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The European Union's Economic Partnership Agreements with Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries: A Case of Market Power Europe?

James Nyomakwa-Obimpeh

Since 2002, the European Union (EU) has been engaged in negotiating new reciprocal regional Free Trade Area (FTA) agreements with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries in a framework of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). This paper uses qualitative methodology to assess the extent to which negotiations of EPAs by the European Union with the ACP regional blocs are compatible with Market Power Europe thesis and how trading engagements of the EU is perceived by African countries. The paper argues that the nature and content of EU’s EPA with the ACP countries is consistent with the MPE concept. This concept posits that EU’s single market, its enormous regulatory and institutional regime and its interest’s contestation arena are characteristics that enable the Union to engage in conscious and unconscious ‘externalisation’ of its internal market-related and social policies and regulations. The paper begins with a discussion on the global roles of the EU and proceeds with explanation of the Market Power Europe (MPE). Prior to conclusion, the paper evaluates the EPA negotiations on the basis of MPE and gives theoretical contribution to the MPE concept.

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