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CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter
Subject: CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter
Send date: 2013-08-05 13:27:59
Issue #: 186
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 : 05/08/2013
CTA Brussels Newsletter

 

Main events in the week
  1. Happy Holidays from the CTA Brussels Office!
  2. Video Guest: Marie-Paule Rizo (WIPO)
  3. Namibia: Hopes for EPA negotiations in September
  4. Africa: No EPAs to be signed until April 2014
  5. East Africa: EAC Fallout Over EU Deals
  6. EPAs: EU wants Kenya to lead
  7. ACP: Gender parity, in the highlight for the post-2015 agenda
  8. West Africa: commercial fishery stocks, over-exploited
  9. ECOWAS asks for “Energy for all“ in post-2015 agenda
  10. EC: EPAs should not be seen as a threat to industrialization
  11. Faroe Islands risks sanctions over overfishing
  12. EU plans labelling for short supply chains
  13. EU support beneficial to Fiji exporters
  14. South Africa looks for New Markets for Citrus, as EU threats with Imports Ban
  15. Kenya: Over €345m from the EU for the next seven years
  16. African farming group seeks private add-ons to EU aid
  17. SA moves to reassure EU after trade deal fallout
  18. EU warns South Africa over "bad" trade policy
  19. International aid: European countries de-prioritise sub-Saharan Africa?
  20. Proposal of 2015 as European Year for Development


  1. Happy Holidays from the CTA Brussels Office!
    2013-08-05

    Due to the suspension of activity of several EU and ACP institutions in Brussels for the summer holiday, we will briefly halt the publication of news and the distribution of our weekly newsletter. 
    We will resume our regular publications 20 August 2013.

    Thank you for visiting the CTA Brussels Weblog and reading the weekly newsletter!

    Enjoy your summer holidays.

    Your CTA Weblog team




  2. Video Guest: Marie-Paule Rizo (WIPO)
    2013-08-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Food Policy, Agriculture

    In an interview with CTA Brussels following the Brussels Briefing on "Geography of food: reconnecting with origin in the food system" - held in Brussels on 15th May 2013 -, Marie-Paule Rizo, Head of the Industrial Design and Geographical Indications Law Section at WIPO (The World Intellectual Property Organization) highlighted the key elements for establishing a successful scheme for protecting geographical indications and traditional products. Among others, these are:

    •           The willingness of producers to work together towards a common goal

    •           Looking at a GI scheme as a holistic business scheme

    •           Patience

     

    Watch the video to find out more!


    Link Watch the video
    Link Brussels Briefing on Geography of food
    Link background Research on the Topic - Reader of Briefingf


  3. Namibia: Hopes for EPA negotiations in September
    2013-08-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    During his visit in Namibia on 17 July, the European Union (EU) Trade Commissioner, Karel De Gucht, requested an improved offer from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) negotiating team that he could present to EU member states in order to be able to move closer to finalization the protracted negotiations for the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).
    Botswana, Namibia and South Africa are negotiating a regional EPA with the EU as part of the SADC EPA Group, which also includes Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland.An official of the Namibian government noted that while some progress has been made in negotiations, the ideal situation would be for Namibia to negotiate a win-win agreement. Namibia is looking towards the next round of negotiations in September this year as a last opportunity to resolve outstanding issues. However, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, at the forefront of the talks, says Namibia will only sign an agreement in the long-term interest of the country.
    According to De Gucht, the EU has already expressed its readiness to offer measures for the protection of infant industries, as well as food security safeguards. He said that EU wants local industries to benefit from the trade agreement and to create added value and jobs.
    Faced with the threat of loss of preferential market access into the EU market at the end of December 2007, many ACP countries signed the interim EPAs. However, Namibia opted not to sign an interim EPA given that the country’s negotiators identified outstanding issues that would have eroded policy space.
    Trade between the EU and Namibia has grown at a rate of more than 200 percent over the past ten years, and in 2012 it reached a total value of 2 billion Euros.
    "It goes without saying that the conclusion of the EPA is key for our trade relations. Namibia currently enjoys free access to the EU market. Namibian products, if industrial or agricultural, do not pay duties at the EU’s borders and are not subject to quotas. But this regime is based on a temporary instrument, which will end on 1 October 2014," explained De Gucht. Namibia (which is not considered a least developed country would not be eligible for preferential treatment for its exports to the EU after October 2014 8the deadline for the signing of the trade agreement), unless it ratifies an EPA.

