Press Notice 45, Session 2003-04

One-off Evidence Session Announced

Fair trade? The European Union's trade agreements with the African, Caribbean and Pacific states.

The International Development Committee has agreed to hold a one-off evidence session on 30 November 2004 on the trade options available to the ACP states after 2008 under the Cotonou Agreement. The Committee is pleased to announce that the following evidence session has been arranged:

Date and venue: Tuesday 30 November, venue tbc.

Time: 2:30 pm

Witnesses: NGOs and Government (DFID) Officials (Further details of witnesses will be available nearer the date of the session)


Negotiations for regional Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are proceeding apace despite the fact that in some areas the question of WTO compatibility remains unresolved. In addition, recent WTO rulings have successfully challenged areas in which the EU has offered preferences to developing countries.

The evidence session will address the following key questions:

1. What options are available for ACP states under the Cotonou Agreement? Are regional Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) the most suitable developmental tool for all ACP states? What are the alternatives?

2. What are the implications for the ACP states of including the 'new issues' of investment, competition, government procurement and trade facilitation in the EPAs?

3. The extent to which rules of origin discourage some LDCs from using the Everything But Arms agreement and membership of an EPA will compel them to open their markets to the EU, what options are available to such states?

4. After the WTO ruling against the EU sugar regime what can be done to help those ACP states heavily dependent on preferential access to the EU market?



The Committee invites organisations and individuals with relevant experience and expertise to submit memoranda. The Committee would particularly welcome submissions from organisations based in developing countries.

The Committee does not intend to produce a report but will publish a transcript of the session along with some of the written submissions.


Any memorandum of more than six pages should include a summary at the front. Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee and may be published.  Evidence should be sent to the Clerk of the Committee by 12 November. If possible, please supply an electronic version in MS Word or Rich Text Format, either by e-mail to or on a disk. If submitted by e-mail or e-mail attachment, a letter should also be sent validating the e-mail.

Further guidance on the submission of evidence can be found at:


Detailed enquiries to Anna Dickson, Committee Specialist, on or 020 7219 2738.


Further Information

The membership of the Committee is as follows: Tony Baldry (Chairman) (Conservative), John Barrett (Liberal Democrat), Mr John Battle (Labour), Hugh Bayley (Labour), Ann Clwyd (Labour), Mr Tony Colman (Labour), Mr Quentin Davies (Conservative), Mr Piara S. Khabra (Labour), Chris McCafferty (Labour), Mr Andrew Robathan (Conservative) and Tony Worthington (Labour).

Media Enquiries: Adele Brown, 020 7219 0724 or

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Publications/Reports/Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge Street, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474)

Reports and press notices issued by the International Development Committee are available on the Parliamentary  website: