The Economic Impact of EPAs in SADC Countries

The Cotonou Agreement introduces new fundamental principles with respect to trade between the European Union and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries relative to the Lomé Convention: in particular non-reciprocal preferential market access for ACP economies will only last until 1 January 2008. After that date, it will be replaced by a string of Economic Partnership Agreements meant to progressively liberalise trade in a reciprocal way. The progressive removal of barriers to trade is expected to result in the establishment of Free Trade Agreements between the EU and ACP regional groups in accordance with the relevant WTO rules and help further existing regional integration efforts among the ACP.

In this paper, an applied general equilibrium model (15 regions, 9 sectors) is used to simulate the impact of EPAs for countries of the Southern African Development Community. The standard Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP) model has been extended to include the elimination of textile quotas, EU enlargement to 25 members as well as tax revenue sharing and a common external tariff among Southern African Customs Union countries. A number of comparisons between different scenarios are undertaken, in particular: (i) the EPA scenario is compared to the multilateral liberalization scenario; (ii) SADC liberalization with the EU only is compared to a scenario with simultaneous regional integration among African economies and to the case of the EU also signing an FTA with Mercosur; and (iii) a complete reduction of import barriers is contrasted with partial liberalization (i.e. only 50 per cent tariff reductions in agriculture) and with full trade liberalization that includes the elimination of subsidies. The issue of tariff revenue loss is also addressed and the required tax replacement is calculated. Selected experiments are re-run under an unemployment closure.

Simulation results show that EPAs with the EU are welfare-enhancing for SADC overall, leading also to substantive increases in real GDP. For most countries further gains may arise from intra-SADC liberalization. The possibility of the EU entering an FTA with other countries, such as Mercosur, reduces estimated gains, but they still remain largely positive. Similarly, estimated gains need to be revised downwards if agriculture liberalization is not as far reaching as a reduction of import barriers for manufactures. At the sectoral level, the largest expansions in SADC economies take place in the animal agriculture and processed food sectors, while manufacturing becomes comparatively less attractive following EU-SADC liberalization. Interestingly, multilateral liberalization would instead foster some of the manufacturing sectors (textile and clothing and light manufacturing). Results also show the need for the SACU tariff pooling formula to be adjusted to reflect new import patterns as tariffs are removed.

No: ERSD-2005-04


Alexander Keck and Roberta Piermartini — WTO

Manuscript date: August 2005

Key Words

Cotonou Agreement, SADC, regionalism, CGE modelling

JEL classification numbers

F15, F17, O55


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This is a working paper, and hence it represents research in progress. The opinions expressed in this paper should be attributed to the authors. They are not meant to represent the positions or opinions of the WTO and its Members and are without prejudice to Members’ rights and obligations under the WTO. The authors would like to thank participants at the 9th GTAP Annual Conference (Lübeck, 9-11 June 2005) for their comments on earlier drafts of this paper. All remaining errors and omissions are the fault of the authors. Copies of working papers can be requested from the divisional secretariat by writing to: Economic Research and Statistics Division, World Trade Organization, rue de Lausanne 154, CH 1211 Genève 21, Switzerland. Please request papers by number and title.

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