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CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter
Subject: CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter
Send date: 2013-04-12 14:34:26
Issue #: 175
Content:
Bulletin CTA

1

This weblog shares information on key ACP-EU programmes and events
from Brussels relevant to agriculture and rural development in ACP countries.


Date : [12/04/2013]
CTA Brussels Newsletter


  1. Main Events for the Week 15/04/2013 – 21/04/2013
  2. Video Guest: Nathalie Moll, Europabio. GM crops in Europe
  3. EU: €27m for basic services in Darfur
  4. EC proposes revision of trade mark system
  5. ACP deplores the vote of the Council of the EU on sugar quotas
  6. ACP inaugurates the Eminent Persons Group
  7. 'Agenda for Change': EU’s helping hand gets an overhaul
  8. EU imports ‘hurt South African agro-processing firms’
  9. South Africa: to protect agricultural sector from EU imports
  10. EU: progress towards finalizing EPAs with Ecowas
  11. EU : reinforces control on imported cacao beans
  12. Pacific Energy Summit : $635m for energy efficiency
  13. Businesses seek upfront role in future development policy
  14. Dominican Republic, main exporter of bananas to EU
  15. Illegal and counterfeit pesticides in the EU
  16. West Africa holds out over EU trade deal demands
  17. EU imposes deadline for signing EPAs
  18. Ministers block EU proposal to limit some biofuels
  19. Risk of nanotechnologies in food chain found to be negligible
  20. Direct aids to EU farmers: 80% of beneficiaries receive 20% of payments
  21. Kenya in talks with EU over export restrictions
  22. The EU February 2013 edition of "Commodity price data"
  23. EU : New energy funding in the Pacific
  24. Push-Pull: model for Africa’s green revolution
  25. EU-ICIPE project: Tsetse repellent technology
  26. EPA in spotlight at Caribbean Exporters’ Colloquium
  27. Denmark asks EAC to conclude pact with EU


  1. Main Events for the Week 15/04/2013 – 21/04/2013
    2013-04-12

    European Parliament:

    15-18 April: European Parliament Plenary
    18 April: Committee on Foreign Affairs

    Council of the EU:

    April 17-18: Informal meeting of EU Trade Ministers
    April 15-16: Conference on Hunger • Nutrition • Climate Justice  (Dublin)

    European Commission:

    April 17: Stakeholder conference on the 2015 international climate agreement

    ACP:

    April 15-16: 10th Ministerial Meeting of ACP National and Regional Authorizing Officers – Senior Officials
    April 15: Bureau of the Committee of Ambassadors
    April 16-18: 10th Ministerial Meeting of ACP National and Regional Authorizing Officers
    April 17: CARIFORUM Group
    April 18: 3rd Meeting of the ACP Inter-Regional Coordination Committee (I-ROCC)

    You can also follow our new Facebook group CTABrussels and our Twitter account CTABrussels to receive up-to-date information on EU-ACP events.




  2. Video Guest: Nathalie Moll, Europabio. GM crops in Europe
    2013-04-12
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    In an interview with Nathalie Moll, Secretary General of Europabio, the European association of bio-industries, we discussed the differences in synchronization between the adoption rate of GM crops in Europe and at the global scale, and the impact that this has especially on the developing countries in the ACP group.

    Topics:
    - The state of adoption of GM crops in Europe
    - The European approval system for GM crops in Europe, compared to the one in other countries
    - Impact on global trade of rate of approval of GM crops in Europe
    - Legislation model role of Europe in face of ACP developing countries


    Link Watch the Video
    Link GMOs – implications for trade and developing countries


  3. EU: €27m for basic services in Darfur
    2013-04-12
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Development Policy

    European Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs announced on Monday, 8 April a sum of  €27.5 million to be directed towards investing in people's access to basic services (such as education and health), as well as water management and agriculture in Darfur, a region in Western Sudan.
    The announcement was made during the International Donors Conference for Darfur, which was hold in Doha between 7 - 8 April. The conference is part of an agreement signed in July 2011 (DDPD) between the Government of Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) to promote the peace process in Darfur.
    The EU supports peace and security in the region through the contributions made by EU Member States to the budget of the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID). Also, in 2012, the EU commenced the implementation in Darfur of development projects worth nearly €5 million to improve the living conditions for rural/pastoralist groups and human rights, as well as humanitarian projects for over €45 million to provide life-saving assistance such as basic healthcare, clean water, sanitation and food assistance.
    The Pledging conference on Darfur was considered as an important step to mobilise the international community around the reconstruction and peace in Darfur. The EU is a member of the International Follow-Up Committee, set up to assess the progress made so far in the provisions of the DDPD.
    Some positive steps towards its commitments have been registered in the peace process in the region, notably the establishment of the Darfur Regional Council.
    However, there is a lack of progress in the implementation of the Justice and Reconciliation projects, aimed at strengthening institutions and improving governance at regional, state and local level. The Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration programme have not advanced enough either.
    The Darfur conflict has been raging since 2003, with the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) taking up arms against the Sudanese government.

