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”

Fears over impact EU SMP stocks on global dairy prices being realized

Summary

There is growing international concern over the impact of accumulated EU skimmed milk powder (SMP) intervention stocks on global milk powder prices. Fears over future EU stock disposal plans, are weighing down global SMP prices. Given the extent to which SMP import prices act as a benchmark for local fresh milk prices, this is an issue of particular concern in ACP countries seeking to develop local milk-to-dairy supply chains. To avert the disruption of efforts in ACP countries to develop local milk-to-dairy supply chains the EU needs to tolerate the continued use of controls on all forms of milk powder imports in those countries where local milk supply development programmes are underway. Read more “Fears over impact EU SMP stocks on global dairy prices being realized”

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”

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”

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”

UK WTO representative seeks to clarify future UK trade treatment of developing countries

Addendum to Article
UK government commits to extending EBA access for LDCs post Brexit

Following on from the 24th June 2017 UK government statement entitled ‘Government pledges improved post-Brexit access to UK markets for world’s poorest countries’(1), the UK representative to the UN and Other International Organisations in Geneva sought to clarify UK policy towards non-LDC developing countries.  In a letter to fellow representatives to the UN, which was copied to WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo, Julian Braithwaite declared the UK government’s commitment to ‘avoiding disruption for our trading partners as we leave the European Union’. It was stated ‘the UK has decided to replicate its existing trade regime in the WTO in new UK-only schedules’. This was announced on response to questions from WTO members as to ‘what will happen to the nearly £20 billion of exports to the UK from developing countries who benefit from special tariff preferences’. Read more “UK WTO representative seeks to clarify future UK trade treatment of developing countries”

EU Delegate makes case for Nigerian signature of West African EPA

Summary
The EU delegate to Nigeria and ECOWAS maintains West Africa’s economic development interests and not EU commercial interests underpin the EU-West Africa EPA, citing the range of measures aimed at protecting sensitive sectors in West Africa, such as the agri-food sector.  However this ignores the likely trade effects in the agri-food sector of West African commitments contained in the EPA on the elimination of non-tariff barriers to imports from the EU. How these EPA provisions are interpreted and applied in practice will be critical to the future evolution of EU agri-food exports to markets like Nigeria.  If Nigerian concerns over the trade and economic consequences of EPA implementation are to be addressed, the EU Council of Ministers will need to commit to subordinating the interpretation and application of any EU-West Africa EPA provisions to the structural economic transformation aspirations of West African governments and societies. Read more “EU Delegate makes case for Nigerian signature of West African EPA”

WTO quotas pose thorny problems for agriculture sector in Brexit negotiations

Summary
Dividing up WTO TRQ obligations between the UK and EU27 could provoke discontent amongst WTO members over how this impacts on their existing rights and market opportunities. Such discontent could reduce the prospects of securing the acceptance by WTO members of any unilateral transitional arrangements which may be required to ensure continuity of current ACP access to the UK from day 1 of the UK’s formal departure from the EU.
Read more “WTO quotas pose thorny problems for agriculture sector in Brexit negotiations”

South Africa satisfied with current progress on Brexit related discussions with the UK

 

Summary
Despite the ‘in principle’ understanding that existing EPA commitments should be the basis of a future bilateral South Africa-UK agreement, any attempt at ‘grandfathering-in’ on a bilateral basis of existing EU negotiated reciprocal trade preferences, outside of a formal WTO compatible FTA, could face strong opposition from other WTO members.

Any efforts to ensure a re-fitted reciprocal trade agreement is in place from day 1 of Brexit could face difficulties around the question of the dividing up of existing quota restricted access for EU28 exports and the need to address the concerns of other SACU members in their future trade relations with the UK (notably those arising from the erosion of the value of traditional preferential access linked to changes in UK agricultural and agricultural trade policies post-Brexit).

Finally any early South Africa-UK bilateral trade deal could reduce the incentive for the UK government to address the concerns of the broader ACP Group in terms of their future access to the UK market. Read more “South Africa satisfied with current progress on Brexit related discussions with the UK”

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”