This paper assesses the extent to which the ‘export ‘ of European Union ( EU ) trade policy to the Economic Community of West African States ( ECOWAS ) has been shaped by its ( EU ) domestic policies. It argues that the EUs involvement in negociating for the constitution of Free Trade Areas ( FTAs ) with ECOWAS go beyond its officially stated World Trade Organisation ( WTO ) -compatibility principle ( CPA, Article36:1 ) to embrace its desire to do the relationship EU-compatible. It investigates by comparing the instance of ECOWAS with Mercosur and discovers that, but, for the WTO-compatibility clause inherent in the Cotonou Partnership Agreement ( CPA ) , both bi-regional understandings are correspondent. It concludes based on this comparing that these similarities go to reenforce the averment of the paper to the consequence that, the EUs external bi-regional dealingss with ECOWAS is shaped by its domestic policies.


Bache, I and George, S. ( 2006 )Politicss in the European Union,Second Edition, ( University Press, Oxford )

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Dolowitz, D. and Marsh, D. ( 2000 ) ‘Learning from Abroad – The Role of Policy Transfer in Contemporary Policy-Making ‘ in Governance, International Journal of Policy and Administration, 13 ( 1 ) , pp. 5-24.

European Commission ( EC ) ( 2000 ) ‘Implementing Policy for External Trade in the Fields of Standards and Conformity Assessment – A Tool Box of Instruments ‘ . Bruxelless.

European Commission ( EC ) ( 1998 ) ‘Commission Staff Working Paper refering the constitution of an inter-regional association between the EU & A ; Mercosur ‘ . Brussels, available at hypertext transfer protocol: //europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/mercosur/background_doc/work_paper0.htm accessed on 22 July 2009.

European Commission ( EC ) ( 1996 ) ‘Communication from the Commission on Community External Trade Policy in the Field of Standards and Conformity Assessment ‘ . COM ( 96 ) 564.

European Commission ( EC ) ( 1994 ) ‘Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament – The European Union and Mercosur: An Enhanced Policy ‘ . COM ( 94 ) 428.

Lenz, T. ( 2006 ) ‘Governance through Policy Transfer in the External Relations of the European Union – the instance of Mercosur ‘ , available at hypertext transfer protocol: //aei.pitt.edu/6130/01/gradconf06_lenz.pdf accessed on 20 July 2009.

Maur, J.C. ( 2005 ) ‘Exporting Europe ‘s Trade Policy ‘ , The World Economy 28 ( 11 ) , pp. 1565-1590

South Centre ( 2008 ) ‘EPA Negotiations: States of Play and Strategic Considerations for the manner forward ‘ , Analytical Note SC/AN/TDP/EPA/13, Geneva, Switzerland, available at hypertext transfer protocol: //www.acp-eu-trade.org/library/files/South-Centre_EN_0208_South-Centre_EPA-negotiations-state-of-play-and-strategic-considerations.pdf accessed on 15 July 2009.

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The EU is advancing a new signifier of regionalism by progressively set uping dealingss with other regional axis whilst at the same time negociating Regional Trade Agreements ( RTAs ) with its trade spouses. Two such integrating undertakings are the EUs bi-regional dealingss with ECOWAS and Mercosur. To what extent do the EUs domestic policies shape its external bi-regional relationship with its regional trade spouses? This inquiry forms the major subject of this paper.

In what follows foremost the paper takes a expression at ECOWAS and its relationship with the EU. It so accounts for policy export in the external dealingss of the EU with ECOWAS utilizing the Policy Transfer ( PT ) theoretical account developed by Dolowitz and Marsh ( 2000 ) . Part three identifies similarities and differences between ECOWAS and Mercosur by comparing them. The paper concludes based on empirical grounds that the EU-ECOWAS bi-regional trade relation is influenced by the EUs internal norms and patterns.

ECOWAS and its relation with EU in position

ECOWAS was established by the pact of Lagos on May 28, 1975 in Lagos, Nigeria. With a rank of 15 independent West African provinces, the regional axis purposes at advancing cooperation and integrating within the sub-region with the constitution of a West African economic brotherhood as the ultimate end ( ECOWAS, 2009 ) .

Post-colonial contact with Europe was established through the EUs association with states of the African Caribbean and Pacific ( ACP ) provinces after the sign language of the Rome Treaty. Successive Yaounde and Lome conventions renewed this relationship until 1975 when the ACP group – of which ECOWAS is a portion – was categorised into development and trading spouses by the EU and granted discriminatory and duty-free entree to the EU market of specified goods. In 2000 the EU and ACP group adopted the CPA to replace the old Lome convention. Based on three complementary pillars of trade, assistance and political cooperation, the end of the Agreements is to show in a WTO compatibility trade government ( see CPA, 2000 ) . One extremist alteration which the CPA introduced was the understanding to negociate a separate set of bilateral EPAs with the assorted regional axis within the ACP group ( South Centre, 2008: 14-18 ) . The EPAs are supposed to be comprehensive FTAs which would replace the bing Preferential Trade Agreements ( PTAs ) by doing them WTO-compatible ( see Matthew 2007 ) . It is under this model that the EU and ECOWAS started dialogues on the EPAs in September 2002, which were to officially take-off on January 01, 2008. An understanding could non nevertheless be reached by the December 31, 2007 deadline because of dissensions with some of the commissariats.

