Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

January 2018
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Saturday, 20 January 2018
Main agreements reached in the WTO Summit at Hong Kong of interest for the ACP countries.
- Export Subsidies in Agriculture
After securing commitments from others to reform their own export subsidies, the EU has offered to eliminate its export refund system by 2013, conditional on similar moves from others. This will help lock in global reform of export subsidisation.
- Trade Related Assistance
On Trade Related Assistance the European Union announced that it would raise Aid for Trade spending to more than 2 billion euros a year from 2010. The European Commission announced at the G8 meeting in Gleneagles that it would spend 1 billion euros a year on Trade Related Assistance from 2007. European Member States have committed to matching that commitment from 2010. These funds do not include the money the European Union provides for infrastructure projects in Africa such as road building and energy and water: currently more than 800 million euros a year.
- Duty and Quota Free market access for Least Developed Countries
The EU welcomed the move by Japan and the United States to extend duty and quota free market access for most imports from Least Developing Countries. The EU had urged all developed countries and advanced developing countries to grant tariff and quota free access for all products. The EU has granted duty and quota free access for all imports from LDCs since 2001.
- Cotton
The EU welcomed the agreement to reform US export subsidies for cotton before 2006 and to accelerate reform of trade-distorting domestic subsidies paid to American cotton farmers. Europe only accounts for 2% of world cotton trade and already offers tariff and quota free access to all cotton imports. Europe pays no export subsidies for cotton and it is dramatically reducing its production-linked domestic support.
- Bananas
Bananas were discussed at length by Latin American producers, ACP producers and the EU. Two different positions emerged with Latin American countries requesting a lower tariff and the ACP claiming that the current EU tariff of 176 euros per tonne was too low and would damage its competitive advantage in the EU market. The two groups of countries and the EU agreed on a monitoring mechanism and the appointment of the Trade Minister of Norway as facilitator.
Find some conclusions of the European Councilwhicxh met in Brussels 15 & 16 December 2005.
- the Council reached agreement on the Financial Perspective 2007-2013
- On Africa
The European Council adopts the EU strategy "The EU and Africa: Towards a Strategic Partnership" as called for at its June 2005 meeting. Building on the Cairo Summit, it stresses the importance of enhanced EU-Africa political dialogue, including holding a second EU/Africa Summit in Lisbon as soon as possible, and agrees to review regularly, starting in 2006, progress on the implementation of the Strategy, taking into account the conclusions adopted by the Council on 21 November 2005.
- On migration
The European Council notes the increasing importance of migration issues for the EU and its Member States and the fact that recent developments have led to mounting public concern in some Member States. It underlines the need for a balanced, global and coherent approach, covering policies to combat illegal immigration and, in cooperation with third countries, harnessing the benefits of legal migration. The EU will strengthen its dialogue and cooperation with all those countries on migration issues, including return management, in a spirit of partnership and having regard to the circumstances of each country concerned.
As part of this overall process, the European Council welcomes the Commission's Communication of 30 November 2005: Priority Actions for Responding to the Challenges of Migration and adopts the "Global approach to migration: Priority actions focussing on Africa and the Mediterranean" annexed to these conclusions, covering the following areas: (i)strengthening cooperation and action between Member States; (ii) increasing dialogue and cooperation with African states; (iii) increasing dialogue and cooperation with neighbouring countries covering the entire Mediterranean region; (iv) as well as the questions of funding and implementation.
Monday, 19 December 2005
A system is set up so that the 25 EU member states contribute to the budget roughly in proportion to their economic size. As the largest of the bloc's economies, Germany contributes most and paid about 8.5 billion euros ($10.2 billion) more into EU coffers than it received back in 2004. The Netherlands and Sweden contribute the largest proportion of their gross national income to the union. Spain, which received nearly eight billion euros, got the biggest check from Brussels last year, followed by Greece's 4.1 billion euros. A portion of the EU's income also comes from duties it places on agricultural and manufactured goods.
- What is the "financial perspective?"
