European development NGO-EU28 Brexit letter leaves important trade issues unaddressed

Summary
The UK and European development NGO platforms have sought engagement with the UK administration and the EC’s Brexit task force on the importance of ‘putting people and our planet first’ in the Brexit process. NGO concerns appear to be focused on securing continued engagement by the UK in EU and international development financing initiatives and continued collaboration in pursuit of the globally defined development agenda.  However, it is likely to be in the trade sphere where the effects of Brexit are first felt by developing countries. The economies of a number of ACP countries will be strongly adversely affected, unless the UK government establishes alternative national regulations extending the preferential market access currently enjoyed under EU trade agreements from day 1 of the UK’s formal departure from the EU (30 March 2019). Read more “European development NGO-EU28 Brexit letter leaves important trade issues unaddressed”

The UK elections, Brexit and agro-food sector trade

Summary
The UK election result creates further uncertainties around the Brexit process, making it even more necessary for ACP counties to secure an unequivocal commitment to the automatic, unilateral extension of existing terms and conditions of access for ACP exporters to the UK market from the date of the UK’s formal departure from the EU. Such arrangement would be transitional and would need to remain in place until reciprocal trade agreements can be negotiated and ratified to replace the existing EU negotiated economic partnership agreements. A precedent for such a unilateral UK regulation exists in the EU’s MAR 1528/2007. Read more “The UK elections, Brexit and agro-food sector trade”

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”

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”

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”

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”

New scheduled air serives open up opportunities for expanded Ghanaian fresh fruit exports to EU

 

Summary
New scheduled airline services between Accra and Paris could open up new opportunities for high value horticultural exports from Ghana to France. However sustainable development of such opportunities will be critically influenced by the competitiveness of freight rates offered.  Given the history of price collusion among scheduled airline on European freight service routes, this is an area where the European Commission will need to maintain close scrutiny. Read more “New scheduled air serives open up opportunities for expanded Ghanaian fresh fruit exports to EU”

UK NGOs call for new gold standard UK unilateral preferential trade arrangement

Summary
UK NGOs are critical of proposals to transpose current EU reciprocal trade arrangements into bilateral UK trade deals with ACP countries. UK NGOs favour a new ‘gold standard’ of unilateral non-reciprocal trade preferences which extends beyond current such arrangements. However it is difficult to see how such non-reciprocal trade arrangements can be reconciled with the UK governments’ over-riding preoccupation with maintaining and expanding access for UK exporters to non-EU markets via bilateral UK free trade agreements Read more “UK NGOs call for new gold standard UK unilateral preferential trade arrangement”

What are the implications for ACP sugar producers of Tate & Lyle Sugars expectations on UK sugar sector policy post-Brexit?

Summary
Tate & Lyle Sugars continues to put pressure on the UK government to use Brexit to level the playing field between beet processors and cane sugar refiners,  by removing import duties on raw cane sugar. The adoption of such a UK sugar trade policy would carry serious consequences for ACP sugar exporters to the UK market, undermining their competitive position as suppliers to the UK market and driving many out of the UK market. Trilateral customs cooperation arrangements could however be put in place, on a transitional basis, to minimise disruption of current supply chains which serve EU27 markets through the UK, not only in the sugar sector but beyond. Read more “What are the implications for ACP sugar producers of Tate & Lyle Sugars expectations on UK sugar sector policy post-Brexit?”