    Source: www.bilaterals.org


    Link Read more
    Link EU Trade Commissioner on visit to Kenya, Namibia
    Link EU to scale down aid in Namibia


  4. Africa: No EPAs to be signed until April 2014
    2013-08-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    African regions should refrain from signing the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the EU until the next Africa-EU Summit, scheduled for April 2014 – this was the decision reached at the beginning of August in Libreville (Tanzania), during an EPA Negotiations Coordination Meeting organized by the African Union (AU), according to Tanzania’s ambassador to the EU, Dr. Diodorus Kamala - as cited by the Daily News Online from Tanzania.
    The EPAs are thus to be included in the agenda of the Africa-EU Summit, and an assessment of impact on the Eastern African Community (EAC) – Southern African Development Community (SADC) should be then carried out.
    Especially certain divergent areas need more in-depth analysis and discussion, according to the AU. These are: the most favored nation clause, the agricultural subsidies in the EU, development finance for the EPAs, and the rules of origin.
    The meeting is reported to have also requested the EU to consider the possibility for providing for Africa a non-reciprocal trade agreement, as it has done for the neighboring countries of Moldova, and the ones in the Western Balkans, in order to support its economic development.
    Moreover, EU should be urged to offer all but arms market access (the most favorable regime) to all least developed countries, as well as Regional Economic Communities, and should refrain from using sanitary barriers to trade with the EU, the meeting heard.

    Five African regions are currently negotiating EPAs with the EU. These are: EAC, SADC, West Africa (ECOWAS), Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA), and Central Africa.

    Source: Daily News Online


    Link Read more
    Link EPAs: EU wants Kenya to lead
    Link AU and EU to Strengthen Trade and Economic Links


  5. East Africa: EAC Fallout Over EU Deals
    2013-08-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, ACP-EU Policy

    A row is brewing between Kenya's new government and her regional East African Community (EAC) counterparts over its readiness to sign the European Union's Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAs), the electronic version of AllAfrica informed on July 26.
    While Kenya is under pressure to sign, thanks to lobby groups that argue that the government's delay was a threat to the country's fish and flower sectors, the other EAC member countries are under pressure not to endorse the deals thanks to lobby groups in their countries that say that the EPAs are a threat to their national economies. Civil society in neighboring countries is reported to have said that Kenya should rethink the EPA deal and its consequences on regional integration and regional trade.
    However, Kenya is in a more sensitive situation, as it is not among the Least Developed Countries (LDC) like all the other four EAC members - Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and Uganda - which trade with the EU under Everything But Arms (EBA) arrangement under which all products except arms enjoy tariff free access to the EU market.
    Without EPA, Kenya's exports may be subjected to punitive taxes under the third country or the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP). GSP is a trade arrangement through which the EU provides developing countries and territories with preferential access to the EU market in form of reduced tariffs for their goods when entering the EU market. Even with GSP, this represents an increase in tariffs for ACP countries, which hitherto have benefited from duty free access to the EU market.
    Kenya is the biggest flower exporter to the EU. If Kenya does not sign the deal, its flowers will be subjected to an 8.5% duty, which will make the flowers less competitive. Without the EPA, buyers in the EU market may resort to cheaper flowers from other suppliers
    However, voices say that Kenya should not succumb to pressure to sign the deal, as it could be making a mistake because – even in the case of a failure to sign the agreement with the EU - it can still get other alternatives within the region and Asia for its products.

    At the moment, it appears Kenya's opposition Members of Parliament urging the Kenyatta government to re-consider the country's interests before signing the deal. The negotiations have now been put to a halt.