    Source: European Commission  


    Link Read more
    Link The background of the conflict
    Link Paper on the role of the EU in the Dafur conflict


  4. EC proposes revision of trade mark system
    2013-04-12
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The European Commission presented on March 27 a package of initiatives to make trade mark registration systems over the European Union cheaper, quicker, more reliable and predictable.
    In a nutshell, the proposed revision would: streamline and harmonise registration procedures (including at Member State level, taking the Community trade mark system as a benchmark); amende outdated provisions, remove ambiguities, and incorporate extensive case law of the Court of Justice; improve the means to fight against counterfeit goods in transit through the EU’s territory; and facilitate cooperation between the Member States’ offices and the EU trade mark agency – the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM). As regards fees, the Commission is proposing a principle of "one-class-per-fee" that will enable any business – particularly SMEs – to apply for trade mark protection according to their actual business needs, at a cost that covers those individual needs only.  Under the current system, the fee for registering a trade mark allows for the registration of up to three product classes. Under the revised system, a trade mark can be registered for only one product class. So at EU level, businesses will pay less when they seek to obtain protection for one class of product only.
    Internal Market and Services Commissioner Michel Barnier said: "Trade marks were the EU’s first success in intellectual property rights. The harmonisation of Member States' laws in 1989 and the creation of the Community trade mark in 1994 paved the way for other tools for intellectual property protection, such as design protection and the unitary patent. Today, 20 years later, […] our trade mark system has stood the test of time. There is no need for a major overhaul: the foundations of our system remain perfectly valid. What we are aiming for is a well-targeted modernisation to make trade mark protection easier, cheaper, and more effective."
    A trade mark is a sign which serves to distinguish the goods and services of one organisation from those of another. They can be words, logos, devices or other distinctive features which can be represented graphically, or can consist of, for example, the shape of goods, their packaging, sounds and smells. Trade mark registration is one of the strongest ways to defend a brand; a way to ensure that no one else uses it. In Europe, trade marks can be registered at national level at the industrial property (IP) offices of Member States, or at EU level as a Community trade mark (CTM) at the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) in Alicante. Under the overall system, national and Community trade marks coexist and the same sign may be registered as a Community and/or as a national trade mark. The CTM system consists of one single registration procedure which grants to its owner an exclusive right in the 27 Member States of the EU. National trade mark registration in the EU Member States has been harmonised for over 20 years and the Community trade mark was created more than 15 years ago.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link More on the EU trade mark system
    Link UK trade initiative to help millions of Africans


  5. ACP deplores the vote of the Council of the EU on sugar quotas
    2013-04-11
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, ACP-EU Policy

    The group of ACP Sugar Suppliers from least developed countries (LDCs) to the EU is disappointed with the EU Agriculture Council’s agreement to extend the quotas for sugar by only  two years to 2017 instead of 2020 as agreed by the European Parliament, and sees the Council’s mandate as a tantamount to treating the ACP/LDC as ‘residual players to be considered solely as collateral damage in a political compromise’.
    They believe that the Council proposal ignores the importance of the sugar industry to their economies and social fabric. In this context the ACP /LDC countries reminded the Council of the principles underpinned by Cotonou, the Economic Partnership Agreements and the Everything but Arms Initiative which were intended to protect the EU’s small and vulnerable trading partners.  
    The ACP/LDC Group seeks the extension of the EU sugar regime until 2020 to allow its sugar industries to complete the Action Plans agreed with the EU for the modernization, diversification and efficiency improvements on which ACP/LDC countries have already committed considerable funds. It is considered that the programme to prepare the ACP/LDC suppliers for greater market liberalisation is already jeopardised by the slower than anticipated disbursement of the EU’s Accompanying Measures Sugar support programme.  
    “EU ministers did not take account of the development dimension agreed between the EU and ACP States under the Economic Partnership Agreements and Everything But Arms Initiative,” said the ACP Sugar Sub Committee Chairman Ambassador Gomes after the Council’s announcement.  “It is disappointing that no consideration was given to the ACP and LDC sugar suppliers who have been an integral and consistent supply source of the European sugar market for over 50 years”.

    Source: ACP


    Link Read more
    Link ACP hails EP vote extending EU sugar quotas
    Link Reform of CAP: sugar quotas to end in 2017


  6. ACP inaugurates the Eminent Persons Group
    2013-04-11
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy

    In an extraordinary session held in Brussels on 25 – 26 of March, the ACP Council of Ministers has inaugurated the Eminent Persons Group EPG whose mission will be to provide guidance and concrete recommendations for the future of the ACP Group. The Council of Ministers has also designated Hon. Alhaji Muhammad MUMUNI as Secretary-General of the ACP as from April 1st, 2013 in replacement of Dr Mohamed Ibn CHAMBAS who was recently nominated by the United Nations and the African Union as their Special Envoy for Darfur.
    The decision to set up an Eminent Persons Group was taken by the last Summit of ACP Heads of States (Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, December 2012).  Independent of their member states, regions or any other party, the Eminent Persons mandate extends 31st December 2014. The 14 members of the group who met in Brussels have designated the former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun OBASANJO, as their Chairperson.
    At the event, the incoming Secretary General, Hon. Muhammad MUMUNI has underlines his priorities for his next period in office: the negotiations of the EPA’s, the Intra-ACP cooperation, South-South and Triangular cooperation “and more importantly,  sustaining existing partnerships, while charting new frontiers of cooperation.”

