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”

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”

EU Farmers Continue Campaign for Stricter EU Citrus Black Spot Controls

Summary

EU farmers organizations continue to push for stricter SPS controls on citrus imports including the mandatory use of cold treatment. The South African citrus industry believes such a requirement would be an economic disaster for the industry. In the context of the Spanish citrus industry’s pressure for stricter EU SPS controls, the UK’s departure from the EU could offer a life line for the South African citrus industry. If SPS controls not relevant to UK agricultural production were lifted and duty free-quota free access to the UK market could be secured in line with the South African government’s current aspirations for post-Brexit trade relations with the UK, then less restrictive market access requirements would apply potentially opening up additional export opportunities to the UK market. Read more “EU Farmers Continue Campaign for Stricter EU Citrus Black Spot Controls”

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 Food Policy Academics Warn of Serious Brexit Complications for UK Agro-food Sector

Summary

Academic analysis suggests the lack of attention to detail and serious capacity constraints in the UK administration could undermine the functioning of UK food safety and SPS control systems with this serving to disrupt the smooth functioning of import supply chains.  It also argues policy uncertainties around Brexit could well enhance the influence of large agro-food sector players to the detriment of the smooth functioning of agro-food sector supply chains.  This suggests a need for more proactive engagement of ACP exporters associations in these Brexit related policy issues. Read more “UK Food Policy Academics Warn of Serious Brexit Complications for UK Agro-food Sector”

ACP citrus exporters and Brexit: Part 1 The Case of South Africa

 

Summary
For South Africa both challenges and opportunities arise in the citrus sector as a result of the Brexit process. The first challenge, in common with other ACP citrus exporters, is to retain existing preferential access to the UK market. South Africa could also benefit from the dismantling of strict CBS controls on exports to the UK. Unlike other ACP citrus exporters, South Africa could also gain some marginal benefits from the immediate removal of current seasonal tariffs on its citrus exports. However, securing these benefits will be dependent on the UK pursuing a ‘hard Brexit, which may now be less likely following the UK June 2017 election result. In addition, if no new trade arrangement is set in place between the UK and EU27 from 30th March 2019 and MFN duties are imposed on mutual trade, South Africa could see new market opportunities emerge in the citrus sector in trade with the UK, given Spain’s current role as the dominant supplier to the UK. These opportunities however will exist only on the fringes of the existing season. Read more “ACP citrus exporters and Brexit: Part 1 The Case of South Africa”

Ongoing debate on citrus SPS controls highlights need for science based dialogues

Summary
While South African citrus exports to the EU increased in 2016, EU farmer’s organisations continue to push for stricter SPS controls on citrus imports, despite an earlier international consensus that for citrus black spot (CBS) infections, trade in fruit does not represent a route for disease transmission. EU citrus importers meanwhile argue SPS controls should not be excessive and should be commensurate with the risk. Read more “Ongoing debate on citrus SPS controls highlights need for science based dialogues”

After Brexit: How to secure ACP interests

Summary
The ACP Secretary General has taken up suggestions for a 2 stage approach to future ACP-UK trade relations, with the transitional unilateral extension of current market access conditions being seen as essential in avoiding ‘a disruptive cliff edge’ in ACP exports to the UK. The inaugural meeting of Commonwealth Trade Ministers offers an opportunity to secure UK commitments in this regard.

ACP trade concerns around Brexit will need to be addressed independently of the state of UK-EU27 negotiations. However there are both UK and EU27 dimensions to the trade effects of Brexit on ACP food and agriculture sectors which will need to be addressed. This includes joint ACP-EU28 initiatives to avert any WTO challenge to necessary transitional market access arrangements.

The creation of a joint ACP-DIT working group could offer a vehicle for ensuring ACP interests are not lost sight of in the face of the multitude of pressing trade priorities facing the UK authorities. Read more “After Brexit: How to secure ACP interests”