratification of the completed negotiations and the implementation of the agreements reached including a discussion of the support required to ensure that EPAs derive the expected benefits for the ACP parties.

Key points in the agenda were:

  • the ACP-EU Trade regime issues (such as Brexit, Non-Tariff Measures, Commodities, Fisheries, EU negotiations with third parties);
  • the Digital Economy and its great potential in creating new opportunities, empowering women and youth and traditionally disadvantaged communities;
  • the discussion on a preliminary strategy for ACP Group’s participation at the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference (WTO MC11);
  • the state of play of Tripartite and Continental Free Trade Areas.
  • the understanding of the Pan-EU list of non-cooperative tax jurisdiction (the new EU listing process to identify and address third country jurisdictions that fail to comply with tax good governance standards)

The 19th ACP MTC was also the occasion for the The Ministers to be updated on the on-going ACP-EU trade related capacity building programmes, including the TradeCom II Programme (in the person of the Team Leader Mr. Ahmed Ndyeshobola) and the Hub and Spokes Programme.


The 19th ACP MTC provided also the opportunity to have an open discussion with the UK Ambassador, Mr. Angus Lispsley on a very relevant subject: BREXIT. The Chairman, Mr. Mike Bimha (Minister of Industry & Commerce of Zimbabwe) claimed that in the light of recent developments on BREXIT, two questions need to be tackled: what will be the impact of Brexit on the relationship between EU and ACP Group and how this impact can be mitigate. Mr. Lispsley reassured that, as long as UK will be a member of EU, UK will maintain all commitments with all the partners around the world in the framework of the EU common commercial policy.

UK will continue to consider ACP Countries as partners with a great potential to grow and generate jobs, inclusive and sustainable growth in future and will try to replicate the substance and content of the existing EU agreements but on UK to third countries basis.


The 19th ACP MTC hosted the special launch of the E15 Initiative in Brussels. Mr. Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz, Chief Executive Officer of the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and his team of Experts, provided an overview of the E15 Report launched at Davos, Switzerland, whilst highlighting options relevant to the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) and the global trade and investment system. The presentation of ICTSD Experts (Mr. Darlington MWAPE, Ms. Isabelle RAMDOO, Mr. Bernard HOEKMAN and Mr. Pedro Roffe) focused on the topics of regional trade agreements, regulatory coherence, finance and development, innovation, and digital trade among others.


The 14th ACP-EU JMTC brought together ACP Ministers responsible for trade issues, Heads of ACP regional integration organizations, the Africa Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry, the selected focal points of the ACP Ambassadors in Geneva, Ms. Cecilia MALMSTRÖM (EC Trade Commissioner) and Mr. Neven MIMICA, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development.

The EC provided information on further developments in its bilateral FTA negotiations with a number of countries and regions, including with the United States under the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), with Canada under the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), on the negotiations of the multilateral Trade in Services Agreement and Environmental Goods Agreement and, together with the ACP Group representatives, debated on how ACP States can be affected by these new agreements.

Programme funded by European Union at the request of ACP Group - Implemented by AESA CONSORTIUM