Partnership and Cooperation Agreement
Negotiations were launched in November 2006. During the seventh round the status of the Agreement was upgraded from one on Trade and Cooperation to a more comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), which provides for annual Ministerial meetings and the creation of a Cooperation Council.
On 13 November 2009, the European Commission and Iraq successfully finalised negotiations on the text of the PCA which will mark the first ever contractual relation between the EU and Iraq. Its signature is expected before the end of 2010.
In substance, the PCA will establish a comprehensive legal framework for enhancing ties and cooperation in a wide range of areas from political matters and counter-terrorism (political dialogue on bilateral, regional and global issues) to promoting human rights and trade in key areas such as energy and services. Concerning trade, the PCA is a non-preferential agreement that incorporates basic WTO rules with substantial market access to the EU and some preferential elements in public procurement, services and investments. It also sets out a framework for continuing cooperation in other areas, such as heath, education and environment.
The objective of this Agreement is also to support Iraq’s own vital reform and development efforts and facilitating its integration into the wider international economy. The negotiation process underlines the European Union’s determination to play a significant role in Iraq’s transition. The Agreement will be the main vehicle for EU’s support to Iraq and further enhancement of EU-Iraq relations.