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African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP countries)

These are the African, Caribbean and Pacific states that are associated with the European Union under the Cotonou Agreement (previously the Lomé Agreement). There are 79 states in the group which represents more than 650 million people. All members of the group – with the exception of Cuba – are signatories to the Cotonou Agreement which defines the relationship between the ACP countries and the European Union in the area of trade and cooperation. The principal objective of this agreement is to reduce poverty by means of political dialogue, development aid, economic liberalisation and trade.The trade provisions of the Cotonou Agreement are being replaced by the Economic Partnership Agreements. These new arrangements provide for reciprocal trade agreements, meaning that not only the EU provides duty-free access to its markets for ACP exports, but that ACP countries also provide duty-free access to their own markets for EU exports.

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