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D 5.4 Report on how trade and cooperation agreement impact poverty

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According to the original NOPOOR proposal for Task 5.4, globalization is structured and governed by multilateral and bilateral agreements. Nopoor will analyze the consequences of world trade and cooperation agreements on poverty from two different angles. i) develop simulations of the impacts of the implementation of the agreements on labour market and poverty, at national and regional level, with a focus on the EU’s EPAs in ECOWAS countries; ii) provide a legal analysis of economic, labour and human rights as well as verify how these rights are incorporated and applied in the current framework of World Trade Law: FTAs, WTO, GSP, ILO. Three studies are summarized in this report. The first one focuses on the macro and micro impacts on West african countries of the Free Trade Agreement between EU and ECOWAS. The second study investigates the link between labour clauses in trade agreements and national labour standards, contrasting the effects that these provisions have at a legislative level, such as the ratification of ILO conventions, and, at a practical level, on workers’ rights practices. The third study analyses the application of the EU´s human rights clauses in the context of its preferential trade agreements with special emphasis to the ACP development cooperation.
In the first study, scenarios simulation results indicate that, without any accompanying programs, West Africa economy faces pressure particularly when the liberalization reaches 75 percent of imports from the EU, leading to a slower growth rate and an increase of poverty compared to the non-FTA scenario. This general picture of the FTA scenarios impacts hides significant disparities among economies in the subregion. With a accompanying Policies on building energy production and transport, the simulations indicate better impacts of the FTA in all the countries. The second study shows that the inclusion of labour provisions in trade agreements has a positive effect on the rate of ratification of ILO conventions. In constrast, labour provisions haven’t had a significant role in the improvement of labour practices, and that their effect has been limited to symbolic measures such as the ratification of ILO conventions. The third study highlights that the negative component of the human rights clauses so far has been applied mostly in cases of coups, electoral frauds or severe human rights violations of civil and political rights. It indicate that most of the suspensions took place under the ACP- development cooperation. Generally, the application of the clause stands in conflict between the interest of protecting human rights on the one hand and the geopolitical and economic interests of the European Union and its member states on the other hand.