Logistical Challenges of Brexit of Major Concern to UK Food Trade

 

Summary

Concerns are growing over the lack of progress on the practical steps required to maintain a smooth flow of mutual EU27/UK trade if no transitional agreement is set in place. These include:

  1. the need to address the physical constraints on the development of import control infrastructure in Dover harbour;
  2. the inadequate computerised trade data management systems;
  3. the absence of clear recruitment and training programmes in government agencies concerned with cross border trade inspection services;
  4. the absence of alternative licensing and permit arrangements for freight operators involved in UK/EU27 trading operations.

In this context a two year transition period is seen as essential. While a two year transition would defer the worst consequences of a ‘hard’ Brexit, these constraints will still need to be addressed. If they are not effectively addressed these systemic shortcomings could potentially have knock-on effects on the smooth functioning of the direct ACP-UK export trade. Read more “Logistical Challenges of Brexit of Major Concern to UK Food Trade”

The EC’s Recommendations for the Post-Cotonou Negotiations: Some Implications for ACP Agro-food Sectors

 

Summary
The EC communication on the Post Cotonou ACP-EU negotiations has bene described as ‘a confusing mixture of liberalisation and positive policy recommendations’. There are some areas which could be built on for the benefit of ACP agricultural producers and exporters, but there are also areas which could narrow the options which ACP governments have for supporting integrated agro-food sector development. The growing EU member states focus on ensuring EU interests are more effectively promoted through the future ACP-EU partnership, alongside a growing focus on migration and security areas as well as the promoting the economic interests of EU companies in ACP markets is unlikely to lead to any substantive changes which enhance the contribution of the EU-ACP partnership to the integrated development of ACP agro-food sectors. However this remains a terrain of political struggle with a key question being: how effectively prepared are ACP structures and institutions for engaging in the political struggle which lies ahead in the post-Cotonou ACP-EU partnership negotiations. Read more “The EC’s Recommendations for the Post-Cotonou Negotiations: Some Implications for ACP Agro-food Sectors”

UNCTAD Analysis Highlights High Rate of Utilisation of Tariff Preferences Under EU Trade Agreements

Summary

The UNCTAD report highlights how the EU is ‘one of the most active negotiators of FTAs at the global level’. These EU trade agreements grant ‘EU companies more favourable trade conditions – including through reduced tariffs’, with these preferences providing a competitive advantage to EU exporters compared to companies in countries not benefitting from such FTA arrangements. While the report reviews the utilisation of tariff preferences under EU trade agreements with non-ACP countries it does provide insights into the commercial value of EU reciprocal preferential trade agreements. It also provides important background to the debate on future implementation of the concluded EU-ACP economic partnership agreements. Read more “UNCTAD Analysis Highlights High Rate of Utilisation of Tariff Preferences Under EU Trade Agreements”

Current High Volume of EU Skimmed Milk Powder (SMP) Exports to be Sustained and Expanded

Summary
The recent expansion of EU SMP exports is set to continue, initially at current elevated level but subsequently at substantially expanded levels. By 2030 EU SMP exports are projected to be 65% above those witnessed in 2016. Throughout this period EU SMP prices are projected to be between 13% (beginning of the period) and 3% (end of the period) below world market SMP prices. This is likely to act as a drag on world market SMP price recovery.  These price trends cannot be delinked from the high levels of EU public sector support to both public and private storage schemes for SMP. These public policy interventions schemes give rise to supply responses to low prices by EU diary companies which simply do not correspond with the normal functioning of markets. These high EU SMP export volumes and low prices overshadow national efforts in ACP countries to develop local milk-to-dairy supply chains. This is being compounded by the rapid growth in EU exports of fat filled milk powders (FFMP). These trade trends appear to be undermining efforts to expand local milk production in African countries in response to growing local demand for dairy products. Read more “Current High Volume of EU Skimmed Milk Powder (SMP) Exports to be Sustained and Expanded”

Announcement of ACT Alliance.eu seminar on Implications of Brexit for ACP countries and Post-Cotonou negotiation

 

 

The ACT Alliance which supports the epamonitoring.net website is proposing to hold a 1 day seminar on 22nd February 2018 dealing with the implications of Brexit for ACP countries (morning) and the implications of the Brexit process for the Post-Cotonou negotiations (afternoon).  The presentations made on the substantive issues faced will be based on articles posted on the epamonitoring.net and additional research undertaken by GDC-Partners for its Brexit and the ACP agro-food sector subscription only service.

