PRETORIA– South Africa is participating in the 107th Session of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) gROUP Council of Ministers and the 43rd Session of the ACP-European Union Joint Council of Ministers is underway in Lome, Togo.

On the agenda is the Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA) which makes provision for duty-free, quota-free trade access for ACP member states to the EU market which expires in 2020.

The ACP developing countries and the EU signed the partnership agreement, dubbed the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, in Cotonou, Benin, on June 23, 2000 for a 20-year period from 2000 to 2020. The agreement governs trade and political relations but also co-operation between the EU and 79 ACP countries.

Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Luwellyn Landers is leading the South African delegation for the talks, which will end on Friday. In the discussions, the parties will seek to review the partnership and how the global South stands to benefit further.

South Africa became a qualified member of the agreement between ACP member countries and the European Union in November 1995, and consequently also became a member of the ACP Group through this action.

South Africa’s trade with the EU has taken place in accordance with the provisions of the bilateral Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement (TDCA) between South Africa and the EU and more recently in accordance with the Southern African Development Community (SADC)-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (SADC-EU EPA).