Ministers agreed to start negotiations in 2006 and endorsed a calendar setting out a precise timetable for the talks. This will mean starting work on drafting the text and legal provisions of the EPA and issues connected with market access, including the effect of an EPA on productive sectors in West Africa.On October 27th 2005, Commissioner Mandelson held bilateral talks with a West African delegation led by the president of the West Africa Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), Mr Soumaïla Cissé. EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said: “Today’s agreement marks a turning point in negotiations. We are ready to begin discussing the trade rules that will support the sustained growth and real development that West Africa needs. This will do much more than simply guarantee preferential access to the EU market, it will help establish a secure framework for investment, jobs and a sound business environment. This is part of a comprehensive approach to regional relations where the EU is highly sensitive to the unique challenges of development in West Africa. We are also deeply committed to helping the region manage the economic change this involves.Economic Partnership Agreements are the trade and development agreements that the European Union is currently negotiating with the 6 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) regions.