Perhaps the most radical amendment introduced by the Cotonou Agreement concerns trade cooperation. Since the first Lomé Convention in 1975, the EU has not granted reciprocal trade preferences to ACP countries. However, under the Cotonou Agreement, this system has been replaced by the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), a new regime that came into force in 2008. The new regime provides for reciprocal trade agreements, which means that not only does the EU grant duty-free access to its ACP export markets, but also that ACP countries grant duty-free access to their own markets for EU exports. Negotiations for a new agreement are due to begin by August 2018. In order to adapt to new challenges, the agreement was revised in 2005 and 2010 to focus more on the following themes: under the new agreement, the EU can be more selective and flexible in allocating and using its development resources. Endowments are based on an assessment of a country`s needs and performance and include the ability to regularly adjust financial resources. In practice, this means that more money can be paid to “good interpreters” and that the proportion of “bad interpreters” can be reduced. Cooperation with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries has been around for a long time and has intensified over time, as evidenced by the successive ACP-EU partnership agreements signed in the years following the first Lomé Convention (1975). A new agreement between the EU and ACP countries was negotiated in 2018 and will replace the 2000/483/EC Partnership Agreement. Our current relations with ACP countries are governed by the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement (2000), also known as the Cotonou Agreement, which brings together more than 100 partner countries and about 1.5 billion people.
It is the most comprehensive partnership agreement ever signed between the EU and third countries. The agreement was signed in 2000 and ends at the end of 2020. . The aid is granted to ACP countries under the financial protocol of the Cotonou Agreement over a five-year period. Under the Ninth European Development Fund (EDF) (2002-2007), EUR 13.5 billion has been allocated to the ACP region. The Cotonou agreement focuses in particular on the private sector as an instrument of sustainable economic development. A major new programme has been set up in Cotonou to support the private sector in ACP countries through new instruments such as access to finance through the European Investment Bank (EIB). The expiry of the Cotonou Agreement is an opportunity to rejuvenate and strengthen our relations with the ACP countries, while keeping in mind the new realities and global challenges we face. The Cotonou Agreement is the backbone of the partnership between the EU, EU countries and 79 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP). The Cotonou Agreement is a treaty between the European Union and the group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (“ACP States”).
It was signed in June 2000 in Cotonou, Benin`s largest city, by 78 ACP countries  (Cuba has not signed) and the fifteen Member States of the European Union. It came into force in 2003 and was revised in 2005 and 2010. The Cotonou agreement introduces the idea of performance-based partnerships and forgoes “aid rights” such as fixed endowments, regardless of delivery. On the other hand, non-LDCs who decide not to be able to include EPAs can be transferred, for example, to the EU`s Generalised Preference System (GSP) or to the Special Agreement to Encourage Sustainable Development and Good Governance (GSP).