    Source: ACP


    Link Read more
    Link New presidency for the ACP Group


  7. 'Agenda for Change': EU’s helping hand gets an overhaul
    2013-04-11
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Development Policy

    Europe’s overseas aid policy, the 'Agenda for Change' – unveiled in October 2011 and approved in May 2012-  calls for giving the world’s most fragile nations more help through what Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs calls “more strategic, targeted and results-oriented” assistance. But some anti-poverty campaigners say there is a risk that the agenda could end up neglecting impoverished people in emerging and middle-income nations.
    The new overseas aid policy, the Agenda for Change, is aimed at focusing assistance on the 48 least-developed countries, nearly all of them sub-Saharan Africa. The plan puts the emphasis on improving governance and social protections in developing nations, while also supporting agriculture and expanding energy access to drive growth.
    The shift in funding would be in line with commitments donor nations made in December 2011 in Busan, Korea, where the European Union, United States, Japan and other big donors also agreed to strengthen development aid coordination to help the most impoverished countries.
    The Agenda for Change is also seen as complementing the EU’s support for a successor to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, eight poverty-fighting targets that expire in 2015.
    EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs has hailed the aid agenda will make aid “more strategic, targeted and results-oriented.”
    But anti-poverty campaigners, while supportive of the Commission’s effort to improve aid effectiveness, fear the plan will leave some needy people in emerging countries helpless. They also fear that EU nations, struggling with their own economic and fiscal challenges, will scale back their commitments to do more for the world’s poor.

    Source: Euractiv


    Link Read more
    Link More on the 'Agenda for Change'
    Link EU should back social insurance for developing countries


  8. EU imports ‘hurt South African agro-processing firms’
    2013-04-11
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    South African agro-processing firms are struggling to compete against imports from the European Union (EU) that enter the local market duty-free because of the trade development and co-operation agreement (TDCA) South Africa has with the EU, International Trade Administration Commission (Itac) chief commissioner Siyabulela Tsengiwe said on Wednesday, 24 March.
    In terms of the trade and co-operation agreement, about 85% of goods from the EU come into South Africa duty-free and about 80% of South African goods entering the EU do so. Especially, olive oil imports were cited by industry sources as having a negative effect on local producers.
    The existence of the EU-South Africa trade agreement, established in 1999 and fully implemented last year (2011) specifies that tariffs cannot be increased.
    Itac said, that South Africa can respond the trend by using antidumping or countervailing duties, or other safeguards allowed by the World Trade Organisation.
    For example, to prove that dumping was taking place, an applicant for tariffs would have to show a disparity between the export and local prices, prove that an injury had been suffered and that this injury was the direct result of the dumping.
    Trade Law Chambers director Rian Geldenhuys said the agreement was not an unequivocal success, as South African negotiators had not been aware at the time of certain pitfalls, had not insisted on the inclusion of certain claw-back provisions and had not been closely attuned to business interests. It was problematic, he said, that South Africa’s agro-processed goods were subject to higher tariff barriers in the EU than vice versa.

    Source: Business Day


    Link Read more
    Link SA: to protect agriculture from EU imports
    Link More on trade realtions between south Africa and the EU


  9. South Africa: to protect agricultural sector from EU imports
    2013-04-11
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    South African companies that consider that have been harmed by the competition with the EU agricultural imports after the entering into force of the trade development and co-operation agreement (TDCA) have recently received new guidelines for applying for safeguard measures.
    The guidelines have been published by the International Trade Administration (Itac) - an agency in the United States Department of Commerce that aims to strengthens the competitiveness of U.S. industry, and promote trade and investment.
    These are the first guidelines which are made available for the companies operating in the agricultural industry in the country. South Africa has a legal framework which allows for the imposition of safeguard measures, but which does not apply to the agricultural industry, because the trade agreement set up a different method for the safeguards in respect of agricultural trade between South Africa and the EU. However, because there has never been any guidance on how it works, no one has applied until recently.
    Itac chief commissioner Siyabulela Tsengiwe said local agro-processing companies were struggling to compete against imports from the EU that entered the local market duty-free because of the trade agreement. South Africa concluded its trade development and co-operation agreement (TDCA) with the EU in 1999. The TDCA consists of three areas of agreement: a free trade agreement between the EU and South Africa, development aid as well as economic and social co-operation, among other things.
    Mr Geldenhuys said there had been criticism that the TDCA was not a balanced agreement as South Africa "liberalised" more than it should have if compared with the EU.
    Reportedly, there has been much unhappiness about the effect of the trade agreement on the local agricultural sector, but uncertainty about the process for evoking safeguards has resulted in only two such applications since the agreement was implemented, according to experts.
    Under the new guidelines, applicants would not have to prove a surge in imports or that the EU is dumping agricultural products in South Africa. They would only need to prove the imports have harmed them. According to the draft guidelines published in the Government Gazette on Friday, provisional measures can be implemented immediately if an applicant is able to show there are "exceptional circumstances". The measures would apply pending a final decision.
    SA Trade Law Chambers director Rian Geldenhuys said it was expected that applications against the EU would rise, possibly leading to fewer agricultural imports from the bloc or more expensive imports.

    Source: BusinessDay


    Link Read more
    Link More on trade between the EU and South Africa
    Link Assessment of the Trade and Development Cooperation Agreement


  10. EU: progress towards finalizing EPAs with Ecowas
    2013-04-11
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The Head of the European Union, EU, delegation to Nigeria, David MacRae, who was speaking on Monday 8th April at the 9th annual ECOWAS-development partners' coordination meeting in Abuja, said tremendous progress is being made towards finalising an economic partnership and trade agreement (EPA) with the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS.
    The coordination meeting had the role to afford the EU the opportunity to discuss the progress made so far and explore ways to move the process forward and ensure better alignment of EU and other development partners' on-going and planned support to the needs of the region.
    On the occasion, MacRae stressed the need for ECOWAS member states to put economic integration protocols and commitments into practice and to further develop mechanisms for improved results monitoring, evaluation and reporting of the implementation of regional policies at national levels, saying that the formal adoption of the Common External Tariff (CET) would facilitate the conclusion of an EPA with the EU.
    The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for West Africa, Said Djinnit, said the long-term stability of the sub-region can only be achieved through improved democratic and economic governance, combined with an enhanced regional integration. He said that particular emphasis should be placed on the creation of economic opportunities for the more vulnerable, including women and youth; in an effort to pave the way for sustained peace, social cohesion and stability in West Africa.