    Source: All Africa


    Link Read more
    Link Kenya: Delays in EU trade agreements hurt flower production
    Link EPAs: EU wants Kenya to lead


  6. EPAs: EU wants Kenya to lead
    2013-08-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, ACP-EU Policy

    In the middle of July, European Commissioner for Trade, Karel de Gucht, was in Nairobi (Kenya) to drum up momentum for Kenya to quickly lead in signing the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the electronic version of AllAfrica writes.
    Kenya is one of the member states of the East African Community(EAC), with which the EU has been negotiating Economic Partnership Agreements since 2004. To date, none of the five EAC countries has signed the comprehensive agreement, meant to define the trade relations with the Europe for decade to come.
    Recently, however, the EAC Secretariat disclosed that negotiations were coming to a close. The EU has also reportedly backed down on some provisions.
    Before flying out to Nairobi, De Gucht stressed there is no time to waste on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement negotiations between the EU and the EAC. While in Nairobi, he said Kenya's good export figures are largely result of free access to the EU's market, granted by a temporary instrument pending Kenya’s (EAC’s) ratification of the interim EPA that the group signed in 2007.
    "But if we want this success story to continue; we need to go further. The full Economic Partnership Agreement we are currently negotiating would not only make Kenya's existing free access to the EU market permanent. It would also deepen our trade relations in a host of areas, by reducing trade barriers, simplifying customs procedures, and by improving trade-related cooperation." he said.

    Source: All Africa


    Link Read more
    Link EU Trade Commissioner on visit to Kenya
    Link Kenya: Delays in EU trade agreements hurt flower production


  7. ACP: Gender parity, in the highlight for the post-2015 agenda
    2013-08-02
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive, ACP-EU Policy

    In order to overcame the lag in the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) relating to gender and women empowerment, there is need to reinforce targeted measures, such as education and training, and gender quotas, the representatives of the 15 Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) at the 10th session of the ACP-EU regional Joint Parliamentary Assembly - held in Abuja (Nigeria) on 17-19 July – concluded.
    The role of women in crises resolution, as well as the economical and social development of the ACP countries was highlighted. In this regard, the creation of an ACP-EU network of women in the framework of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly was proposed.
    Not lastly, ECOWAS representatives called upon inclusion of gender parity and the fight against women violence as a specific goal in the MDGs post-2015 agenda.

    On 17-19 July, the West African region of the ACP Group hosted the 10th session of the ACP-EU regional Joint Parliamentary Assembly, bringing together parliamentarians from the 15 ECOWAS states and counterparts from the European Parliament to discuss key trade and development issues faced by the region. Dialogue focused on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA), energy resources and development, climate change, youth unemployment, fishing industry development, terrorism and piracy, and women’s empowerment.

    Source: ACP


    Link Read more
    Link Post-2015 agenda high priority for ACP
    Link http://brussels.cta.int/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=7847:eu-commission-proposes-pooling-world-development-aid-funding


  8. West Africa: commercial fishery stocks, over-exploited
    2013-08-02
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries, ACP-EU Policy

    Most of the commercial fishery stocks are nearly over-exploited in the west African region, the representatives of the 15 Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) at the 10th session of the ACP-EU regional Joint Parliamentary Assembly - held in Abuja (Nigeria) on 17-19 July – concluded.
    Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, poor statistics on stocks, inefficiencies in sanitary controls, lack of cooperation and coordination, as well as security threats – were some of the causes identified for the current situation in the region.
    Yet, opportunities for the fisheries industries in west Africa might arise from the considerable biodiversity of its waters, and the region’s proximity to European markets. For appropriately using these opportunities, special attention should be played to increasing the storage capacities, the modernization of aging fleet, and the enhancement of maritime security. Also, inland fisheries should be considered as a priority for the food security policy.

    Concerning the point of maritime security, special concern was given to the extent of terrorism, piracy and drug trafficking in the region, and in Nigeria in particular.  To address this problem, given the transnational nature of terrorism threats, ECOWAS members called for a stronger collaboration in the regional, and with international partners.