The financial perspective is a rundown of how the European Union will spend the money it receives from member states and encompasses seven years worth of spending. European leaders are currently meeting to debate how money will be spent from 2007 to 2013. The financial perspective divides the money into six categories: sustainable growth; preservation and management of natural resources; citizenship, freedom, security and justice; the EU as a global player; administration; and compensation.
- How much does the EU plan to spend?
Great Britain, which holds the rotating EU presidency during the financial negotiations, suggested a budget of 849.3 billion euros, equal to 1.03 percent of the union's gross national income and 175.7 billion euros less than the European Commission requested.
Most of the money will go to aid to farmers and rural development (46 %) and on aid to poorer regions (30 %).
- What changes did Great Britain suggest?
Regional development funds:
The British proposal calls for trimming regional funds for the 10 new EU members by 150 billion euros, leaving 296 billion euros for seven years worth of improvements to infrastructure networks and environmental protection projects.
- The British rebate:
Negotiated by Margaret Thatcher in 1984, the British rebate provides Great Britain with a refund of 66 percent of its net contribution because the UK had relatively few farms and was penalized for raising more money from its value-added tax than other member states.
Opponents, especially the French, say the rebate is no longer in tune with British prosperity and an expanded EU. They want to see the refund cut, a step the Britain refuses to make without reforms to the union's Common Agriculture Policy, which pays France about 10 billon euros a year in farm subsidies.
- Financial review:
According to the most recent financial perspective, the European Commission would be called on to assess all European income and expenditures, including its agriculture policy and the British rebate, in 2009 to prepare for the 2014 budget.
- How important is reaching agreement?
Though reaching a consensus would be beneficial for the union, which is desperately seeking a success story after a year that saw the European Constitution abandoned and attempts to reform the service sector fail, this isn't the last chance EU members will have to reach an agreement.
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Friday, 16 December 2005
The European Commission has decided to grant the victims of ethnic tensions in Northern Kenya humanitarian aid worth €2 million. It will finance humanitarian operations to improve the situation of up to 450,000 people. Measures will cover their needs concerning nutrition, water and sanitation, as well as the protection of those caught up in the ethnic clashes. This will include for example nutritional support, the rehabilitation of existing boreholes, water tanks, shallow wells and cattle pens and the establishment of protection centres for giving counselling.
Kenya is one of the world’s least-developed countries. The level of poverty and unemployment leaves its northern and north-eastern areas, bordering Somalia, Ethiopia and Uganda, vulnerable to crime and insecurity. People in the region face many challenges: climate changes that negatively affect the arid and semi arid lands and high population growth which is leading to intensified competition among rural communities for essential resources such as water and pasture. The effect is an ever-growing and increasing cycle of ethnic tension and violence. Clashes earlier this year caused numerous deaths and left more than 6,500 Kenyans internally displaced. In addition, there are currently up to 27,000 Somalis in Northern Kenya who have fled their country recently to seek refugee status or asylum in Kenya.

There are no indications that the number of refugees and internally displaced people will diminish in the near future, quite the opposite. The humanitarian aid operations financed by this Commission decision will be implemented over the next year. The funding will be channelled through the Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Department, ECHO, which comes under the responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel.
Thursday, 15 December 2005
Position Paper by the Aprodev Working group on Food Security, Trade and Gender
In order to rebalance the Agreement of Agriculture, APRODEV calls for the following changes:
- Now is the time to end tax-financed dumping: All direct export supports and
cross-subsidised exports are to be terminated no later than 2010. GATT Article 16/3 should be eliminated.
- Now is the time to end dumping disguised as aid: Food aid may only be given in grant form, only under exceptional conditions in-kind.
- Now is the time to countervail subsidised exports: The Blue Box must be
explicitly defined as transitory and upwardly capped; blue box subsidies paid
toward exported products must be notified on a per-product basis, and are liable to countervailing measures in the form of tariffs representing the same “ad valorem amount” as the supports paid.
- Now is the time to allow protection of vulnerable producers: Developing
Country members are given access to Special Products and a Special Safeguard
Mechanism, in accordance with the proposal tabled by G33.
- Now is the time for fairer market access: Tariff reductions are made according to a tiered formula in which rich countries take bigger commitments than poor, in particular to reduce tariff escalation.