ACP banana exporters and Brexit

Summary
Brexit is likely to give rise to 3 distinct challenges for ACP banana exporters: retaining preferential access to the UK market; dealing with the market consequences of a possible abolition of duties on banana imports into the UK; dealing with the increased competition on EU27 markets as a result of the application of banana sector TRQs under bilaterally negotiated EU FTAs. While to date overall ACP banana exporters have expanded their exports to the EU28 despite expanded TRQ access for $ banana suppliers, the situation varies greatly between different ACP exporters. With Caribbean small island banana exporters largely being squeezed out of EU markets since 2007. However, the past strong trade performance of some ACP banana exporters since 2007 is no guarantee of future competitiveness. Market adjustment support may be required to ACP producers and exporters in adjusting to the market consequences of Brexit in the banana sector. The EC will also need to take account of the impact of expanded TRQ access on ACP banana suppliers in its application of the stabilisation mechanism set in place to protect EU banana producers. Read more “ACP banana exporters and Brexit”

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”

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”

Footloose nature of EU poultry meat exports to Africa highlighted by AI restrictions

Summary
While AI outbreaks are expected to reduce EU poultry exports in 2017, there is no evidence of this in the first two months of 2017, with strong growth in EU exports to sub-Saharan African markets north of South Africa. Recent corporate takeovers in the poultry sector could lead to a strengthening of the focus on sub-Saharan African markets. Recent trends highlight the ‘footloose’ nature of EU poultry meat exports, with markets being sought where minimal import controls are applied. Read more “Footloose nature of EU poultry meat exports to Africa highlighted by AI restrictions”

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”

Gambia Withdraws Import Ban on Onions and Potatoes

 

Summary
The government of Gambia has lifted a ban on imports of onions and potatoes, with female onion producers criticising the move and calling for seasonal restrictions and greater support for local producers. Experience in Senegal suggests there may be a role for seasonal restrictions in stimulating investment in local production. Experience in Namibia meanwhile highlights how successful the use of trade policy measures can be in stimulating local production, if the necessary infrastructure, organisational and administrative capacities are already in place. Read more “Gambia Withdraws Import Ban on Onions and Potatoes”

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”