    On 17-19 July, the West African region of the ACP Group hosted the 10th session of the ACP-EU regional Joint Parliamentary Assembly, bringing together parliamentarians from the 15 ECOWAS states and counterparts from the European Parliament to discuss key trade and development issues faced by the region. Dialogue focused on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA), energy resources and development, climate change, youth unemployment, fishing industry development, terrorism and piracy, and women’s empowerment.


    Source: ACP


    Link Read more
    Link ECOWAS-EU political dialogue: food security and political stability
    Link Brussels Briefing on fish-farming


  9. ECOWAS asks for “Energy for all“ in post-2015 agenda
    2013-08-02
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy, Development Policy, Energy

    The “Energy for all“ objective should be one of the development goals in the post-2015 agenda, the representatives of the 15 Economic Community Of West African states (ECOWAS) at the 10th session of the ACP-EU Regional Joint Parliamentary Assembly - held in Abuja (Nigeria) on 17-19 July – concluded.
    Despite the high percentage (70%) of population without access to energy for daily needs, the West African energy sector is considered as one with great potential. Therefore, governments in West Africa were advised to develop appropriate energy policies and legal frameworks that can attract private- public partnerships. In this respect, Europe is seen as an important partner.
    On 17-19 July, the West African region of the ACP Group hosted the 10th session of the ACP-EU regional Joint Parliamentary Assembly, bringing together parliamentarians from the 15 ECOWAS states and counterparts from the European Parliament to discuss key trade and development issues faced by the region. Dialogue focused on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA), energy resources and development, climate change, youth unemployment, fishing industry development, terrorism and piracy, and women’s empowerment.

    Source: ACP


    Link Read more
    Link Post-2015 agenda high priority for ACP
    Link EU: Commission proposes pooling world development aid funding


  10. EC: EPAs should not be seen as a threat to industrialization
    2013-08-02
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, ACP-EU Policy

    The divergence between West African and EU negotiators on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) are a matter of concern, the representatives of the 15 Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) at the 10th session of the ACP-EU Regional Joint Parliamentary Assembly - held in Abuja (Nigeria) on 17-19 July – concluded.
    These divergences cover several areas, such as: the level of market opening, rules of Origin, financing of the EPA Development Programme, the tariff dismantling calendar, as well as the impact of EU agricultural subsidies on West African agriculture. Yet, despite these differences, the members showed themselves optimists about the possibility of reaching a common basis.
    The European Commission assured that EPAs should not be seen as a threat to industrialization or agriculture. This came in response to the ECOWAS countries that showed themselves worried over the protection of infant industries
    Another thorny point is the threat that interim EPAs might pose to the regional integration. It is considered, that, with Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire having already signed interim EPAs, the regional integration could be affected by resulting different trade regimes. For this reasons, it was recommended that  EPAs should be conclude with West Africa, as an entity, rather than bilaterally with individual countries.

    On 17-19 July, the West African region of the ACP Group hosted the 10th session of the ACP-EU regional Joint Parliamentary Assembly, bringing together parliamentarians from the 15 ECOWAS states and counterparts from the European Parliament to discuss key trade and development issues faced by the region. Dialogue focused on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA), energy resources and development, climate change, youth unemployment, fishing industry development, terrorism and piracy, and women’s empowerment.
    Source: ACP


    Link Read more
    Link More on ECOWAS
    Link ECOWAS-EU political dialogue: food security and political stability


  11. Faroe Islands risks sanctions over overfishing
    2013-08-01
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries

    Faroe Islands risks import prohibitions and banning of its fishing vessels from EU ports, because of overfishing of Atlanto-Scandian herring, the European Commission announced on 31 July. The announcement came the same day it had received the approval of the member states on the sanctions proposal.
    A final decision on this is to be taken by the European Commission by the end of August.
    This comes after, earlier this year, Faroes’ government unilaterally tripled its existing fishing quota. The Commission considers that this jeopardises the long term sustainability of the stock, and constitutes a unilateral disruption of the joint management of a crucial fishery stock.
    Following the Faroese announcement, the European Union gave a 'warning' to the Faroese authorities in May. However, the Faroese government did not propose any concrete offer for resolution, the Commission informs.