    Source: AllAfrica


    Link Read more
    Link West Africa holds out over EU trade deal demands
    Link Europe Intensifies EPA Lobby in West Africa


  11. EU : reinforces control on imported cacao beans
    2013-04-10
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    As of the end of March, Europe has a limit for smoke traces present in imported cacao beans. This will lead to tougher controls at the borders, but also as to a significant decrease in imports of beans dried over a wood fire – a practice still in use in certain regions of Cameroon.
    The traces of smoke (also named PAHs, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) are suspected to be carcinogenic, when present in large doses.
    Another step for the EU in strengthening its control on the quality of cocoa imported will be the setting of maximum allowed levels for cadmium - a heavy metal, which is to be found in volcanic soils, or on plantations treated with phosphate fertilizers. This new measure is expected to come into force in about two years.
    As a result, the chocolate industry predicts a decline in the trade of cacao beans from volcanic countries as Venezuela, Equator, or Columbia. This could represent a new opportunity for countries as Ghana or Madagascar, as merchandisers turn to their cacao beans in order to be able to meet their demeans. However, Madagascar, seems, at least for the moment, far from being able to respond to the demand.

    Source: RFI France


    Link Read more
    Link Few products from developing countries make it to the EU markets


  12. Pacific Energy Summit : $635m for energy efficiency
    2013-04-10
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Energy

    Grant funding of $255 (€155) million and concessional loans of $380 (€290) million will support over 40 of projects, which aim to advance renewable energy across the Pacific. The support will come from donors and the private sector, and was announced at the Pacific Energy Summit, which was co-hosted by the EU and the The New Zealand Governmen in Auckland on March 24-26.
    Investors include co-hosts New Zealand and the European Union, Australia, the Asian Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the World Bank Group, and the United Arab Emirates.
    Pacific countries presented a total of 79 projects at the Summit, providing donors and the private sector with opportunities to identify projects for partnership and collaboration.
    While some projects are sufficiently advanced to enable funding to be confirmed by donors, some will require further work in the weeks ahead.
    "Currently, the Pacific region meets around 80 per cent of its electricity generation needs from expensive imported fossil fuels. Yet the region has abundant renewable energy resources, including hydropower, solar, wind, biomass and geothermal," New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says."Investment projects featured by Pacific Island countries at the Summit would help many of them increase their power generation from renewable resources to close to 50 per cent of total supply," Mr McCully says.
    Mr McCully also announced $65 million of New Zealand funding to assist Pacific Island countries to realise their renewable energy and energy efficiency plans.

    Source: Website of the New Zealand Government   


    Link Read more
    Link EU : New energy funding in the Pacific
    Link More on the Pacific Energy Summit 2013


  13. Businesses seek upfront role in future development policy
    2013-04-10
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Development Policy

    Business associations in Europe and other advanced countries are seeking to put their imprint on a future global development framework, having called for a strong private-sector role in shaping the future of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at the UN high-level panel on the post-2015 framework which took place on March 27 in Bali, Indonesia.
    “We believe that for the post-2015 goals to contribute to delivering the global development agenda, it will be essential that they help stimulate business of all sizes around the world to grow and flourish in a responsible and sustainable manner,” says a letter sent by entrepreneurs to the United Nations’ high-level panel weighing a future MDG agenda.
    The letter was signed by The Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Chamber of Commerce, and seven other groups; they represent some of the world’s biggest corporations along with smaller firms.
    Largely left out of the negotiations that created the MDGs in 2000, businesses this time around are working to influence the next anti-poverty framework. The European Union’s own roadmap for the post-2015 development goals, ‘A Decent Life for All’, was similarly based on consultations with businesses as well as civic groups.
    The EU and other major donors agreed at an international conference in 2011 to improve their cooperation on development aid and called for more private-sector involvement to reduce extreme poverty through investment and job-creation.
    Advocacy groups, however, are wary of mixing human and business development.
    At a conference held in the European Parliament on 21 March, MEPs and anti-poverty campaigners acknowledged development financing is under stress because of fiscal crises in traditional donor nations. But they questioned a shift in EU policies to mix loans and grants – known as ‘blending’ - to help foster private-sector growth. Most of private investment flows into middle-income countries rather than the poorest nations “where there is a huge infrastructure needs gap”, Jesse Griffiths, director of The European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad) said.

    Source: Euractiv


    Link Read more
    Link EU: linking poverty eradication to sustainable development
    Link Meeting MDG1 [Video]


  14. Dominican Republic, main exporter of bananas to EU
    2013-04-08
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    In 2012, the Dominican Republic exported about 300,000 tons of banana to the European Union nations, making it their main supplier, pointed out Ekaterina Krivonos from the Trading and Markets Division of the United Nations Organization for Food and Agriculture (FAO), during the "Towards the Development of a Sustainable Strategy for the Dominican Republic's Banana Market" workshop, hold in March 2013.
    The workshop was part of a United Nations Program for the Dominican Republic, entitled "Strengthening the Banana Value Chain through the Growth of Inclusive Markets".
    Dominican Republic's share in the export market for this item is quite important for a small country, Krivonos believes. In 2000, the Dominican Republic only exported 50 thousand tons of bananas to the EU, Krivonos said. However, according to Gero Vaagt, FAO's representative in the country, the Dominican Republic's banana sector is not very strong- it has a low productivity and weak producers' associations, which is why he suggested better coordination and cooperation between banana producers.

