Can the Post Cotonou Negotiations Provide the Context for a Rethink of the EU’s EPA Policy?

Summary

While the debate in East Africa on the EAC-EU EPA continues, with the UNECA warning of the dangers posed by the agreement to the structural economic transformation of East Africa, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel has described the EPAs as ‘not right’ and possible in need of re-negotiation. A key issue will be laying the basis for EU trade agreements to contribute to the structural economic transformation of African agro-food sectors. This issue needs to be taken up in the post-Cotonou negotiations in order to:

  1. enshrine an EU commitment to the flexible and responsible implementation of EPA commitments in legally binding agreements;
  2. address the systematic bias against smallholder producers and small scale exporters which exists in design and implementation EU food safety and SPS control systems;
  3. extend the current EU regulatory initiative son UTPs to ACP-EU supply chains;
  4. revise the design of loan and investment support instruments to effectively meet the needs of local agricultural producers and agro-processing companies.

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Canadian dairy TRQ administration replicates earlier EC practices to consternation of EU Exporters

Summary

EU dairy exporters have complained Canada’s system for the allocation of the CETA cheese TRQ unfairly favours local manufacturers. The EU makes use of similar yet even more severe arrangements for TRQ administration in sensitive sectors, with under the EU-South Africa TDCA import licences being allocated only to ‘approved undertakings’ (EU dairy companies) on food safety grounds.  Important lessons in regard to how to ensure TRQ regulated imports under recently concluded EPAs do not undermine local producers can be learned from EU practices with regard to TRQ administration. These lessons could prove useful in ensuring that expanded imports from the EU in sensitive sectors do not undermine local agro-food sector development. Read more “Canadian dairy TRQ administration replicates earlier EC practices to consternation of EU Exporters”

EU plans to invest in agriculture in Africa to curb migration pressured need to address UTPs in Africa-EU agro-food sector supply chains

Summary

EU Agricultural Commissioner Hogan has called for investment to be mobilised in sustainable agro-food sector development in Africa to combat migration pressures. While an EU action plan is under development in this area, calls have been made for the EU to extend its planned regulatory initiative on Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs) to Africa-EU supply chains. Current widespread abusive practices by EU importers fall particularly heavily on smallholder farmers. Given its economic significance, this is an issue which the ACP Group could usefully take up in its post-Cotonou negotiations with the EU as part of the wider dialogue with the EU on migration issues. Read more “EU plans to invest in agriculture in Africa to curb migration pressured need to address UTPs in Africa-EU agro-food sector supply chains”

UK Area Under Sugar Beet Set to Surge

 

Summary

A major expansion of the area under sugar beet in the UK (+ 1/3) is planned in 2017/18, with potentially a further major expansion by 2020 if current investment plans of Al Khaleej International to re-establish sugar beet processing in Yorkshire are approved. While a failure to conclude a UK-EU27 trade agreement could open up new export opportunities for ACP sugar suppliers to the UK, this would be strongly influenced by future UK sugar sector tariff policy. If tariffs remain unchanged the source of ACP sugar imported into the UK could shift from the Caribbean and Pacific suppliers to lower cost Southern African suppliers. UK government policy statements suggest Southern African LDC sugar exporters would enjoy the most secure commitment to continued duty free-quota free access for sugar exports to the UK market post Brexit, providing them with an inside track in pending negotiations over supply agreements for 2019. Read more “UK Area Under Sugar Beet Set to Surge”

Analysts call for greater export focus for South African poultry sector

 

Summary

The South African poultry sector is being advised to promote exports as part of the solution to the challenge arising from the rapid expansion of imports of poultry meat form the EU. However, the EU is also expanding exports of low priced poultry parts to other sub-Saharan African markets, exporting to no less than 38 sub-Saharan African countries, with these markets now taking 47% of total extra-EU poultry meat exports. Neighbouring African governments are also seeking to develop their own poultry industries and are using various non-tariff trade policy tools in order to do so. 

