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Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), currently being negotiated between the European Union and 77 African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries, are due to enter into force in January 2008. These talks come under the umbrella of the 2000 Cotonou Partnership Agreement, which sets out a clear and specific commitment to gender equality. Despite this, gender issues are conspicuous by their absence from the ‘hard’ areas of the negotiations, such as trade and regional co-operation. In order to estimate the likely impact of future trade agreements on poor women and men, a more systematic approach to trade policy negotiations and to capacity building in ACP countries is required.

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