ACP banana exporters and Brexit

Brexit is likely to give rise to 3 distinct challenges for ACP banana exporters: retaining preferential access to the UK market; dealing with the market consequences of a possible abolition of duties on banana imports into the UK; dealing with the increased competition on EU27 markets as a result of the application of banana sector TRQs under bilaterally negotiated EU FTAs. While to date overall ACP banana exporters have expanded their exports to the EU28 despite expanded TRQ access for $ banana suppliers, the situation varies greatly between different ACP exporters. With Caribbean small island banana exporters largely being squeezed out of EU markets since 2007. However, the past strong trade performance of some ACP banana exporters since 2007 is no guarantee of future competitiveness. Market adjustment support may be required to ACP producers and exporters in adjusting to the market consequences of Brexit in the banana sector. The EC will also need to take account of the impact of expanded TRQ access on ACP banana suppliers in its application of the stabilisation mechanism set in place to protect EU banana producers. Read more “ACP banana exporters and Brexit”

Difficult context for Guyanese sugar sector restructuring faced

The government of Guyana has announced plans to restructure and downsize the sugar sector, with a focus on the production of direct consumption and specialty sugars for national regional and preferential markets. Revenue diversification through electricity co-generation will also be promoted. Guyana will need to strengthen its marketing infrastructure if it is to be able to compete on regional markets, given the wider trade consequences of EU sugar sector reforms. While EU markets will no longer be a focus, opportunities could exist for the development of new partnerships for the marketing of specialty sugars in Europe.  Read more “Difficult context for Guyanese sugar sector restructuring faced”

EC rejects SAPA allegations of dumping of poultry parts

In the face of an ongoing campaign against poultry meat imports from the EU led by SAPA, the EC continues to deny accusations of ‘dumping’, placing a very narrow construction on the concept. While the AI outbreaks have provided some short term relief to the South African poultry sector, this is not seen as providing a long term solution. Calls by the South African authorities for an international initiative to address the structural surplus of ‘brown meat’ on international markets, continue to be ignored by the European Commission. Read more “EC rejects SAPA allegations of dumping of poultry parts”

Footloose nature of EU poultry meat exports to Africa highlighted by AI restrictions

While AI outbreaks are expected to reduce EU poultry exports in 2017, there is no evidence of this in the first two months of 2017, with strong growth in EU exports to sub-Saharan African markets north of South Africa. Recent corporate takeovers in the poultry sector could lead to a strengthening of the focus on sub-Saharan African markets. Recent trends highlight the ‘footloose’ nature of EU poultry meat exports, with markets being sought where minimal import controls are applied. Read more “Footloose nature of EU poultry meat exports to Africa highlighted by AI restrictions”

EU Delegate makes case for Nigerian signature of West African EPA

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”

Gambia Withdraws Import Ban on Onions and Potatoes


The government of Gambia has lifted a ban on imports of onions and potatoes, with female onion producers criticising the move and calling for seasonal restrictions and greater support for local producers. Experience in Senegal suggests there may be a role for seasonal restrictions in stimulating investment in local production. Experience in Namibia meanwhile highlights how successful the use of trade policy measures can be in stimulating local production, if the necessary infrastructure, organisational and administrative capacities are already in place. Read more “Gambia Withdraws Import Ban on Onions and Potatoes”

WTO quotas pose thorny problems for agriculture sector in Brexit negotiations

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”

Nigerian government adopts trade measures against tomato imports

The Nigerian government has announced new trade measures in support of the local tomato sector. However such measures would be likely to fall foul of the provisions of the EU-West Africa economic partnership agreement related to tariff standstill commitments and the ‘prohibition of quantitative restrictions’. Beyond these EPA related policy complications, trade policy tools can only be effective in supporting agricultural development if they are deployed as an integral part of wider government programmes aimed at comprehensively addressing infrastructural, policy and logistical constraints on the efficient functioning of local agri-food sector supply chains.
Read more “Nigerian government adopts trade measures against tomato imports”

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


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”

EU dairy companies commit to help building milk-to dairy supply chains in Nigeria

There is a need for greater coordination between EU dairy cooperatives in their efforts to promote the development of milk-to-dairy supply chains in Nigeria. This includes in regard to the establishment of code of conduct on responsible trade and investment engagement in the Nigerian dairy sector. However the Nigerian government will also need to make sustained efforts to address infrastructural and logistical constraints on the development of competitive milk supply chains. Arla continues to grapple with the challenge of reconciling its commitment to not undermining the position of local farmers and its commercial interests linked to its core profit maximisation obligations to its farmer owners. Read more “EU dairy companies commit to help building milk-to dairy supply chains in Nigeria”