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”
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”
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”