    Compared to 2010, by 2011 banana’s global exports had increased by 7.7%. Approximately 80% of world exports come from Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Since 1 January 2008, African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) banana suppliers, which have initialled an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), benefit from duty and quota free access to the EU market.
    Source: dominicantoday.com


    Link Read more
    Link The banana import regime of the European Union
    Link ACP seeks EU clarification on outstanding BAM


  15. Illegal and counterfeit pesticides in the EU
    2013-04-08
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Agriculture

    The trade and use of illegal and counterfeit pesticides damages the industry and can have negative effects on farmers and consumers, it was said during a conference entitled 'Counterfeit and illegal pesticides: a real threat to EU public safety', organized by Syngenta on Tuesday, 26 March in the European Parliament in Brussels.
    ALDE deputy Jürgen Creutzmann warned that the counterfeit pesticides represent a threat for human health and the environment. There are also concerns over negative implications on agricultural innovation, and the economy.
    According to the speakers, up to 10 per cent of Europe's plant protection products are illegal. They enter EU usually via smuggling, or under the cover of parallel imports (legitimate parallel traded products are substituted with illegal generic copies). The majority of counterfeit products enter the market, having originated in China.
    It is hard to fight this trend because – among others- the fines (in the case the crime is proved) are very low, and do not deter organized crime. Also, law enforcement authorities see these cases as too complicated and tend to under-prioritize them.
    One of the solutions would be a more intense international cooperation.

    Source: the Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link Bees protection: EU wants a two-year pesticide ban
    Link Regulation on export and import of dangerous chemincals


  16. West Africa holds out over EU trade deal demands
    2013-04-08
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Cape Verde`s Minister of External Relations, Jorge Borges, told Ecowas ministers of Trade and Finance gathered in Praia two weeks ago that negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) should be handled with caution or the region could be overrun by European goods.
    EPA’s clauses stipulate that West Africa should open its market by 80 per cent over a 15-year period. This would be reciprocated by its opening of 70 per cent of its market for over 25 years to the sub region. Borges warned of dire consequences if this happened, reminding fellow ministers that no country develops without protecting its markets.
    West African civil society groups have been especially vocal against the agreement which they say in its current shape runs counter to the region’s socio-economic development agenda.

    The EPAs were designed as a trade pact between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) nations, aimed at promoting "free trade" through trade development, sustainable growth and poverty reduction. The EU negotiates by regions. The negotiations (started more than ten years ago) with West Africa have been stalled for about a year over - among other things - the opening of  West Africa market, the EPA development Programme(EPADP) and the application of the Most Favoured Nation.
    West Africa, which includes the 15 ECOWAS Member Stated and Mauritania, is  insisting that the EU fund the EPADP, a programme to enable it cope with the  consequences of implementing the impending EPA with the injection of 6.5  billion Euro in fresh funds. The EU has rejected this request, offering instead facilities under the European Development Fund (EDF) and sundry resources for funding including  bilateral contributions to West African States.
    Two west African countries – Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana initialled bilateral interim EPAs with the EU at the end of 2007.

    The European Union has grown increasingly impatient over the delay in striking a deal. Meeting in Brussels on Thursday, the EU Parliament’s International Trade Committee (INTA) drew the line: either the  African-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP) countries that have not yet signed the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) - sign the pact by 1 October 2014, or will lose it preferential access to EU markets.

    Source: Africa Review


    Link Read more
    Link EU imposes deadline for signing EPAs
    Link Press release after Borges affirmation


  17. EU imposes deadline for signing EPAs
    2013-04-08
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Namibia, and other African-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP) countries that have not yet signed the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) - have just over 18 months to conclude controversial trade negotiations with the European Union or lose its duty- and quota-free access for beef, fish and grapes to EU markets.
    Meeting in Brussels on Thursday, the EU Parliament’s International Trade Committee (INTA) agreed that either all the African-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP) countries that have not yet signed the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) sign the pact by 1 October 2014, or they will lose it preferential access to EU markets.
    INTA was presented with two dates, that of October 2014 and 1 January 2016. Lobbying by countries like Namibia to get the latter date accepted, however, proved fruitless.
    The Namibian newspaper reports about the case of Namibia, which in 2007 provisionally initialed the interim EPA, but has been refusing to sign the agreement until issues regarding unfair competition are resolved. The EPA should not just boost trade, but also sustainable development in Namibia, Government has been maintaining. Namibia also repeatedly complained that the EU is not treating it as an equal partner. According to Wallie Roux, head of research and development at the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU), Namibia’s main concerns about the EPA revolve around export taxes, safeguards for the agricultural sector and the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) clause. The latter will require Namibia to extend the same preferences to the EU it grants to third parties under future trade agreements.
    The 2014 deadline is attainable, Roux said. However, Namibia now finds it in the precarious position that it has to conclude the EPA within the time limit and the European Commission (EC) might therefore not accommodate further concessions, he said.
    INTA’s decision signalled a turnaround in political will on the side of the EU to get the EPA signed and sealed.
    At a trilogue meeting between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU earlier in March 2013 was decided to impose an EPA deadline of 1 January 2014, with the condition of reconfirmation by the political groups in the European Parliament, followed by a formal adoption of the date by INTA middle of March.

