HERE - Norman Girvan

‘Economic Partnership’ &
Asymmetrical Integration
An EU-Caribbean Tale
Norman Girvan
Workshop on Alternative Trade
St Mary’s University
Halifax, N.S. 1-2 November 2013
Story line
• Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAS) between the EU and
developing countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific as
concrete legal-institutional expressions of asymmetrical neoliberal
economic integration between countries and groups of countries
• EPAS as elements of a global strategy by GN of ‘bilateralisation’ of
trade negotiations in response to resistance from the GS for
extension of the regime of global neoliberalism via the WTO
• The EU variant of the global strategy—’Global Europe’ as a strategy
of (a) intra-EU class power—consolidating the rule of capital—(b)
neoliberalising relations with the Global South ( c ) further
positioning of EU capital in access to ACP resources and markets
vis-à-vis China, the US and other competing poles
• Content of EPAS as (a) pro-unequal development, (b) anti projects
of autonomous regional integration within regions of the Global
South; exemplified by the Caribbean EPA
EPAS- The General Case
• EPAS replace the trade-aid regime of the Lomé Convention – EUACP (76), 1975-2000, development oriented
• As designed by the EU, EPAS mandate detailed reciprocity of
treatment between the ‘partners’ in merchandise trade, trade
facilitation, services, investment, government procurement,
extended IP coverage, competition, e-commerce, with weak
provisions for labour and environmental standards
• The huge asymmetries between the EU bloc and ACP countries in
size and level of development
• Pre-existing international specialisation of ACP countries in export
of food and raw materials and consumer services and the import of
manufactured goods and producer services: colonial model
• EPAS equate development with integration into the world economy
via enhanced primarisation and incorporation into global
commodity chains
EPAS & Bilateralisation
• The WTO 1994 as global neoliberalism
• Push-back by GS and G-NGOs – Seattle-DohaCancún
• GN – Bilateral FTAS & BITS as counter-strategy
‘Free Trade’ as mystification
NAFTA as the forerunner & model
WTO as a project of ‘Global Naftaisation’
FTAA as a project of ‘Hemispheric Naftaisation’
US – GS FTAs – Korea, Singapore, Chile, etc.
FTAS – Strategic advantages GN
• Circumvents opposition from largest GS –
‘picking off the compliant’ GS
• ‘Strategy of encirclement’ of oppositional GS –
WTO+ becomes standard accepted practice
• Divides GS and weakens collective BP
• Pre-existing 1-way preferences as negotiating
• Trade negotiating assets – N-S asymmetry
employed to maximum effect
‘Global Europe’ – EU Neoliberal project
• ‘EU will pursue bilateral trade agreements with major
emerging economies to secure new and profitable
markets for EU companies’ exports and investments
and access to energy and others resources’.
• BTAs would aim to include
– rules securing European investments,
– stronger Intellectual Property rights coverage and
enforcement provisions, including Geographical
– reduction of non-tariff barriers to EU exports and
investments anti-dumping mechanisms, national
treatment, and competition policy and (d) opening up of
public procurement markets.
– Inclusion of services in BTAs.
EU uniquely well positioned
• The quarter-century long Lomé Convention had reinforced, and
added new layers to, the centuries-long economic, institutional and
cultural dependency linkages between Europe and SSA, the
Caribbean and some Pacific countries; and between EU officials
and ACP political and functionary elites
• Lomé was ruled ‘incompatible’ with the WTO; creating a legal
context for negotiating its replacement within the framework of
these dependency linkages
• Trade-aid dependency linkages were turned into crucial sources of
leverage by the EU in negotiating The Cotonou Partnership
Agreement (2000) and the Economic Partnership Agreements
(EPAS) which replaced Lomé
• Cotonou
Mandated (R)EPAS ACP bloc fragmented into 6
Trade unbundled from Aid
Development equated with ‘integration into world economy’
WTO rules as floor not ceiling – opened way to WTO-Plus
The Caribbean Case
• Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) --a neoliberal,
Open Regionalism, project adopted by a bloc* of countries
in 1989 as a response to globalisation
– Background to the CSME – ideological, political, economic
• Aims: grow regional enterprises, diversify production,
strengthen competitiveness
• At the time when negotiations for the Caribbean EPA
commenced in 2004, the CSME was still incomplete.
• The two processes were handled by different Caricom
entities and political authorities; with no coordination
• Caricom negotiators accepted the EU WTO-plus negotiating
template – ideological congruence
• The Caribbean EPA – finalised in 2007-2008 - effectively
kills the CSME
The EPA – CSME Conundrum
• Schemes of neoliberal integration
• Different development models
• Differences are reflected in scope, sequencing,
and embedded policies
CSME development model
• Goods, services, labour and capital move freely across the regional
space, enabling firms to source inputs at lowest cost and reap
economies of scale, organise regional production integration, and
facilitating the growth of regional enterprises capable of competing
on international markets
• Common policies by regional governments in agriculture, industry,
transport and services to support private sector-led growth
• Sectoral ‘drivers’ of regional growth selected for common policies
and functional cooperation – beginnings of industrial policy
• FDI welcome, but implicit privileging of locally/regionally owned
• Competition on global markets is on the basis of an integrated
regional economy and led by regional enterprises.
• Integration is the basis for effectively responding to globalisation
EPA development model
• Creation of a seamless market and policy space incorporating all of
Caricom plus the Dominican Republic plus the entire EU 27,wthin which
– Liberalisation of 90% of all merchandise trade, majority of services &
investment, capital, technical and managerial personnel for EU firms
– Common policies for trade facilitation, services and investment, public
procurement, Intellectual Property, competition, e-commerce
– ‘National Treatment’ of EU firms, goods and service suppliers
• Given incompletion of the CSME in services, investment, public
procurement, and common policies, EPA forecloses CSME as platform for
developing Caribbean regional enterprises as basis for global
competiveness – CSME is sidelined and/or collapsed into Cariforum-EU
integrated economic area
• Non-tariff barriers, Rules of Origin, etc. in EU market remain in place –
barriers to Caribbean firms exporting
• Given existing asymmetries in size, technology, marketing, etc. of firms,
EPA implicitly privileges a model of development via global sourcing by EU
firms of raw materials, food and low-cost labour; subcontracting to local
firms of low-end activities (‘maquiladorisation’?)
Why EPA?
• Caricom’s elites ideological confusion and
policy incoherence on development and role
of regionalism
• Ideological co-optation of key regional elites
to EU thinking and agenda
• Lack of coordination between EPA negotiating
process and CSME implementation process
• EU threat to impose tariffs on CF exports
• EU aid as incentive to conclude on EU terms
Can the regional option be salvaged?
• Insert Caricom as a juridical entity as a Party to the EPA on
behalf of its 14 member states
• Clarify relationship between EPA and Caricom Treaty in text
of the EPA
• Defer implementation of WTO-+ provisions in EPA pending
WTO agreement or CSME completion
• Incorporate effective evaluation, review and revision
mechanism into EPA
• Insert performance indicators on development cooperation
and development outcomes
• Overhaul Caricom governance arrangements to expedite
CSME implementation in priority sectors and ensure
coherence between CSME project and external
Thank you!

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