The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Luwellyn Landers, has arrived in Lome, Togo, for the 107th Session of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP) Council of Ministers and the 43rd Session of the ACP-European Union (EU) Joint Council of Ministers, expected to end on 01 June 2018.
The legal basis for relations between the ACP and the European Union (EU), the Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA), will expire on 29 February 2020. The CPA makes provision for Duty-Free, Quota-Free (DFQF) trade for ACP Member States into the EU.
South Africa became a qualified member of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA) between ACP member countries and the European Union (EU) in November 1995, and consequently also became a Member of the ACP Group through this action. The reason for qualified membership is that South Africa has never been a party to the trade chapter of the CPA. South Africa's trade with the EU has taken place in accordance with the provisions of the bilateral Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) between South Africa and the EU and more recently in accordance with the Southern African Development Community-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (SADC-EU EPA).
The decision to join the ACP Group was based on historical and political considerations and was a manifestation of South Africa's commitment to South-South solidarity and a desire to use this platform to advance the developmental interests of the Group and the broader South.
In preparation for 2020, the ACP has undertaken a process of reviewing its performance over the last forty years and reflecting on how the ACP could restructure the organisation to respond to the current global environment and also developing its negotiating memoranda for a new successor framework agreement to the CPA.
Through ACP processes, all three regions -- Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific -- have embarked on regional/continental discussions aimed at formulating their positions in preparation for the negotiations on the finalisation of a successor agreement to the CPA.