    Source: European Voice, European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link EP empowers EC to ban EU imports from overfished stocks
    Link Commission gets go-ahead for Faroes sanctions


  12. EU plans labelling for short supply chains
    2013-08-01
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security, Agriculture

    The introduction and strengthening of short food chains is on the European Commission’s agenda, as part of the EU Common Agricultural Policy reform, The Guardian informs. In January 2014, the directorate general for agriculture and rural development is due to present the European Parliament a new labelling scheme for the producers who want to market their produce locally.
    However, no clear data exists on how such a label will look like, and how it will differentiate between a product that comes completely - or only partially - directly from a farm. The project undergoes a large consultation.
    Short chains – which are defined by a limitation of the links in the producer-consumer chain -  are supposed to enhance transparency of food chains, a point with important lacks, as it could be observed during the horse meat scandal.  
    Commission’s idea is to help the approximate 11 million European small farmers to make an extra win from selling their products directly. They would avoid thus any extra charges incurred when dealing with intermediaries.
    Another advantage of this type of food trade is the increased  levels of trust that consumers have when buying directly from producers. This is expected to lead to long-term relationships and stability for both parties, Research from Coventry University's Centre for Agroecology and Food Security suggests.
    On the other hand, small-scale farmers would have to personally get involved within the marketing and selling activities, a time and knowledge-intensive process. Another matter of concern would be the cost of this label, which might deter producers from choosing it.


    Source: The Guardian


    Link Read more
    Link EU: Commission opens consultation on "Sustainability of the Food System
    Link EU: Horse meat scandal of fraudulent labelling


  13. EU support beneficial to Fiji exporters
    2013-08-01
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, ACP-EU Policy

    A Fiji-based exporter has spoke in positive terms the support provided by the European Union (EU) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) through the EU-funded Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade (IACT) project.
    The company is one of the 28 enterprises currently being assisted by the IACT project in the Pacific region. It buys vegetables and seafood from farmers and fishers in the Western Division of Fiji and supplies to the New Zealand market.

    The main goal of the IACT project is to strengthen the export capacity of Pacific members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of Countries (ACP) in the primary industries of agriculture, forestry, aquaculture and livestock.
    The IACT project employs a whole supply chain approach, assisting through the product development process from farm to factory to market. This helps commercial ventures to become export-oriented enterprises that are able to consistently supply overseas markets with competitive products.It was launched in June 2011, and was funded as part of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) - the main instrument for providing EU assistance to the ACP countries for the period 2008 – 2013 – with €9 million (from the total of €95 million allocated for the Pacific countries).
    The project operates in the 15 Pacific members of ACP (the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States): Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.


    Source: The Jet Newspaper


    Link Read more
    Link €9 million for increasing the trade capacity of Pacific ACP countries


  14. South Africa looks for New Markets for Citrus, as EU threats with Imports Ban
    2013-08-01
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    South Africa is re-orientating its citrus fruits exports to new markets as China and India, after the European Union has threaten with an import ban in case it intercepts over five incidences of black spot – a fungus which causes blemishes on fruit – a year, Bloomberg informed on July 26.
    “We do have a big problem in Europe,” said Pieter Nortje, chairman of the Citrus Growers Association of Southern Africa. Moreover, he showed himself sure that the threshold of 5 cases will be exceeded. The first incidence of citrus black spot for the year was reported last week following 39 interceptions in 2012, Nortje said. “It’s not a wake-up call, it’s been coming for 15 years, ” he added.
    “We are not replacing the EU market,” South African Agriculture Minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson is reported to have said. “We believe that India and China are the countries with the most opportunities, ” she added.
    The EU accounts for 40 % ($308 million) of South Africa’s citrus exports.  It’s citrus fruit industry provides 60,000 permanent and up to 100,000 temporary jobs.
    South Africa has also started shipping smaller quantities to other new markets, including Zimbabwe and South Korea.

