More Proactive Role Emerging for EC in Promoting Common Application of EU SPS Measures?

Summary
Spanish pressure for the harmonised implementation of SPS controls across appears to be bearing some fruit, with an EC audit underway of SPS control systems at the main EU port of entry for South Africa citrus, Rotterdam. The Spanish industry is seeking to use new stricter EU FCM controls to ensure commercially damaging cold store treatment protocols are set in place, despite sustained South African efforts to combat both CBS and FCM. The ACP collectively needs to seek assurances form the EU Council that:

  1. SPS measures will not be used as a new form of protectionism;
  2. The EU remains committed to ensuring SPS measures are minimally trade distorting;
  3. The design and implementation of EU SPS measures will take account of the need of smallholder producers for low cost systems of compliance attainment and verification.

Read more “More Proactive Role Emerging for EC in Promoting Common Application of EU SPS Measures?”

Brexit concerns despite strong growth in EU banana consumption

Summary
Strong growth in banana consumption, particularly in Eastern Europe, is supporting a strong  increase in banana imports. Unfortunately this is based on alarmingly low prices, which are stripping value from the banana supply chain.  ACP exporter bear the brunt of this loss of value. Meanwhile EU banana producers are complaining trade agreement banana safeguard provisions are not be activated, despite import increases beyond safeguard trigger levels. EU banana producers are also concerned over the impact of Brexit on the functioning of EU27 banana markets. This dimension, and possible future post-Brexit UK banana trade policies are potentially of concerns to ACP banana exporters. Read more “Brexit concerns despite strong growth in EU banana consumption”

EU Pacific EPA Trade Committee Meet, but with no discussion of the impact of BREXIT

Summary

While the meeting dealt with market access obligations, this focused on the obligations of  Pacific signatories towards the EU.  There was no discussion of the implications of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on the value of the market access enjoyed by Pacific signatories to the EU under the EPA. With the prospects for a ‘hard BREXIT’ increasing, getting to grips with the implications for the value of EPA market access for Pacific EPA signatories in the absence of the UK would appear to be some important issue for discussion at the next Pacific-EU EPA Trade Committee meeting. Read more “EU Pacific EPA Trade Committee Meet, but with no discussion of the impact of BREXIT”

Tourist Sectors Vital Role in Horticulture Exports to EU

Summary
A large well established tourism sector can provide significant opportunities for the export of high value low volume horticulture products to the EU.  This is particular where tourist flights service horticulture product distribution hubs. A ‘hard’ Brexit however could bring into question the use of these hubs in serving the UK market. A Freshfel report has outlined the disruption ‘hard’ Brexit could give rise to. Some of these adverse impacts could be ameliorated by administrative cooperation between ACP, EU27 and UK authorities. The ACP Secretariat could usefully launch initiatives in these areas. Read more “Tourist Sectors Vital Role in Horticulture Exports to EU”

State of play in the Brexit negotiations implications for the ACP: November 30th 2017

Summary
This article reviews the state of play in the 1st phase of Brexit negotiations on the eve of the deadline for the circulation of draft conclusions for the EU Council meeting scheduled for the 14/15 December 2017.  It then seeks to review the possible implications for ACP agro-food sectors of the current state of play. Read more “State of play in the Brexit negotiations implications for the ACP: November 30th 2017”

Exports of pineapples from Benin to EU to resume, but functioning of supply chain also needs strengthening

 

Summary
Improvements in the food safety control system in Benin are reopening the EU market to pineapple exporters.  This is seen as having the potential to boost both employment and farm incomes. However Ghanaian exporters have identified UTPs along the pineapple supply chains which undermine the commercial viability of pineapple production for export.  Against this background there would appear to be little point in investing in stronger food safety and SPS control systems if the issue of UTPs in Africa-EU agro-food sector supply chains are not addressed, since these can undermine the commercial viability of investments made in both expanding production for export and ensuring effective national food safety and SPS control systems. Read more “Exports of pineapples from Benin to EU to resume, but functioning of supply chain also needs strengthening”

‘Hard’ Brexit Could Create Fruit and Vegetable Shortages in the UK

Summary

There are growing concerns that a ‘hard’ Brexit could lead to serious fruit and vegetable shortages on the UK market.  However if an extension of the current duty free-quota free access to the UK market could be extended from day 1 of the UK’s full departure from the EU, then a ‘hard’ Brexit could present opportunities for certain ACP fruit and vegetable exporters. In this regard East African suppliers would appear to be best placed to exploit any opportunities which might emerge. While there is considerable uncertainty over how EU27/UK trade relations will develop in the coming years, planning for a ‘hard’ Brexit scenario could usefully be initiated. Read more “‘Hard’ Brexit Could Create Fruit and Vegetable Shortages in the UK”

Sugar Reduction Campaign Taking Hold Globally

Summary

Health based campaigns to reduce ‘hidden’ sugars in food and drink products are gaining ground across the globe. This is beginning to impact on global sugar consumption, global consumption is projected to fall over 700,000 tonnes in the coming year despite the current low prices. The trend towards reduced sugar use in food and drink products is being aided by the development of alternative sweeteners which are better suited to use in processed food and drinks. In this context individual ACP sugar exporters will need to develop a better understanding of which components of the market their exports serve and if necessary, develop market repositioning initiatives aimed at reducing their vulnerability to the current health campaigns which are targeting high sugar content food and drink products. Read more “Sugar Reduction Campaign Taking Hold Globally”

Lifting of EU Ban May Provide Little Relief for Ghanaian Vegetable Exporters

Summary

While the EU Delegation in Ghana has heralded the scheduled lifting of the EU ban on imports of specified vegetable from Ghana on 1st January 2018, the trade benefits of this measure could be undermined by the stricter SPS control requirements on False Coddling Moth scheduled to be introduced by the EU from 1st January 2018. This could potentially place a significant additional administrative burden on the competent authority to verify compliance with EU requirements, with any failure to satisfy stricter EU requirements leading to market closure. This is an issue not only for Ghana but 20 other ACP countries engaged in exporting capsicum and pimento to the EU.  How the situation evolves in regard to ACP exports of capsicum and pimento in 2018 will provide a concrete example of the kind of impact which stricter EU Plant Health Regulation requirements are likely to have on a range of ACP fresh plant exports to the EU. Read more “Lifting of EU Ban May Provide Little Relief for Ghanaian Vegetable Exporters”

Food price inflation effects of Brexit seen as sensitive by the UK Government

Summary

While the UK government refuses to release an official assessment of the impact of Brexit on food prices, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) suggests ‘the average cost of food imported by retailers from the EU would increase by 22%’ under a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario. A ‘no deal’ Brexit could create opportunities for some ACP exporters to the UK market if current DFQF access can be preserved from day 1 of Brexit.  However, this will require ACP exporters to meet logistical challenges faced in expanding just-in-time deliveries to UK retailers. This is an issue which the most favourably placed ACP exporters will need to start exploring with British Retail Consortium members in the coming months (e.g. Kenya for certain horticulture products). Read more “Food price inflation effects of Brexit seen as sensitive by the UK Government”