For those of you who may wish to attend, please find below the draft programme.

There is only limited space available in the seminar room (30-40 people), so if you are interested in attending kindly email the seminar organiser Karin Ulmer (Karin.Ulmer@actalliance.eu) so we can keep track of the level of participation. Read more “Announcement of ACT Alliance.eu seminar on Implications of Brexit for ACP countries and Post-Cotonou negotiation”

EU Council Agrees Guidelines for EC Engagement in the Negotiation of Transitional Arrangements with the UK

Summary

The EU Council guideline have called for the UK to remain bound by the obligations entered into under trade agreements concluded while a member of the EU throughout the transition period in EU27/UK trade relations. According to remarks by Chief Negotiator Barnier this obligation should be enshrined in the EU/UK Withdrawal Agreement concluded as part of the Article 50 negotiations. However Michel Barnier made it clear that the EU’s commitment in this regard cannot ensurethe UK keeps the benefits from these international agreements’, with this depending on the views of the EU’s international trade partners. Read more “EU Council Agrees Guidelines for EC Engagement in the Negotiation of Transitional Arrangements with the UK”

Global Sugar Market Trends Could Increase Pressure on ACP Exporters to the EU Market

Summary
The EC has argued sugar imports under the CXL scheme will be discouraged in the coming period, given the much lower average EU market price premium. However world market sugar prices have got off to a bad start in 2018, losing 10.4% of their value by mid-January. These lower average world market sugar prices, by increasing the EU market price premium to around 22% above the EU’s CXL duty could encourage increased volumes of CXL sugar imports into the EU. This would then intensify competition for ACP sugar suppliers, in the context of a halving of EU import demand. This could potentially accelerate the process by which high cost ACP suppliers are squeezed out of the EU sugar market. Read more “Global Sugar Market Trends Could Increase Pressure on ACP Exporters to the EU Market”

Declining Prices of Dark Meat Intensify Competition for African Poultry Producers

Summary
While on global market price of whole chickens and breast meat remain strong, ‘dark’ meat prices are falling. This is a source of concern to sub-Saharan African poultry producers. Leading EU poultry producers are increasingly targeting African market. In this context an over vigorous implementation of EPA commitments on the elimination of non-tariff barriers to import from the EU could see African markets increasingly opened up to rapidly expanding EU poultry meat exports.  This could carry serious consequences for African poultry meat producers, in a context where considerable rural income earning opportunities can be generated along poultry feed supply chains. Read more “Declining Prices of Dark Meat Intensify Competition for African Poultry Producers”

Health Based Sugar Taxes Gaining Ground Globally

Summary
Health based sugar taxes are increasingly a global phenomenon, with sugar taxes now in use or pending in Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America, North America, Asia, Australasia, the Middle East, and Africa. The prospect of sugar taxes is also stimulating food and drink industry product reformulation initiatives, with varying levels of industry commitment. Some ACP sugar exporters are responding to shifting patterns of global demand growth and moving away from their traditional EU focus. All ACP sugar exporters will need a better understanding of the end use to which their sugar exports are put in order to assess their vulnerability to  trends in reduced use of ‘hidden sugars’ in the food and drinks industry. Read more “Health Based Sugar Taxes Gaining Ground Globally”

Implications of Improving Phytosanitary Control Systems for the Attainment of SDGs

Summary

Investments in strengthening SPS control systems in ACP countries can only be effective in contributing to the SDG objectives of poverty eradication and ending hunger if complemented by additional initiatives. Firstly initiatives to end unfair trading practices (UTPs) along ACP-EU agro-food sector supply chains through the extension of scheduled EU regulatory initiatives to combat UTPs to ACP-EU supply chains. Secondly initiatives to improve the design and implementation of EU SPS control requirements in ways which take into account the mode of production used by smallholder producers, while ensuring the integrity of arrangement for attaining underlying SPS policy objectives. Read more “Implications of Improving Phytosanitary Control Systems for the Attainment of SDGs”