    Source: bilaterals.org


    Link Read more
    Link More on EPAs
    Link Denmark asks EAC to conclude pact with EU


  18. Ministers block EU proposal to limit some biofuels
    2013-04-08
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Energy, Environment

    A majority of EU environment ministers expressed concern over the European Commission’s proposed 5% cap on the inclusion of biofuels in member states’ renewable energy targets, despite evidence that the fuel can have a worse impact on carbon emissions than conventionally extracted oil, and that demand for fuels from grain crops like wheat or soy would drive higher food prices and encourage land-grabs in countries producing the monoculture feedstocks.
    Leading the calls in last environment council (11 March 2013) for a weakening of the proposals were a bloc of Central European countries- Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland. Ministers in the 11 March energy council expressed doubts over the science behind indirect land use change (ILUC), saying it was not robust enough to warrant strong EU regulation. They feel that if supply is kept within Europe, it will minimise the impact of the monoculture cultivation abroad.
    The member states blocking the proposal say a cap on biofuels may prevent them from meeting the EU’s 2020 target of 10% renewables in the EU’s transport fuel mix.
    Only the Netherlands, Britain, Belgium and Denmark have expressed support for the use of an ILUC-based accounting model, which would rank biofuel sources according to their lifecycle carbon emissions.
    In Indonesia, the vast production of palm oil for fuel sources was driving land-grabs from indigenous populations who do not carry written documentation proving their ownership of the land, said Rinting Siten, a member of Indonesia’s Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago. He added that the monocultures were threatening food security and that agro-toxics were making local water supplies undrinkable.


    Source: Euractiv


    Link Read more
    Link Commission proposes cap on biofuels production
    Link More on biofuels and their environmental implications


  19. Risk of nanotechnologies in food chain found to be negligible
    2013-04-08
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security, Archive

    Nanomaterials in food packaging are "safe and convenient" for consumers, a study commissioned by PlasticsEurope on the potential risks of nanotechnologies in the food chain shows.
    The results of the research reveal that there is no or extremely little risk of migration of nano materials to plastics packaging and packaged food.  
    PlasticsEurope is the European trade association which represents the European plastics manufacturing chain. The study was commissioned to Roland Franz, head of the department of product safety and chemical analysis at the Fraunhofer IVV institute, based in Germany, and scientific expert on food issues to the European commission,
    Nanotechnology is the act of purposefully manipulating matter at the atomic scale, otherwise known as the "nanoscale'. Nanotechnology is used in different applications, such as novel cancer therapeutic methods.

    Source: The Parliament, nanotech-now.com


    Link Read more
    Link More on Nanotechnologies
    Link More on PlasticEurope


  20. Direct aids to EU farmers: 80% of beneficiaries receive 20% of payments
    2013-04-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Agriculture

    Direct payments are still not equally distributed among beneficiaries in Member States of the European Union, the most recent report on the global distribution of direct payments by Member State, with final data for 2011 shows.
    The report published by the European Commission on March 22 reveals that 80% of beneficiaries receive around 20% of payments (however with important differences between Member States).
    This figure has been a feature of CAP support for many years, which the Commission is seeking to address in its reform concept.

    The Commission's CAP reform proposals aim at a fairer distribution of direct payments between Member States and between farmers, also through proposals for a degressivity of payments from € 150 000 onwards and capping at € 300 000, which was approved until the current state of the reform. Also, according to the latest vote of the European Parliament, differences among EU member states in the levels of EU funding for farmers should be reduced slightly faster than the European Commission proposed. No member state's farmers should receive less than 65% of the EU average. The EP also voted for the creation of a list of land-owners, such as airports and sports clubs, which should automatically be excluded from funding unless they prove that farming contributes a substantial share of their income.

    Direct payments in 2011 amounted to €40.2 billion, approximately 72% of the support provided to farmers by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). This represents a 1.3 % increase as compared to 2010, due to the continued phasing-in of direct payments in new Member States.
    The report also confirms that 92% of these payments are now "decoupled", which means that they are not linked to what and how much individual farmers produce. This reflects the evolution of farm support over time, from mainly price support measures in the 1970s and 1980s to the proposed combination of direct income support and a payment for sustainable farming practices.
    The report includes detailed analyses of direct payments and farm structure per country and groups of countries.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Consult de report
    Link EU farm policy voted in Parliament


  21. Kenya in talks with EU over export restrictions
    2013-04-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security, ACP-EU Trade

    The Kenyan government is negotiating with the EU over restrictions on the export of horticultural products from the East African country to European markets, after the EU put Kenya on the list of countries with 10 percent increased MRLs (Maximum Residual Levels) checks on exported beans and peas in pods, the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary Romano Kiome said.
    He said Kenya was lobbying to be excluded from the list, adding that the country has maintained a strict food safety policy for all its exports.
    On Dec. 4, 2012, the EU Directorate of Health and Consumers took the decision to review Annex 1 of regulation 669/2009 to increase levels of checks for a variety of commodities from various countries, including Kenya’s beans and peas in pods. The rules are part of new compulsory compliance procedures that took effect at the beginning of the year (2013) and are implemented at 10 percent level for all Kenyan exports of French beans, snow peas, mangetout, runner beans, sugar snaps and valore beans to the EU market.
    Under the tough compliance procedures, exporters to the EU are required to fill a Common Entry Document which would be counter-checked by authorities to confirm compliance with all safety controls on harmful elements such as Aflatoxins, pesticide residues and metals such as lead.

