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Published: 31-03-2011, 14:17

African Caribbean Pacific–European Union (ACP-EU) partnership agreements

African Caribbean Pacific–European Union (ACP-EU) partnership agreements: The Yaounde Conventions

African Caribbean Pacific–European Union (ACP-EU) partnership agreements: From Yaounde to the ACP

The trade and development relationship between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries has been shaped by a number of formal treaties and agreements since the end of World War II. The aim of these agreements has been to promote, with EU participation, opportunities for growth and development among the ACP countries by both direct and indirect policy measures. The more direct methods have included development funds, investment loans, and compensatory payments, while indirect methods have centered on trading arrangements and protocols that favor exports fromACPcountries in a bid to generate growth.Underpinning these specific aspects, though, has been a more general focus on engendering wider social, political, and economic development as part of an understanding (often referred to as the acquis) between the EU and the ACP countries, which reflects the fact that the relationship is not only a trading club.

The Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957, included a section entitled ‘‘The Association of the Overseas Countries and Territories.’’ This made specific provisions for the relationship between the EEC and the overseas territories and former colonies of member states under Articles 131 to 136. The association with former colonies of the six members of the EEC was designed ‘‘to promote the economic and social development of the countries and territories and to establish close economic relations between them and theCommunity as awhole’’ (Article 131, Treaty of Rome). In practice, these arrangements had their greatest effect on the former French colonies in West Africa and the Caribbean. Preferential trading arrangements formed themajor part of the association with a commitment to review the policy after five years. 

See also European Union; international trade and economic development; World Trade Organization


  • European Commission External Relations Directorate. http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg/en/s05032.htm. This site provides a wealth of materials relating to the establish ment and development of EU ACP trade agreements as well as links to other helpful documents. 
  • Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States. http://www.acpsec.org/. The ACP site offers a number of useful resources that provide greater detail on the trade agreements with the EU, as well as giving an overview of the structure of the ACP group and how it operates. 


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