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”

EU plans to invest in agriculture in Africa to curb migration pressured need to address UTPs in Africa-EU agro-food sector supply chains

Summary

EU Agricultural Commissioner Hogan has called for investment to be mobilised in sustainable agro-food sector development in Africa to combat migration pressures. While an EU action plan is under development in this area, calls have been made for the EU to extend its planned regulatory initiative on Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs) to Africa-EU supply chains. Current widespread abusive practices by EU importers fall particularly heavily on smallholder farmers. Given its economic significance, this is an issue which the ACP Group could usefully take up in its post-Cotonou negotiations with the EU as part of the wider dialogue with the EU on migration issues. Read more “EU plans to invest in agriculture in Africa to curb migration pressured need to address UTPs in Africa-EU agro-food sector supply chains”

CBS controls remain threat to South Africa citrus exports to EU despite recent expansion

Summary
Contrary to EU delegation claims, South African citrus exports to the EU have not tripled since 2007.  Export volumes since 2012 have in fact been 6.2% below the recent peak level attained in 2008. This is in part attributable to stricter EU CBS controls which have fallen particularly heavily on emergent and previously disadvantaged farmers, who find themselves commercially excluded from EU market supply chains. On-going campaigning by Spanish citrus growers for stricter CBS controls remains a threat to South African citrus exports, particularly given the burden the existing control measures place on government plant disease control capacities.

The issue of the differential impact which EU SPS controls have on small emergent commercial farmers and large commercial farmers raises the need to improve the design and application of EU SPS controls so as to support smallholder participation in high value export supply chains whilst still ensuring underlying EU SPS controls objectives are attained. Read more “CBS controls remain threat to South Africa citrus exports to EU despite recent expansion”

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”

Role of UK Groceries Code Adjudicator could be extended

Summary

The UK GCA performance has been praised for gradually changing supermarket practices, with a debate now underway on whether the scope of the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP) should be extended. Traidcraft has called for such an extension to address abuses which take place elsewhere in grocery supply chains served by developing country suppliers, who currently have no means of seeking redress. Strengthening the code to effectively cover all routes to market used by developing country suppliers is one important dimension of the current GCA review. A further important dimension is the important role which such regulatory initiatives can play in changing supermarket sourcing practices. This is an important issue given the growing role of foreign owned supermarkets across the ACP and the difficulties this poses for local agricultural producers in entering this expanding retail market component. Read more “Role of UK Groceries Code Adjudicator could be extended”

ACP Citrus Exporters and Brexit: Part 2, The Case of Smaller Scale Exporters

Summary
In the short term smaller ACP citrus exporters could benefit from Brexit in their trade with the UK if they can:

  1. retain existing duty free-quota free access to the UK market from the date of the UK’s departure from the EU;
  2. secure the removal of CBS controls in trade with the UK;
  3. ensure the issue of the disproportionate costs of SPS inspections for small scale ACP exporters under moves to full costs recovery is addressed

However this will still leave the threat posed the dismantling of all tariff protection in the citrus sector, where the UK has no domestic production.  This however may be deferred if it only takes place in the context of UK FTA negotiations with non-ACP exporters of citrus fruit. Read more “ACP Citrus Exporters and Brexit: Part 2, The Case of Smaller Scale Exporters”

Parliamentary report warns of the complexity of Brexit challenges in the agricultural sector

Summary
Important WTO dimensions to future UK agricultural and agricultural trade policies are faced which could prove complicated to resolve. Depending on how UK/EU27 negotiations process works out, new opportunities for exports to the UK could be opened up for ACP agro-food exporters. For example stricter UK immigration controls on agro-food sector workers could make it more attractive for UK businesses to import consumer ready agro-food products, allowing ACP exporters to move up the value chain. The UK Parliamentary report highlights the need for transitional trade arrangements for UK trade relations, given the complexity of the issues involved. This recognition of a need for transitional arrangements is something on which ACP governments could usefully build. Read more “Parliamentary report warns of the complexity of Brexit challenges in the agricultural sector”

Record EU agri food surplus highlights success of EU CAP reforms

Summary
EU agro-food exports continue to grow to new record levels driven by successful agricultural reforms and an increasingly ‘offensive’ trade policy. For certain EU products sub-Saharan African markets have become increasingly important. In the coming years ACP  governments will come under increased pressure to systematically remove all non-tariff barriers to EU agri-food exports. The EU largely imports unprocessed agricultural products from ACP countries, adds value meets domestic demand and re-exports higher value products to global markets. There is a fundamental in fundamental contradiction between the aspirations of ACP governments to structurally transform their agri-food sectors and EU objectives for expanding exports of value added food products.
Read more “Record EU agri food surplus highlights success of EU CAP reforms”

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”