Dramatic Changes Ahead in the EU Sugar Market

The EU sugar sector is entering a new period in its development with the abolition of sugar production quotas: boosting production at the same time as domestic consumption is contracting; lowering average prices; and doubling exports at the same time as imports are halved. This will impact not only on domestic EU markets but also international markets, given the growing global orientation of EU sugar companies and the increased price competitiveness of EU sugar production. This will transform the market context facing ACP sugar exporters as well as the competitive position of ACP producers on regional markets. This will make the continued use of non-tariff trade policy measures a critical policy issue.  This adverse market situation will be compounded by the market effects of Brexit, a policy development not yet factored into EC projections given the uncertainty surrounding the final EU27/UK post Brexit trade arrangements. Read more “Dramatic Changes Ahead in the EU Sugar Market”

South Africa and Ghanaian Poultry Industries to Joint Forces Against EU Dumping of Poultry Parts

Poultry producers and trade unions in South Africa and Ghana have joined the FairPlay anti-dumping movement in opposing dumping of EU poultry parts on African markets. In West Africa, the EU poultry trade is seen as fuelling migration pressures. Given the scale of EU exports to 38 sub-Saharan African countries, this is a pan-African issue. Pressures on EU exporters to find new markets beyond the EU’s borders will increase in the coming years driven by expanding EU production, accelerating export growth and possible Brexit related trade disruptions. The experience under the EU-South Africa trade agreement suggests action by African governments will need to reach beyond tariff measures, although the use of non-tariff measures will increasingly be constrained by the obligations entered into by African governments under the EPAs concluded with the EU.

More broadly EU trade practices (e.g. the import of live chickens from Ukraine for slaughtering in the EU) suggests a need for stricter traceability requirements and the enforcement of rules or origin requirements under trade agreements with the EU. Read more “South Africa and Ghanaian Poultry Industries to Joint Forces Against EU Dumping of Poultry Parts”

Namibian Grape Exporters Looking For More Direct Route to EU Market



Namibian grape exporters are exploring more cost effective ways of shipping cargo to EU markets. These discussions could usefully factor in the possibility of a ‘hard’ Brexit given the concerns being expressed by the European fruit and vegetable industry and UK freight industry in regard to the severe congestion at channel ports which could arise if no agreement is in place once the UK leaves the EU on 29th March 2019. While government initiatives vis a vis the UK and EU authorities respectively in the context of SACU-UK and SADC-EU dialogues would appear to be essential, in order to retain preferential access to the UK market and avoid disruption of triangular supply chains, it will be up to private sector operators to get to grips with the logistical challenges which a ‘hard’ Brexit would give rise to. Read more “Namibian Grape Exporters Looking For More Direct Route to EU Market”

EC Communication on CAP Reform Could Potentially Have Some Lessons for ACP Countries

There are two areas of the EC communication on CAP reform which could have a bearing on ACP-EU agro-food sector relations: those aspects dealing with the external trade dimensions of the CAP (given the EU is the single largest farm exporter in the world) and those aspects dealing with internal EU policies on managing price volatility and market crisis situations. The EC continues to pay no attention to the impact implementation of EU agricultural policy measures have on ACP markets on which ACP agricultural producers and agro-processors depend.  The EC focuses on how EU trade policies will open up further opportunities for EU agro-food exporters, ignoring African aspirations for the structural development of their own agro-food sectors. The EC could usefully extend it current regulatory initiatives to combat unfair trading practices (UTPs) along agro-food supply chains to of ACP-EU agro-food product supply chains. It could also usefully extend some of its innovative models of loan financing for on-farm investment to ACP producers. Read more “EC Communication on CAP Reform Could Potentially Have Some Lessons for ACP Countries”

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

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?”

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


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

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

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


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”

Sugar Reduction Campaign Taking Hold Globally


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”