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As of July 2018, the EU was engaged in negotiations for 21 free-trade agreements.The continent's trade with the EU is already massive: together, African countries represent the EU's third-largest trading partner, after the United States and China, accounting for nearly 7 percent of total extra-EU trade in goods, including 7 percent of imports and 8 percent of exports. And though the EU ran a persistent trade deficit with Africa in 2000-2014, it ran a 22 billion euro ($25.5 billion) surplus in 2015 and a 22.7 billion euro surplus in 2016 .Africa's trade with the EU is triple that of, say, Canada, which amounted to 94.7 billion euros in 2016 . Africa's share of EU trade could increase even further, given the continent's impressive economic prospects.Over the last five years, the EU has been negotiating with each of Africa's sub-regions under the Economic Partnership Agreements framework, with the goal of eventually producing a free-trade agreement between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States.Yet, so far, only one EPA (with southern Africa) has been ratified. Simply put, the new EU-Africa relationship must be based on trade, not aid.
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