published on International Relations August 17, 2017
In 2014, the EU concluded Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with several African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) regions. These EPAs represent some of the most advanced examples of interregional cooperation. Yet, the outcomes of EPA negotiations are not the same across all regions. This article investigates differences in negotiated outcomes and argues that regional actorness – the ability of regions to become identifiable, to aggregate the interests of member states, to formulate collective goals and to make and implement decisions – influences regions’ ability to navigate interregional trade negotiations. In a comparison of the actorness and negotiated outcomes of West Africa and the SADC EPA Group, the article shows that actorness matters for international negotiations: regions with higher levels of actorness can negotiate better outcomes even under conditions of stark power asymmetry.