Policy transportation in the dealingss with ECOWAS

Empirical grounds is used in this subdivision to show that the EU adopted PT to construction its bi-regional trade dealingss with ECOWAS. It besides demonstrates that the EU-ECOWAS relation is driven by the EUs internal policies. This is accomplished utilizing four inquiries from Dolowitz PT model: What is being transferred ( reassign objects ) , who are the agents of transportation ( Transfer histrions ) , how and why is a policy transferred ( Transfer grounds and signifiers ) and what grade of transportation is achieved?

What ( who ) are the objects/agents of transportation? The sign language and subsequent dialogue of the EPAs has led to the transportation of the EUs trade policy to ECOWAS, and it is the European Commission ( EC ) that has acted as the transportation agent in structuring this EU-ECOWAS bi-regional relation.

In the country of trade, the ECs attack to liberalization revolves around the creative activity of FTAs every bit good as the integrating of the ECOWAS axis into the universe economic system through policy, criterions and processs harmonisation. Evidence of this is found in the EUs internal trade end which seeks “ [ to advance ] , where executable, greater harmonization of criterions and regulative attacks in other markets ; [ to promote ] our merchandising spouses to follow or accept the equality of criterions and proficient demands applicable in the Community” ( EC, 1996: 5, cited in Lenz, 2006:7 ) .

An functionary of the Commission confirms the ECs export of trade policy to ECOWAS through the EPAs by asseverating that ‘‘EU policy is to distribute the European attack ” ( EC 2000:2 ) . How does the EU policy spread the European attack? This paper asserts that the inclusion of certain commissariats – that are non needfully demands for the constitution of FTAs by the WTO – in the EPAs is a medium of diffusion of the European attack. Referred to as extra-WTO commissariats, these include regulations on Sanitary, Phytosanitary and Standards ( SPS ) , and the National Treatment ( NT ) and the Most Favoured States ( MFN ) clauses ( South Centre, 2008:11-12 ) .

The SPS is a proviso which the EU has transferred to ECOWAS to guarantee that ‘‘ultimately the proficient ordinances, criterions and conformance appraisal processs in West African provinces will go, if non harmonized, so at least to the full compatible with EU criterions, ordinances and processs ” ( EC 1998: Chap. 7.1.2 ) ( ain accents added ) . To accomplish these criterions, the EU intends to give proficient and capacity-building support to ECOWAS to do its criterions EU-compatible ( CPA 2000, Articles 48 and 51 ) . This extra-WTO compatible proviso originates from the EUs domestic policies and later exported to ECOWAS through the EPAs. In amount, this subdivision has demonstrated the EUs transportation of such objects as its internal trade policies, plans and attitudes to ECOWAS through this bi-regional interaction.

Why transportation? The EPAs are a coercive infliction of European domestic policies. Within the context of its bi-regional relationship with ECOWAS, the EU has engaged in the infliction of its internal norms and criterions for grounds that this paper assert go beyond its officially stated WTO-compatibility end to embrace motivations that are economic in nature: the desire to do its external relationship EU-compatible “in position of the economic systems of graduated table it brings to EU manufacturers, the possible entree to multiple markets on the strength of a individual merchandise appraisal and the likeliness of regional constructions utilizing international criterions and practices” ( EC 1996: 16 ) .

This economic ground, Lenz ( 2006:12 ) asserts, is based on the EUs ain experience with its internal market and external trade relation: “When conceived in a spirit of openness, regional integrating is accompanied by growing in international trade” ( EC 1994: 3 ) . This experience so serves to apologize the transportation of the EUs trade policy: “The coherency of ordinances and of criterions can be achieved through harmonization, which has already proved its utility in the context of the EU internal market” ( EC 2000: 10 ) .

Article 37 ( 5 ) of the CPA clearly buttresses the documents claim that the EPAs are an EU prescription as it spells out the conditions for negociating the understandings. These understandings hence entail power drama than partnership.

Furthermore, all the commissariats ( from Agricultural, procurance, investing and competition commissariats, through NT and MFN clauses to the SPS regulations ) outlined in the CPA buttress the fact that the EPAs are a direct reproduction or transcript of the EUs domestic policies ( see EC, 2006 ) . That is the grade to which the EU trade policy has been exported to ECOWAS. How similar or different is this EU-ECOWAS bi-regional relation to the EU-Mercosur relation? This inquiry presents the focal point of the following subdivision after this brief history of EU-Mercosur dealingss.


The Southern Common Market, otherwise called Mercosur, is a RTA that originally encompassed four Latin American states – Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. Created by the pact of Asuncion in 1991 to counter the political, economic and societal crises and discontent that engrossed Latin America during the 2nd half of the 20Thursdaycentury, Mercosur is an instrument of sub-regional integrating. The purpose was to set up a imposts brotherhood after harmonisation in countries of labor jurisprudence, agricultural policy and rational belongings rights had been achieved between the states.