    Source: nzweek.com


    Link Read more
    Link Tougher rules for vegetable exporters to the EU
    Link Consult the regulation 669/2009


  22. The EU February 2013 edition of "Commodity price data"
    2013-04-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Agriculture

    The European Commission has released the February 2013 edition of ”Comodity price data”, a price dashboard which provides a summary of commodity price data for the most representative agricultural products and consumer food prices, at EU and world level for the first month of the year.
    Although not all the products are comparable at both EU and world level, this document is intended to give an indication on the most recent price developments.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Consult the most recent edition of the Commodity price dashboard


  23. EU : New energy funding in the Pacific
    2013-04-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Development Policy, Energy

    A new EU funding which amounts to €10 million, aimed at boosting access to sustainable energy in the Pacific Islands, was announced by the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, on Thursday, 21 March 2013.
    This funding comes from the EU's Energising Development Initiative, part of the UN's Sustainable Energy for All initiative, which the Commission announced last spring at a high level event with UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon. The Initiative included an initial pledge to provide €50 million until 2014, intended to support those developing partners that "opt in" to the initiative by providing EU expertise in the field.

    Speaking ahead of the Pacific Energy Summit, due to take place in Auckland, New Zealand, on 24 - 25 March, the Commissioner underlined that the funding would provide access to affordable and safe energy to the poorest living in some of the most remote areas of the Pacific, helping to significantly increase trade and growth opportunities in the region.
    The new support adds up to a previous commitments from the Investment Facility for the Pacific (IFP), which aims at closing funding gaps for projects by blending grants with funds from financial institutions and the private sector.
    The initial allocation from the IFP was €10 million, announced last year, and more funding might be provided in the future (up to €10 million more).
    Between 3-4 March, Commissioner Piebalgs participated in a high level meeting bringing together EU and national authorities of the Pacific islands in Samoa, to discuss priorities of the EU-Pacific cooperation for the coming years.

    Pacific countries receive targeted support on energy through the ACP-EU Energy Facility, a co-financing instrument designed to improve access to sustainable energy for the poor living in rural and peri-urban areas in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. In the ACP countries, the rate of access to electricity can be as low as 10% in rural areas. The EU has provided €420 million for the Energy Facility between 2006-2013.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Factsheet on EU support for energy in the Pacific Islands
    Link More on EU's Energising Development Initiative


  24. Push-Pull: model for Africa’s green revolution
    2013-04-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Environment, Archive, Climate change , Agriculture

    A conservation agricultural approach known as 'Push-Pull' technology that exploits natural insect-plant and insect-insect relationships can be used to control pests as stemborers and striga weed in maize fields, and thus dramatically improve livelihoods of resource poor farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. It was developed more than ten years ago by scientists at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) - an independent research center based in Nairobi (Kenya) – with finance from the EU and the UK Government, among others.
    ‘Push- Pull’ is a farming system which involves three different crops: maize (which is defenseless in front of local pests, not being an indigenous crop), and two accompanying perennial crops- Napier grass (an indigenous grass in Africa), and Disodium.
    The technology involves intercropping maize with a repellent plant, such as desmodium, and planting an attractive trap plant, such as Napier grass, as a border crop around this intercrop, as a trap plant.
    Desmodium produces a smell that ‘pushes’ away the stemborer moths from the rows of maize. It also covers the surface of the ground between the rows, which stops striga weed on growing. On the other hand, Napier grass is more attractive to stemborer moths and ‘pulls’ the moths to lay their eggs, without allowing to the larvae to develop.
    The technology is appropriate and economical to the resource-poor smallholder farmers in the region as it is based on locally available plants, and fits with traditional mixed cropping systems in Africa.
    Furthermore, Desmodium is a perennial cover crop which is able to exert its striga control effect even when the host crop is out of season, and together with Napier grass protect fragile soils from erosion. It also fixes nitrogen, conserves soil moisture, and improves soil organic matter, thereby enabling cereal cropping systems to be more resilient and adaptable to climate change.

    By 2012, the ‘Push-Pull” approach has been adopted by almost 60,000 smallholder farmers in East Africa (Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia). In the researched cases, maize yields have consequently increased more than three-fold, from about 1 t/ha to 3.5 t/ha. ICIPE envisages to reach 1 million small scale farmers in the future.
    The main challenge faced by the technology is its knowledge-intensive character- its adotion at large scale requires training and mass dissemination. Also, seed producers tend to be reluctant to produce Desmodium seeds, because the crops is perennial, and farmers are not obliged to buy it several times.  

    Stemborers, parasitic striga weeds and poor soil fertility are the three main constraints to efficient production of cereals in sub-Saharan Africa. Crop losses caused by stemborers and striga weeds amount to about US $ 7 billion annually, affecting mostly the resource poor subsistence farmers.

    ICIPE (International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology) is a pan-African research organisation that investigates tropical insect science for development. ICIPE was established in 1970 in order to conduct research on methods that are non polluting, non resistance inducing, and affordable to resource limited communities for  pest and vector management strategies.
    With the funding of European Union, an ‘Adaptation and Dissemination of the ‘Push-Pull’ Technology (ADOPT) project is currently going on.

    Source: CTA Brussels, ICIPE


    Link Read more
    Link More on ICIPE


  25. EU-ICIPE project: Tsetse repellent technology
    2013-04-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    A new tsetse repellent technology, developed through a partnership between ICIPE – an independent research center based in Nairobi (Kenya) and the EU, reduces tsetse bites by more than 90% and has the potential to considerable increase the standard of living of East-Africa pastoralists.  
    The tsetse control innovation consists in repellent collars fitted on the neck of cattle. The collars have a dispenser containing odors of animals avoided by tsetse (like the waterbuck, a big antelope species that is common in tsetse-infested areas of Eastern Africa).
    These fly repellents reduce tsetse bites by more than 90%. The consequent reduction in animal infection can lead to an increase in the average cattle weight, a can determine up to a two-fold increase in the production of milk and the price with which animals are sold.   
    The technique is especially suitable for pastoralists like the Maasai of eastern Africa, who move from one place to another, and do not gain much from using traps (located usually in the nearby of settlements).
    The technology has been developed over the last twelve years, and is currently in the process of validation trials, process which will involve 300 pastoralists and more than 1,500 cattle over the next ten years. Several dispenser models have been developed and tested and ICIPE is working to find business partners in order to mass-produce the prototype repellent collars into commercial products.