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DIT SACU Discussions to Extend Current Access to the UK Market More than a Technical Exercise

Summary
During the July 2017 visit of UK Secretary of State Lord Price to Southern Africa a commitment was made to replicating current market access arrangements post-Brexit. However it remains unclear how this to be achieved. The transitional extension of existing reciprocal preferences could not only face serious opposition from WTO members but would be far from a simple ‘technical exercise’. New rules of origin which took account of the UK’s departure from the EU agreement would be essential, in order to establish which products qualified for ‘originating status as UK products. The alternative would amount to an absence of rules or origin. Either would be a substantive modification of the existing terms of the UK’s export trade. The future of Tariff rate Quota (TRQ) arrangements under the EU agreement would also need to be resolved in the immediate post Brexit period. Looking to the longer term, there are a multiplicity of non-tariff issues related to post-Brexit UK trade and agricultural policies which give rise to profound uncertainties over the future value of any post Brexit preferential trade arrangement with the UK for certain SACU members. Many of these uncertainties will need to be addressed before the future value of a bilateral trade deal with the UK can be fully assessed. Read more “DIT SACU Discussions to Extend Current Access to the UK Market More than a Technical Exercise”

Dominican Republic and West Africa lead way in growth in ACP Mango exports to the EU

 

Summary
ACP exports of mangoes to the EU have grown strongly, particularly since 2007, with further growth in EU consumer demand likely. While tariffs are not an issue in the mango sector, new trade agreements do appear to have boosted investment and facilitated expanded exports in both ACP and non-ACP countries in response to rising EU demand. Brexit is unlikely to pose any challenges for direct ACP mango exports to the UK, but could lead to problems if the absence of a UK-EU27 agreement, spills over into reduced cooperation on SPS and freight forwarding arrangements.  This is important in the mango sector given the role the Netherlands plays in the re-export trade across the EU, including to the UK. This issue needs to be closely monitored by those ACP exporters which are most likely to be affected. Read more “Dominican Republic and West Africa lead way in growth in ACP Mango exports to the EU”

Role of UK Groceries Code Adjudicator could be extended

Summary

The UK GCA performance has been praised for gradually changing supermarket practices, with a debate now underway on whether the scope of the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP) should be extended. Traidcraft has called for such an extension to address abuses which take place elsewhere in grocery supply chains served by developing country suppliers, who currently have no means of seeking redress. Strengthening the code to effectively cover all routes to market used by developing country suppliers is one important dimension of the current GCA review. A further important dimension is the important role which such regulatory initiatives can play in changing supermarket sourcing practices. This is an important issue given the growing role of foreign owned supermarkets across the ACP and the difficulties this poses for local agricultural producers in entering this expanding retail market component. Read more “Role of UK Groceries Code Adjudicator could be extended”

Pacific sustainable palm oil supply chains could face disruption from Brexit

Summary

A market positioning strategy has been adopted by Pacific island palm oil producers focused on the supply of fully traceable sustainably certified palm oil through a dedicated facility in the UK which then serves the whole of the EU28 market for fully traceable sustainable palm oil. Any failure to conclude an UK-EU27 trade agreement by 30 March 2019 could see a re-imposition of tariffs by the EU27 on Pacific palm oil processed in the UK. This could disrupt the functioning of existing Pacific palm oil supply chains and compound the challenges being faced by Pacific palm oil suppliers as a result of environmental and health campaigns in the EU against the use of palm oil in food products. Read more “Pacific sustainable palm oil supply chains could face disruption from Brexit”

Agriculture to be a Focus of the Renewed Africa-EU Partnership

Summary
Supporting African agro-food sector development given its employment, food security and rural development effects is nominally a focus of the proposed renewed Africa-EU partnership. However differences of opinion over what constitutes an appropriate ‘regulatory and policy framework’ for African agro-food sector development, alongside unacknowledged tensions between EU agro-food sector export objectives and African agro-food sector development aspirations, could pose serious challenges for a renewed Africa-EU partnership in this area.  Read more “Agriculture to be a Focus of the Renewed Africa-EU Partnership”