Similar to the EUs bi-regional dealingss with ECOWAS, Mercosur signed an Interregional Framework Cooperation Agreement with the EU in 1995 to kick-start a bi-regional relationship. Entailing a political duologue every bit good as cooperation in countries such as trade, the economic system and development, the model was a reaction to the US ‘ push for a Free Trade Area for the Americas ( FTAA ) . The trade and economic constituents were aimed at set uping a FTA between the two axis with the liberalization of trade in goods and services as the exclusive purpose. Akin to the EPAs and due to be completed in 2004, 20 unit of ammunitions of trade dialogues were held between April 2000 and June 2006 with no understanding. Negotiations and dialogues on the proposed EU-Mercosur FTAs have since 2006 stalled.

EU-ECOWAS and EU-Mercosur bi-regionalism: similarities and differences

Both ECOWAS and Mercosur are similar in their historical and institutional scenes. Both axis were established by pacts in response to the economic and political troubles that engulfed the parts after World War II. Whilst Mercosur was created in the wake of the political, societal and economic crisis that prevailed in Latin America from the 1950s to late 1980s, ECOWAS was similarly created on the dorsum of the political instability and economic volatility that characterised life within the West African sub-region in the post-colonial epoch. Both regional axis were so aimed at furthering the growing, economic development and integrating of the parts into the universe order.

In regard of their bi-regional interaction with the EU, the lone difference that is identified prevarications in the EUs ‘alleged ‘ usage of EPAs to accomplish WTO-compatibility in trade with ECOWAS – which this paper has debunked in the old subdivision. Beyond this end both bi-regional dealingss are similar in many facets:

Both dealingss with the EU are correspondent in regard of the object of transportation. The EU has sought to reassign its domestic trade policy as evident in the extension of its competition, public procurance and investing commissariats and policies and SPS regulations to the Mercosur and ECOWAS parts through their several RTAs ( see Maur, 2005: EC 2006:7 ) . On the instance of the inclusion of SPS regulations in its Mercosur dealingss, grounds reveals that:

The EU supports Mercosur in doing its regulative criterions compatible with EU ordinances through proficient aid and facilitation steps. Therefore, the EU initiated assorted undertakings “to harmonise standardization and confirmation patterns in the Mercosur part, in line with European [ … ] rules” ( imperativeness release 12.03.2004 ) . These programmes include the transportation of proving methods ( policy instrument ) and standardization agency ( establishments ) ( imperativeness release 12.03.2004 ) , the development of information and presentment systems ( policy instruments ) every bit good as enfranchisement and accreditation bureaus ( establishments ) and support for the development of a consistent legal and industrial metrology in Mercosur ( EC 1996: 30, EC 2000: 21 ) .

– Lenz 2006: 7

Like the EPAs, the inclusion of this proviso in the Mercosur Agreement goes to reenforce the premiss that, EU-compatibility is the exclusive end of the EU-ECOWAS dealingss. It besides reinforces the fact that the EUs external trade dealingss is shaped by its internal policies. This is so as the EU includes this, and the other commissariats mentioned earlier in all its external bi-regional trade relation – including the Mercosur and ECOWAS dealingss.

Again, both are comparable on the motivation of transportation: to make FTAs for trade in goods and services. This is corroborated by the statement that:

The ultimate end of the EU ‘s transportation purposes in the trade pillar is to “promote [ … ] credence of the Community ‘s regulative approach” ( EC 1996: 4 ) . These motivations have to make with the increasing procedure of globalization and enhanced international fight which Westphal describes as the purpose to “simultaneously advance and export the European structural theoretical account of the internal market with its current thrust to maintain alive basic rules of the alleged “Rheinischer Kapitalismus”… [ which is ] an effort to protect the European labor market by increasing the criterions in other universe regions” ( 2005a: 172 ) .

– Lenz 2006:12

Third, both axiss are comparable in regard of the type of commissariats that caused the dissensions that characterised and stalled the dialogues for the creative activity of FTAs.


The paper has utilized the PT model of Dolowitz and Marsh ( 2000 ) to show that the EU applied PT to construction its external bi-regional dealingss with ECOWAS. It proceeded to show that, to the extent that the EU has included extra-WTO compatibility commissariats in the CPA, the paper asserted that its bi-regional relationship with ECOWAS is driven by its desire to accomplish EU-compatibility.

Empirical grounds was further used to warrant the averment that the inclusion of SPS regulations and NT, and MFN clauses in the CPA was merely meant to run into EU-compatibility as these commissariats are non needfully demands for run intoing WTO-compatibility. This averment was reinforced when it was revealed that the Mercosur understanding contained the same set of trade commissariats as the CPA though EU-Mercosur dealingss were non aimed at accomplishing WTO-compatibility. These pieces of grounds go to buttress the point that the EUs bi-regional trade dealingss with ECOWAS is shaped by its internal policies.

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