    Tsetse flies, found in 37 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, carry  thyme trypanosome parasite that causes human African trypanosomosis (commonly called human sleeping sickness), and the livestock disease nagana. More than 300.000 people are infected with sleeping sickness, and more than 3 million cattle die every year after being bitten by tsetse flies.
    Crop production in Africa is greatly affected by the combined effects of tsetse transmitted disease. ICIPE estimates that the flies are one of the main reasons why 80% of the continent’s land is still tilled by hand.
    FAO estimates that up to $ 6.5 million a year are lost in Africa due to sickness spread by tsetse mosquitoes.
    Over two-thirds of Africa’s population consists of small farmers, many of whom are dependent on livestock.

    ICIPE (International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology) is a pan-African research organisation that investigates tropical insect science for development. ICIPE was established in 1970 in order to conduct research on methods that are non polluting, non resistance inducing, and affordable to resource limited communities for  pest and vector management strategies.

    Source: CTA Brussels, ICIPE


    Link Article on the same topic in The Guardian
    Link Global times article on repellent collar
    Link More on ICIPE


  26. EPA in spotlight at Caribbean Exporters’ Colloquium
    2013-04-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was described as “one of the most ambitious contemporary attempts at promoting regional integration processes,”  by the Director-General of the Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) Directorate in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, Ivan Ogando Lora, at the opening of the Caribbean Exporters’ Colloquium 2013, organized by the Caribbean Export Development Agency, in Bridgetown, Barbados from March 20 to 21.
    The Colloquium forms part of and is the capstone activity of the inaugural Caribbean Export Week, which ran from March 17 to 22 under the theme ‘Promoting Regional Trade, Export Development and Investment’.  The event provided an opportunity for a cross-section of key stakeholders to examine the status of the ‘regional export platform’. In large, through a dialogue and exchange between participants and policy makers, trade policy practitioners and business persons, on the most effective ways in which the region can seek to increase exports and achieve deeper market penetration in both traditional and non-traditional markets, the event aimed to reach a  consensus on the priority sectors that could be the focus of a viable regional export strategy.

    Maxine McClean, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, put the onus for making the EPA work for the region squarely at the feet of the regional private sector, underscoring in her feature address that “Our business persons must be innovative in their thinking”. She encouraged to focus attention on a regional export strategy, of which an action plan would form a critical part.

    The EPA was signed by fourteen CARIFORUM States in October 2008 and by the fifteenth CARIFORUM States, and Haiti, in December 2009. The Agreement is being provisionally applied since 29 December 2008.

    Source: CARICOM


    Link Read more
    Link More on the Caribbean Export Week
    Link CARICOM : EPA implementation gets a boost


  27. Denmark asks EAC to conclude pact with EU
    2013-04-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The Danish government has called in the first part of March 2013 on the East African Community (EAC) to conclude a deal with the European Union on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), saying it would be of benefit to both parties and “will help integrate the region into the global market.”
    The call was made by the  Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, as part of a visit to the EAC headquarters, which included talks on a variety of subjects (besides the EU-EAC Economic Partnership Agreements) such as the implementation of the Customs Union and the Common Market protocols; negotiations for the Monetary Union protocol, and potential for renewable energy in the region. In this context, she affirmed Denmark’s support for the EPAs.
    He informed his guest the priorities would be moving the bloc from a customs union to a single customs territory, implementation of the common market, infrastructure development, implementation of the EAC Industrialization Policy, and multi-stakeholder involvement, including the private sector, civil society, women and youth.
    EAC Secretary General, Dr Richard Sezibera said that an agreement on the single customs is expected to be reached in 2013, which would lead to a considerable reduction in barriers to trade in the region.

    At the end of 2007 the Eastern African Community (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and
    Uganda) agreed a region-to-region interim or "framework" EPA with the EU. The region is now negotiating a comprehensive regional EPA. However, the framework agreement has not been signed or ratified. Negotiations for the comprehensive regional EPA now focus on development co-operation, agriculture and rules of origin.
    Denmark asks EAC to conclude pact with EU
    The value of total trade flows between the Eastern African Community and the EU is about €4.3bn (or 0.12% of EU imports), exports to the EU being dominated by a few products such as plants, flowers, coffee, vegetables, fish and tobacco.

    Source: Tralac, European Commission




    Link Read more
    Link State of Play of EPAs with the EAC
    Link EPA may prevent ‘real industrialisation’ in EAC


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Ms Isolina BOTO
Head
CTA Brussels Office
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1000 Brussels - Belgium
Tel: +32 (0) 2 513 74 36 (direct); Fax +32 (0) 2 511 38 68
E-mail: boto@cta.int
Website: http://www.cta.int/
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Brussels Briefings: http://brusselsbriefings.net/

Editor: Alejandra Morales (morales@cta.int)

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For more information on the full range of CTA activities please go to http://www.cta.int/
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CTA is an institution of the ACP Group of States (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific) and the EU (European Union), in the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and is financed by the EU.
Copyright © 2011 Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU. Email:cta@cta.int
The opinions expressed in the comments and analysis are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CTA.

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