Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

November 2017
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Monday, 20 November 2017
The European Union has today announced further substantial commitments to providing Trade Related Assistance (TRA) to developing countries. Last night the EU Council of Ministers, comprising the twenty-five EU Member States, committed to provide 1 billion euros a year in TRA from 2010. This is a substantial increase from the 400 million per year currently provided by European Member States. It matches the 1 billion euros per year from 2007 pledged by the European Commission at the Gleneagles summit this year. It means that total EU Trade Related Assistance will rise to 2 billion euros from 2010. These packages do not include existing funding for African infrastructure – roads, energy and water. The European Commission alone provides about 800 million euros a year through its African infrastructure funds. The funds announced today are additional to this support. EU Member States also provide separate funding for infrastructure.
The European Commission is the largest Trade Related Assistance provider in the world. Trade Related Assistance is used to help states build the capacity to take advantage of market access. It provides funds to help improve administrative procedures and help producers develop the capacity to meet health and safety standards for export. TRA cannot substitute for the benefits of market opening, but it is essential in order to help the poorest states realise concrete benefits from new market access.
Tuesday, 13 December 2005
FAO and the European Commission present online Export Helpdesk: Facilitating market access for developing countries to the EU

FAO and the European Commission today presented the EC’s Online Export Helpdesk for developing countries to FAO member countries at FAO’s Rome headquarters. "This project will contribute to strengthening the strategic partnership between FAO and the EC. In the context of our planned cooperation on commodities and trade facilitation, it represents an important step forward," said Alexander Sarris, Director of FAO’s Commodities and Trade Division.
In his presentation, Matthew Baldwin, Acting Director in the Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission, said: "The Export Helpdesk is a clear demonstration of the EC’s determination to help developing countries in their efforts to integrate further into the global economy. They deserve a fair chance to compete in the EU market, and our Helpdesk is designed to give them just that: a series of practical measures to help developing country exporters benefit properly from our preferential trade programme."
The Export Helpdesk was initially launched in February 2004 with the goal of enhancing the economic growth of developing countries by facilitating the access of their exporters to the EU market. The online service has been providing free and comprehensive information to exporters from developing countries on how to export a product into the EU.
Confirmation of the importance of the Export Helpdesk for developing countries’ exporters is provided by the impressive statistics of its use: it has been receiving an average of nearly 3, 500 visitors per day so far this year. In addition, 140-160 questions have been received per month by the contact section and an average of 100-120 offers and demands have been published per month in the market place section.
The Export Helpdesk provides the following information online:
- EU and Member States’ import requirements and internal taxes applying in each Member State for each particular product (Requirements and taxes section);
- EU preferential import regimes for the benefit of developing countries (Import tariffs, Customs documents and Rules of origin sections);
- Trade data for the EU and its individual Member States (Statistics section);
- A "Market Place" where exporters in developing countries can establish contacts with importers from the EU (Market Place section);
- Links to EU and Member State authorities and international organizations involved in practical trade operations and trade promotion (Links section);
- Possibility to lodge detailed information requests about real-life situations encountered by exporters
The European Union is by far the biggest importer of food worldwide. Import rules for meat and meat products are fully harmonised and the European Commission acts as the competent authority on behalf of the 25 Member States. The EU Commission is the sole negotiating partner for all non-EU countries in questions related to import conditions for meat and meat products.
The European Union is also the world’s biggest importer of fish, seafood
and aquaculture products. Concerning the EU import conditions for seafood and other fishery products, import rules for these products are harmonised,meaning that the same rules apply in all EU countries. For non-EU countries
the European Commission is the negotiating partner that defines import
conditions and certification requirements. Also, for most countries with existing trade, the European Commission negotiates on behalf of the 25
Member States.
You will find attached the EU import conditions for fresh meat and fishery products as well as the key questions related to import requirements and the new rules on food hygiene and official food controls.
In the framework of the Africa-EU dialogue, the fifth Ministerial Meeting of the African and EU Troïkas met in Bamako, Mali, on 2 December 2005. Ministers recognised the remarkable efforts that have been made in recent months to revitalise and redynamise the partnership between Africa and the EU. Ministers welcomed this new approach and decided to launch a number of new joint initiatives which should be reported upon at the next meeting of the Ministerial troikas in Vienna on 27-28 April 2006.
The issues raised of interest to the agricultural and rural development sector are :
- Regional integration and trade
The EU side reiterated that it will continue to assist African countries to gain increased access to European markets, and to support capacity-building for trade negotiators and producers. Ministers endorsed the EU’s proposal for the establishment of an EU-Africa Partnership on Infrastructure and to ensure its implementation. The African side reiterated its commitment to establish a business-friendly environment in Africa and reaffirmed its appeal to the EU to encourage the European private sector to increase its investment in Africa. In this regard, Ministers welcomed plans to convene a Europe-Africa Business Forum in 2006 and looked forward to early agreement on this.
- Doha Development Round
Ministers agreed on the importance of a successful conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda negotiations and the need for significant progress at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong. Both sides agreed to work towards a balanced and substantial outcome of the negotiations including aspects of particular concern to the development of African countries. Both sides called for agreement in Hong Kong on duty-free and quota-free access for all LDCs, in line with the Arusha benchmarks for development.
- EPAs
Ministers expressed appreciation for the progress made by the Joint Contact Group, particularly in the area of monitoring EPA process to ensure that EPAs are recognized as an instrument for development and poverty reduction. The EU side pledged to assist and support the African side in the improvement of quality and standardization of products.
- Regional Integration
The EU side agreed to support efforts currently being made by the AU (in collaboration with the Economic Commission for Africa) to rationalise the Regional Economic Communities, and also agreed to support the capacity-building of the RECs.
- HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases
The African side invited the EU to support AU Member States in the local production of generics especially those used in the treatment of HIV, AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. The EU side pledged support in building the capacity of AU Member States so that they can take advantage of the flexibilities in the WTO/TRIPS.
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Wednesday, 07 December 2005
The EC entrusted the review of some 60 international scientific cooperation
(INCO) projects related to integrated water resources management to a panel of 10 eminent scientists. The review aimed at learning about strengths and weaknesses of past research and guide future investments. The panel found that INCO had a structuring effect on water research in tune with evolving understanding of the political processes underlying allocation of increasingly scarce resources. There is evidence of positive impact on strengthened human and institutional capabilities in partner countries and regions. The panel recommends to prioritise research in FP7 that addresses the need for constructively engaged integrated water resources allocation and management. Such research should investigate why societal perceptions that drive water allocations are out of step with fundamentals in ecosystems and the economy and what could be done to support more sustainable strategies.
This review is part of the EU Water Initiative’s support to the water-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to halve the proportion of people without access to safe water and basic sanitation in the context of an integrated approach to water resources management. The panel developed an innovative analytical approach to deal with about 60 projects dealing with such problems in different continents and regions of the world, including Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Latin America, Mediterranean, Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.