EU-CA Association Agreement: A Comprehensive Analysis
The Association Agreement between the European Union (EU) and Central Asia (CA) countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) was signed in Astana, Kazakhstan, on 21 December 2015. The agreement entered into force provisionally on 1 May 2016 for most of the CA countries (Turkmenistan being the exception), and on 1 March 2021, it became fully operational for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan.
The agreement is comprehensive and covers a wide range of areas, such as trade, investment, energy, environment, transport, education and training, culture, and civil society. It is based on the principles of mutual benefit, non-discrimination, and the rule of law. It aims to enhance political, economic, and social ties between the EU and CA countries and to facilitate their integration into the world economy.
One of the main objectives of the agreement is to create a free trade area (FTA) between the EU and CA countries. This FTA will gradually eliminate tariffs and non-tariff barriers on goods traded between the two regions. It will also provide for the liberalization of trade in services and the protection of intellectual property rights. The FTA is expected to increase trade flows between the EU and CA countries and to promote economic diversification and modernization in the CA region.
In addition to the FTA, the agreement includes provisions on investment protection and promotion. It aims to create a stable and predictable business environment for EU and CA investors. It also provides for the establishment of a Joint Committee on Investment to monitor and facilitate investment flows between the two regions.
The agreement also addresses environmental and social issues. It includes commitments to promote sustainable development, protect biodiversity, fight climate change, and conserve natural resources. It also provides for cooperation in the areas of water management, renewable energy, and waste management. In addition, the agreement contains provisions on labor rights, social protection, and gender equality.
Another important aspect of the agreement is its focus on people-to-people contacts and cultural exchanges. It provides for cooperation in the areas of education, research, and innovation. It also promotes intercultural dialogue, language learning, and the mobility of students and researchers between the EU and CA countries.
Overall, the EU-CA Association Agreement is a comprehensive framework for cooperation between the EU and CA countries. It provides for a wide range of measures to promote economic, social, and environmental progress in both regions. As the agreement enters into force fully for all CA countries, it is expected to strengthen the ties between the two regions and to contribute to their mutual prosperity.