‘Hard’ Brexit Could Create Fruit and Vegetable Shortages in the UK

Summary

There are growing concerns that a ‘hard’ Brexit could lead to serious fruit and vegetable shortages on the UK market.  However if an extension of the current duty free-quota free access to the UK market could be extended from day 1 of the UK’s full departure from the EU, then a ‘hard’ Brexit could present opportunities for certain ACP fruit and vegetable exporters. In this regard East African suppliers would appear to be best placed to exploit any opportunities which might emerge. While there is considerable uncertainty over how EU27/UK trade relations will develop in the coming years, planning for a ‘hard’ Brexit scenario could usefully be initiated. Read more “‘Hard’ Brexit Could Create Fruit and Vegetable Shortages in the UK”

Lifting of EU Ban May Provide Little Relief for Ghanaian Vegetable Exporters

Summary

While the EU Delegation in Ghana has heralded the scheduled lifting of the EU ban on imports of specified vegetable from Ghana on 1st January 2018, the trade benefits of this measure could be undermined by the stricter SPS control requirements on False Coddling Moth scheduled to be introduced by the EU from 1st January 2018. This could potentially place a significant additional administrative burden on the competent authority to verify compliance with EU requirements, with any failure to satisfy stricter EU requirements leading to market closure. This is an issue not only for Ghana but 20 other ACP countries engaged in exporting capsicum and pimento to the EU.  How the situation evolves in regard to ACP exports of capsicum and pimento in 2018 will provide a concrete example of the kind of impact which stricter EU Plant Health Regulation requirements are likely to have on a range of ACP fresh plant exports to the EU. Read more “Lifting of EU Ban May Provide Little Relief for Ghanaian Vegetable Exporters”

Food price inflation effects of Brexit seen as sensitive by the UK Government

Summary

While the UK government refuses to release an official assessment of the impact of Brexit on food prices, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) suggests ‘the average cost of food imported by retailers from the EU would increase by 22%’ under a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario. A ‘no deal’ Brexit could create opportunities for some ACP exporters to the UK market if current DFQF access can be preserved from day 1 of Brexit.  However, this will require ACP exporters to meet logistical challenges faced in expanding just-in-time deliveries to UK retailers. This is an issue which the most favourably placed ACP exporters will need to start exploring with British Retail Consortium members in the coming months (e.g. Kenya for certain horticulture products). Read more “Food price inflation effects of Brexit seen as sensitive by the UK Government”

Pre-emptive export restrictions introduced on South African citrus exports to EU

Summary

The Citrus Growers Association has once again introduced voluntary restrictions on citrus exports to the EU in order to avert any threat of formal EU import restrictions. While the South African citrus industry is looking forward to new export opportunities as a result of the Brexit process, these opportunities may well be deferred if a two year transition period is agreed. During this period the UK would need to remain subject to EU rules and regulation. The prospect of such a two year transition period however remains clouded by uncertainty, given the contrasting views of the UK government and EU negotiators on the time it will take to agree a long term EU27-UK trade framework. Read more “Pre-emptive export restrictions introduced on South African citrus exports to EU”

New EU Plant Health Regulation Could Carry Important Implications for Smaller Scale ACP Exporters

Summary

The EU’s new Plant Health Regulation adopts a far more comprehensive and proactive precautionary approach than at present. It will lead to far stricter SPS controls on ‘priority pests’ in ‘high risk commodities’. For these products from 13 December 2019 trade will be prohibited without a favourable pest risk assessment.  In this context the regulation makes provision for temporary EU restrictions and import bans where the pest risk is unknown.

Given the timetable for secondary legislation, in calendar year 2019 ACP competent authorities in countries exporting high risk commodities could face substantial additional demands on their human and financial resources in terms of pest mapping and  monitoring and operationalisation of effective pest control programmes. Smaller scale ACP exporters of high risk commodities could be particularly vulnerable, given the whole process will also impose substantial additional burdens on the EU SPS inspection service and these smaller exporting  countries may not be a priority for pest risk assessment, even if requests for assessments are submitted in a timely manner by the national competent authority . Read more “New EU Plant Health Regulation Could Carry Important Implications for Smaller Scale ACP Exporters”

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”

Dutch onion exports hit further record highs with West African markets playing a  critical role

Summary

Dutch onion exports continue to grow with ACP markets, particularly in West Africa being major destination markets. Since 2010 the importance of ACP markets to extra-EU Dutch onion exports has increased from 57.6% to 62.5%, with ACP market increasing in importance whenever difficulties are faced on other third country markets. This suggest any disruption of Dutch-UK onion exports arising from a hard-Brexit could rebound in terms of increased Dutch onion exports to ACP markets.  This in turn could adversely impact on local efforts across the ACP to expand local production of onions for national and regional markets Read more “Dutch onion exports hit further record highs with West African markets playing a  critical role”

Concerns over Division of EU28 WTO TRQ Commitments Emerge

 

Summary
Dividing up existing EU WTO TRQ market access commitments a between the EU27 and UK, could prove controversial as third country exporters seek to retain their access to the EU market, while seeking increased access to the UK market. Failure to reach agreement on the divisions of EU WTO TRQs could generate resentment amongst WTO members, with this leading to challenges to any transitional arrangements for ensuring ACP countries retain preferential access to the UK market which are not fully WTO compatible. Read more “Concerns over Division of EU28 WTO TRQ Commitments Emerge”

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”

Global Market Context Far From Favourable in the Context of the End of EU Sugar Production Quotas

Summary

Projected global sugar price trends are unlikely to support EU sugar prices in the post quota abolition period. Caribbean and pacific ACP sugar exporters will be potentially the most vulnerable to EU price declines over the 2017/18 season. This situation could then be compounded by the sugar market effects of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, currently scheduled for 30th March 2019.  These effects however may be deferred following Prime Minister May’s acceptance that during the implementation period (transitional period) UK/EU27 trade would need to take place within ‘the existing structure of EU rules and regulations’.

Nevertheless there remain profound policy uncertainties around UK sugar market developments which make any projections of likely developments hazardous. Against this background over the coming years ACP sugar exporters will need to closely monitor developments in the Brexit negotiations and the evolution of UK’s autonomous trade policies as they impact on the sugar sector, in order to identify and exploit any market opportunities which might emerge. Read more “Global Market Context Far From Favourable in the Context of the End of EU Sugar Production Quotas”