USDA projects lower EU sugar price post production quota abolition

Summary

While USDA maintains EU sugar prices will need to fall if EU projections for growth in sugar exports in the post-quota period are to be met, this neglects the long experience EU sugar companies have of operating within a dual price system. It is possible substantial price premiums could be maintained on the EU sugar market, with this raising the issue of what regulatory initiatives are required to ensure traditional ACP suppliers share in any EU sugar market prices premiums. This would appear to require an extension of the EC’s current regulatory initiative on UTPs to ACP-EU sugar supply chains. This could potentially include regulatory requirements mirroring those which govern relations between domestic EU sugar beet growers and EU sugar beet millers. Read more “USDA projects lower EU sugar price post production quota abolition”

Tereos Expanding its Presence the East African Sugar Sector

Summary

The planned growth in beet production by Tereos growers in France and the expansion of sugar production in the Czech Republic, alongside concerns over a possible Brexit related disruption of exports to the UK is seeing a major international export drive being launched. While South Asia the main target market, a sales office has also been opened in Nairobi. Tereos also has an expanding sugar cane production presence in East Africa. These developments could greatly increase competition for less competitive African sugar producers.

Expanded EU sugar exports could also contribute to stalling ant recovery in global sugar prices, which would be bad news for all African sugar exporters, given EU price developments will increasingly shadow world market price trends post sugar production quota abolition. Read more “Tereos Expanding its Presence the East African Sugar Sector”

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.

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

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 government commits to extending EBA access for LDCs post Brexit

Summary

The UK has committed to extending in the immediate post-Brexit period the non-reciprocal duty free access granted LDCs under the EU’s current EBA initiative. However action was expected given the long standing UK support for duty free-quota free (DFQF) access for LDCs. The issue has always been whether current DFQF access enjoyed by ACP non-LDCs would be extended from 30th March 2019. This issue remains unclear, with the UK government solely making a commitment to explore options for maintaining existing trade arrangements. Read more “UK government commits to extending EBA access for LDCs post Brexit”

Need to restore differentiation in trade rules in support of structural transformation in Africa

Summary
Trade Minister Davies reflections on South Africa’s experience of trade liberalisation, which, with hindsight it is held, moved too rapidly for the countries capacity to adjust, potentially holds important lessons for ACP countries as they move towards the implementation of the EPAs concluded with the EU. It suggests ACP governments need to work together to ensure EPAs are interpreted and applied in a flexible and differentiated fashion, which places centre stage the structural economic transformation needs of ACP countries. This will need to be a central component of the forthcoming ACP-EU post-Cotonou negotiations, as well as on-going ACP Ministerial discussion on EPA implementation. Read more “Need to restore differentiation in trade rules in support of structural transformation in Africa”

USDA Highlights EU’s Continued Use of Protectionist Tools in the Agro-Food Sector

 

Summary
USDA highlights the EU’s continued use of protectionist trade tools in its agro-food sector. This boosts EU export competitiveness, which can harm ACP agricultural sectors (e.g. dairy and poultry sector development). EU practices contrasts sharply with EU policy prescriptions in an EPA context. This calls for the flexible interpretation and application of EPA commitments given the overriding importance of agriculture to livelihoods in many ACP countries. Read more “USDA Highlights EU’s Continued Use of Protectionist Tools in the Agro-Food Sector”

UK NGOs call for new gold standard UK unilateral preferential trade arrangement

Summary
UK NGOs are critical of proposals to transpose current EU reciprocal trade arrangements into bilateral UK trade deals with ACP countries. UK NGOs favour a new ‘gold standard’ of unilateral non-reciprocal trade preferences which extends beyond current such arrangements. However it is difficult to see how such non-reciprocal trade arrangements can be reconciled with the UK governments’ over-riding preoccupation with maintaining and expanding access for UK exporters to non-EU markets via bilateral UK free trade agreements Read more “UK NGOs call for new gold standard UK unilateral preferential trade arrangement”

Capacity constraints and complexities of ‘grandfathering’  highlighted by Parliament Report

Summary
There is a lack clarity on the legal possibilities for ‘grandfathering’ existing reciprocal preferential trade arrangements into bilateral deals with the UK. There are also serious human resource capacity constraints on the UK governments ability to simultaneously negotiate more than a handful of free trade area agreements. This is likely to require a prioritisation of UK FTA negotiations, with smaller ACP countries potentially being left out in the cold. This suggest a need for a coordinated ACP initiative to establish a joint ACP-DIT working group to explore

a) the establishment of transitional unilateral arrangements to prevent any disruption of current ACP access to the UK market and

b) simplified modalities for refitting existing EPAs into bilateral trade agreements with the UK, including the addition of a range of necessary ‘EPA+’ elements. Read more “Capacity constraints and complexities of ‘grandfathering’  highlighted by Parliament Report”

Britain’s continued commitment to Africa post Brexit asserted in context of global drive for free trade

Summary
The UK government sees clear commercial benefits in avoiding a disruptive cliff edge in trade relations with Africa, particularly South Africa, the UK’s gateway to Africa. There has been a surge of UK Ministerial visits to Africa. The UK appears diplomatic open to refitting EU EPAs into bilateral deals with the UK. The UK’s Africa focus risks leaving Caribbean and Pacific ACP countries out in the cold. The ACP group collectively will need to capitalize on the UK’s commercial interest in Africa to ensure existing preferential access to the UK is extended for all ACP countries from day 1 of the UK’s departure from the EU. Existing reciprocal arrangements can subsequently be refitted, with appropriate adjustments. Read more “Britain’s continued commitment to Africa post Brexit asserted in context of global drive for free trade”