Full free access to the EU market has been offered to the nearly 80-country African, Caribbean and Pacific group – or ACP. Transition periods on rice and sugar apply. Most exports from the ACP states — many former European colonies — already enter the European Union without duties. But a waiver from the World Trade Organisation for those preferential deals expires at the end of this year.
The new offer, made during multilateral negotiations, will make a difference for more than two dozen of the more developed ACP countries. ACP rice exports should become tariff-free shortly; in how many years is yet to be decided. Sugar exports would become duty- and quota-free in 2015. Meanwhile, the EU is asking ACP countries to open their own markets to EU exports by removing their tariffs and quotas, with transition periods of up to 25 years.