Download publication

Policy Contribution

Assessing the European Union’s North Africa trade agreements

In this Policy Contribution, the authors provide an economic assessment of the trade agreements between the EU and North Africa. They argue that the common view of the agreements is overly negative, and point to policy conclusions that could increase regional integration.

By: , and Date: November 26, 2018 Topic: Global Economics & Governance

This paper was produced with the financial support of Compagnia di San Paolo.

The trade agreements that the European Union has with North African countries – with Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia – are often seen as having delivered disappointing results since they came into force during the 2000s. The four North African countries have seen insufficient growth in their exports to the EU, and have undergone only limited diversification. In the meantime, the EU’s exports to North Africa have grown quite rapidly.

Economic growth in North Africa has been well short of what is needed to reduce chronic under-employment, especially of young people. The EU trade agreements with North Africa could generate additional, large benefits if they either directly led to or at least incentivised behind-the-border reforms to make the North African countries more competitive in international markets. Though this reform is the responsibility of the governments of North African countries, the EU could provide stronger incentives to improve the business environment. Meanwhile, in agriculture, were the North African countries able to compete with the EU on an even playing field, agriculture’s share of domestic value-added would almost certainly be significantly larger and rural poverty correspondingly lower than at present.

Nevertheless, the agreements have been judged too harshly. They helped generate large amounts of trade, though not enough was done on the domestic front to derive the maximum benefit from them. Moreover, the domestic and international environment has been unfavourable, impeding North Africa’s progress. Over much of the relevant period, the EU grew sluggishly, and North African countries faced sharply increasing competition on European markets from China and the eastern Europe countries that joined the EU in 2004 and after. Generally, countries that acceded to the EU have done much better than the countries of North Africa. While the countries of North Africa are not EU candidates, there is much that they and the EU can learn from the example of the former accession countries in terms of how a new generation of trade agreements between the EU and North Africa could be deeper and more comprehensive than currently, and could be accompanied by increased aid for trade.

Read about event More on this topic
 

Upcoming Event

Dec
15-16
11:30

India-EU Partnership: Vistas for the New Decade

Serving and retired government officials, representatives of the private sector, media and institutions/academia come together to review the of India-EU relations and point to a promising direction for the future.

Speakers: Yamini Aiyar, Suman Bery, Navroz K Dubash, Ignacio Garcia Bercero, Alicia García-Herrero, Rajat Kathuria, Gautam Mukhopadhaya, Ananth Padmanabhan, Georgios Petropoulos, André Sapir, Shyam Saran, Simone Tagliapietra and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Global Economics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
Read article More on this topic
 

Blog Post

Europe is losing competitiveness in global value chains while China surges

The European Union owes much of its economic weight to its regional value chain and integration into the global value chain. But the EU’s global value chain role is shrinking, and while EU trade integration with China is increasing, it is mainly to China’s benefit, undermining the EU’s external competitiveness.

By: Alicia García-Herrero and David Martínez Turégano Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: November 27, 2020
Read article
 

External Publication

European Parliament

Data flows, artificial intelligence and international trade: impacts and prospects for the value chains of the future

In-depth briefing and analysis on the issues of digital trade and the geopolitics of trade provided to the European Parliament.

By: Dennis Görlich, Michèle Finck, Georgios Petropoulos, Niclas Poitiers and André Sapir Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, European Parliament Date: November 26, 2020
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

Free movement of data: how to maintain necessary sharing among the EU, UK, and USA?

In the current legal climate, how can the EU, the US and the UK continue to share data?

Speakers: Christian Borggreen, Joe Jones, Christian Kastrop, J. Scott Marcus and Reinhilde Veugelers Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: November 25, 2020
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Blog Post

The impact of the new Asian trade mega-deal on the European Union

Although the economic implications of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) for the EU are modest, the geopolitical and strategic implications are not. With the arrival of a new US administration and the central role of China in the bloc, the EU needs to outline an Asian commercial strategy that reconciles the importance of China and the transatlantic relationship.

By: Uri Dadush Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: November 19, 2020
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

How to keep a competitive environment while engaging with non market economies?

How can we ensure fair competition between European firms and Chinese state-backed players?

Speakers: Julia Anderson, Helge Berger, Michiel Boots, Alicia García-Herrero, Carles Esteva Mosso, Frédéric Jenny, Georgios Petropoulos, Cian Ruane, Hylke Vandenbussche and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: November 19, 2020
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Opinion

RCEP might not stop reshuffling of Asian value chains

China is no doubt bound to benefit, but other members of the regional trade pact may benefit even more

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: November 17, 2020
Read article Download PDF More by this author
 

Parliamentary Testimony

European Parliament

China-EU economic relations in the era of US-China economic competition

Testimony before the European Parliament on the subject of China-EU economic relations.

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: European Parliament, Global Economics & Governance, Testimonies Date: November 17, 2020
Read article Download PDF More on this topic
 

Parliamentary Testimony

European Parliament

Socio-economic effects of digital trade and artificial intelligence on EU industries including their value chains and EU imports and exports with major trade partners

Testimony before the European Parliament on the subject of digital trade.

By: Georgios Petropoulos and André Sapir Topic: European Parliament Date: November 16, 2020
Read article Download PDF More on this topic
 

Parliamentary Testimony

European Parliament

Political assessment of possible future positive (cooperation) or negative (restrictive) attitudes of main trade partners of the EU

Testimony to the European Parliament on the geopolitical aspects of trade.

By: Dennis Görlich and Niclas Poitiers Topic: European Parliament Date: November 16, 2020
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

Disrupted medical supply chains: symptoms, side-effects, and treatment?

How can the EU increase the resilience of value chains in the health industry?

Speakers: Koen Berden, Anabel González, Niclas Poitiers and Giuseppe Ruocco Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: October 29, 2020
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

The future of EU-US trade relations after the US election

What shape will the trade relationship between the EU and the US take in the coming years?

Speakers: Cecilia Malmström, Adam Posen and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Global Economics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: October 26, 2020
Load more posts