Proposed EC Regulatory Initiative on UTPs Needs to be Extended to ACP-EU Supply Chains

Summary

The EC is currently undertaking consultations on new proposals to reduce unfair trading practices (UTPs), to which farmers are seen as being particularly vulnerable. UTPs are seen as stifling innovation and undermining on-farm investment through reducing the commercial viability of farming activities. The envisaged regulations aim to ensure a fairer distribution of value along agricultural supply chains, and increase both farm incomes and on-farm investment.

There is an urgent need to extend EU regulations on UTPs to ACP-EU supply chains since in some major sectors abuses of the weak market position of smallholder producers are endemic. Investments in poverty focused export orientated smallholder production will be undermined unless issues of UTPs along ACP-EU supply chains are addressed. Read more “Proposed EC Regulatory Initiative on UTPs Needs to be Extended to ACP-EU Supply Chains”

Hard Brexit Could Severely Disrupt EU27-UK Agro-Food Sector Trade

Summary

While the EU has been urged to ‘take a more active role in trying to shape a Brexit outcome that is least damaging to its interests’, the ACP Group needs to ensure this approach is extended to the EU’s traditional developing country partners such as the ACP Group.  It is becoming increasingly apparent that for major ACP agro-food export product groups, Brexit could have a major impact on the functioning of existing ACP supply chains currently serving the EU28 market.  This needs to be fully assessed so that as the Brexit negotiations develop the key priorities for administrative and regulatory initiatives and marketing adjustment support are identified.    Read more “Hard Brexit Could Severely Disrupt EU27-UK Agro-Food Sector Trade”

Agro-Food Sector Effects of the Application of MFN Duties on EU27-UK Trade: An Area of Potential ACP Concern and Opportunity

 

Summary

If MFN duties are introduced on EU27-UK trade as a result of a failure to reach a new trade agreement this could disrupt existing ACP supply chains. However such a development could also present opportunities for ACP countries to expand their direct exports of value added products to the UK in sectors such as the cocoa sector.  Marketing adjustment and investment support however could be needed to enable ACP exporters to respond positively to the challenges which lie ahead. Read more “Agro-Food Sector Effects of the Application of MFN Duties on EU27-UK Trade: An Area of Potential ACP Concern and Opportunity”

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”

French producers lead way in expanding EU sugar beet production despite low global sugar prices

Summary

Both Tereos and Cristal Union have announced plans to expand sugar beet plantings by 25% in the 2017/18 season, as EU sugar companies’ battle for market position in a post-production quota EU market. The corresponding contraction of sugar production in areas less favoured for sugar production is however undermined by continued deployment of coupled sugar specific sugar to producers in 10 EU member states accounting for 35% of the total area under sugar beet in the EU in 2016/17. These payments range from €67 to €518 per ha. The trade effects of these policy driven distortions will be most severely felt by traditionally preferred ACP sugar exporters, as EU sugar imports contract and exports expand. ACP sugar exporters will need to radically rethink their market positioning strategies if they are to profitably export to the EU. Read more “French producers lead way in expanding EU sugar beet production despite low global sugar prices”

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”

Difficult context for Guyanese sugar sector restructuring faced

Summary
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”

Sustainability: Choosing between beet sugar and cane sugar

Summary
While sustainability considerations are not yet a major concern in sugar sourcing, developments in the cocoa and palm oil sectors suggest it will be only a matter of time before sustainability certification is increasingly demanded by food and beverage manufacturers in the EU.  the Bonsucro initiative is an attempt to get ahead of the curve on sustainability certification in the sugar sector. To date however there has been little engagement by ACP sugar exporters in the Bonsucro initiative. Given smallholder sugar producers struggle to obtain sustainability certification there appears to be a case for EU supported ‘aid for sustainability’ programmes to ensure smallholder sugar producers are not systematically discriminated against. Read more “Sustainability: Choosing between beet sugar and cane sugar”

USDA foresees greater price instability as EU sugar production quotas end

Summary
USDA confirms a projected 2.1 million tonnes expansion in EU sugar production, which will transform the EU’s sugar trade position. While this is likely to create far from promising prospects for ACP sugar exporters, capacity utilisation maximisation considerations of individual beet processors could create new opportunities for ACP raw cane sugar exporters. USDA also see’s potential opportunities for raw cane sugar exports to the Southern and eastern periphery of the EU. This will require ACP sugar exporters to get much closer to individual dedicated EU raw cane sugar refiners in the Southern and Eastern periphery of the EU and individual sugar beet co-refiners in core EU sugar beet producing regions. Read more “USDA foresees greater price instability as EU sugar production quotas end”

Multiple challenges pending for ACP sugar exporters

Summary
The production and trade consequences of the abolition of EU sugar and isoglucose quotas are just the tip of an iceberg of challenges facing ACP cane sugar exporters. These developments will be compounded by the uncertain prospects for global sugar markets and the UK’s pending departure from the EU. The overall situation is further complicated by sustained regulatory pressure to reduce the sugar content of processed food and drink products, both in Europe and beyond, and the growing availability of alternative sweeteners. This will create a context where only the most efficient ACP sugar cane industries are likely to be able to compete on the EU27 and the UK markets.  Read more “Multiple challenges pending for ACP sugar exporters”