In all models, international trade leads to changes in the distribution of factors of production, growth and wage convergence between trading partners. These effects occur because trade growth exacerbates competition and leads more competitive firms to reduce their production costs by improving efficiency and productivity. And this wage convergence reduces the incentive to emigrate to a more prosperous country in search of a better life. There is therefore an element of substitution between trade and migration: in the absence of wages, wage gaps encourage people to travel to countries where they are higher; Trade reduces the incentive for exodus by encouraging wage convergence, growth and the fight against poverty. The question of the extent to which trade policy is linked to migration is of particular importance to Europe with regard to Africa. Although the European Union remains Africa`s main trading partner, its supremacy has weakened. In 1995, more than 40% of African exports were exported by the current EU member states; 81 Africa, with 7.1% of EU imports and 7.5% of exports (2018), is not an important trade region for the EU – although the absolute volume (exports and imports) has tripled about since 2000 (to around $350 billion, 82 More than half of imports came from only four countries (South Africa) Algeria, Nigeria and Morocco). Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for only 3.7% of the EU`s international trade. To date, the EU imports mainly raw materials from Africa (with the exception of Morocco) and mainly exports manufactured and processed products. In other words, trade between the EU and African countries is asymmetrical.
And trade rules differ between countries and regions (see map). The asymmetry of EPAs allows partner countries to exclude sensitive products from liberalisation. These include monitoring mechanisms and dialogue forums that also involve civil society actors. A number of precautions have been put in place to combat problematic import trends that could lead to unemployment and to promote food security and industrial development.91 No other North-South agreement provides comparable flexibility to achieve its development goals. Trade agreements can contribute to long-term development – and thus to combating the root causes of flight and migration – as long as they systematically strive to achieve sustainable development and genuine market opening. Conditionality is already provided for in EU trade policy (but not with regard to migration) in the Generalised Preferences Plus system (GPS), which was designed as an incentive for sustainable development and good governance. It lowers import duties to zero for low- and low-middle-income “vulnerable” countries, which implement 27 international conventions in the areas of human rights, workers` rights, environmental protection and good governance.