With Brexit, the Economic Partnership Agreement between many African countries and the EU no longer applies to the UK market. But faced with the high stakes, London does not remain inactive and continues its tour of African capitals in order to preserve its commercial positions.
Following the negotiations initiated since February 2018, Cameroon and the United Kingdom signed on December 27 a memorandum of understanding concerning the “arrangements” for the application of an Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAi) modeled on the one already existing with the European Union (EU), although Brexit (the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU) has already been taken.
“The participants intend to continue the effects of the EU-Central Africa APEi among themselves without interruption once the EU-Central Africa APEi ceases to apply to the UK,” the text reads.
A stakeholder in the EPA concluded between Cameroon and the European Union, which is currently being implemented, the United Kingdom decided on March 27, 2017, in a referendum, to leave the EU.
As a result, this country should in principle lose the benefit of trade agreements concluded between the EU and its partners around the world. In order not to disrupt trade with its partners after leaving the Union, the United Kingdom has embarked on the negotiation of new trade agreements and treaties with all of its major trading partners.
But the protocol concluded with Cameroon is transitory. “The Participants will do their utmost to bring into force the UK Cameroon EPA or to apply it provisionally between them within four months of the entry into force of this Protocol.
The Participants agree that after the entry into force or provisional application of the EPA between the United Kingdom and Cameroon, any action taken under this Protocol shall be deemed to have been taken in accordance with the EPA between the United Kingdom. and Cameroon, ”the document continues.
The negotiation of this Cameroonian-British bilateral EPA raises several challenges, particularly with regard to the export component. Indeed, according to a study published in 2019 by the firm BKP Economic Advisors, banana exports to the United Kingdom now represent around 13% of Cameroon’s total banana exports, or nearly 10 million euros (6 , 53 billion FCFA). Also, the non-signing of this EPA before the transitional period of Brexit risked having a negative impact on these exports.
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU could lead to an overall drop in Cameroonian exports to the United Kingdom of 28%, or nearly 17.1 million US dollars each year (9.9 billion FCFA).
Source Ecofin Agency