The Argumentative Dimension to Africa-EU EPA negotiations

Donna Lee, Stephen Hurt , Ulrike Lorenz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Not only is the participation of developing countries in international trade negotiations growing, so is their influence over the global trade agenda. This article highlights the increasing activism and impact of African states through a detailed study of the current Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAs) negotiations with the European Union (EU). In examining African resistance to EPAs, the article develops a constructivist approach to North-South trade negotiations that pays close attention to the role of development discourses. We argue that the growing willingness of African states to challenge the EU to deliver on its development promises during the decade-long EPA process was crucial to informing their sustained opposition to the EU’s goal of completing a comprehensive set of sub-regional economic agreements. We document African resistance to EU trade diplomacy in the EPAs, exploring how these otherwise weak countries were able to pursue normative-based negotiation strategies by recourse to the EU’s promise of a ‘development partnership.’
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-87
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Negotiation: a journal of theory and practice
Issue number1
Early online date8 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013


  • development
  • bargaining
  • negotiation
  • discourse
  • africa
  • european union


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