    Source: bloomberg.com


    Link Read more
    Link SA moves to reassure EU after trade deal fallout
    Link EU warns South Africa over "bad" trade policy


  15. Kenya: Over €345m from the EU for the next seven years
    2013-08-01
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy, Development Policy

    A total Sh40 billion (€345,6 million) in aid will be allocated to Kenya between 2014 -2020 by the European Union, for use in agriculture and other sectors.
    While on a tour of the Kisumu-based tsetse repellent project on July 23, the EU Head of Delegation, Lodewijk Briet to the country, announced the financing, saying  that “after coming out of its first peaceful elections in decades, the country has a real opportunity to grow and benefit all Kenyans.”
    The money are allocated from the next (11th) European Development Fund (EDF) - the main instrument for providing EU assistance to the ACP countries - , covering the 2014-2020 period, which has a total value of 31.589 billion Euro. The EU gave Kenya Sh46 billion (€397,6 million) in its last aid programme between 2008 and 2012.

    Source: STANDRAD REPORTER


    Link Read more
    Link ACP, EU agree on development fund
    Link More on the European Development Fund


  16. African farming group seeks private add-ons to EU aid
    2013-08-01
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy

    As the European Commission’s proposed negotiation positions on a new global anti-poverty framework call for a stronger role for the private sector in addressing energy and food security, an African farming group leads the way on how such partnerships could be put in place.
    The partnership platform Grow Africa, sees the private sector’s role as crucial in providing supplemental financing and know-how in agriculture, the top employer and economic mainstay of many sub-Saharan nations : “If we are just going to keep giving aid until infinity, you are not helping anybody,” said Gagan Khurana, head of country operations at Grow Africa, which was launched in 2011 by the African Union and World Economic Forum with the backing of more than 30 African and multinational companies, as well as support from several European governments.
    Nine African countries have signed up as partners in Grow Africa. Currently housed at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, the organisation requires participating governments to commit to develop a national strategy for agricultural investment and provide high-level support for transparent investment. The countries include one of Africa’s poorest – Ethiopia – along with resource-rich Ghana and Nigeria.

    Public-private cooperation figures squarely in the European Commission’s ‘Decent life for all’ communication – released in February – as well as the emerging framework for an international successor to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the eight targets agreed in 2000 that expire in 2015.

    In the same time, some other advocacy groups and rights campaigners have expressed concern about too much blending of public and private endeavours, saying that no matter how charitable, private companies always expect dividends on their investments.
    At a conference held in the European Parliament in March, the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad) and seven other aid groups said funnelling money to private companies through blending resources tends to favour multinational corporations and big banks over poverty eradication, and urged policymakers to rethink EU development policies that promote blending funds to help foster private-sector growth.

    Source: Euractiv


    Link Read more
    Link EU: Commission proposes pooling world development aid funding
    Link Businesses seek upfront role in future development policy


  17. SA moves to reassure EU after trade deal fallout
    2013-08-01
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    On July 18, South Africa’s president Jacob Zumamade reassured the European Union (EU) that his country relationship with Europe is important and strategic, a day after tensions over trade deals boiled over at an South Africa-EU business forum.

    This comes after that in the opening remarks at the South Africa-EU business forum held on July 17, in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria (the event was a precursor to Thursday’s South Africa-EU summit), EU trade commissioner Karel de Gucht warned South Africa not to take its relationship with Europe, its biggest single trade partner, for granted.
    He said that the EU investors were watching South Africa carefully after the recent unilateral cancellation by South Africa of certain bilateral investment treaties with EU member states. Specifically, he referred to the bilateral investment treaties with some European Union (EU) member states, including Belgium and Luxembourg, and most recently with Spain which were unilaterally revoked by South Africa.

    Also in reply, South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, said that the withdrawal from the treaties is actually imposed by their expiration. He also ensured that their expiry puts in no way their investments at risk, or any threat to trade. In his letter, Mr Davies said: "We have repeatedly stated that South Africa has and will continue to offer robust protection for foreign investors." He also wanted to underline that South Africa did not have similar bilateral treaties with the US, Japan or India, but this " has not deterred investment inflows from investors in those countries".

    The article remarks that this move would be part of EU’s effort of staying competitive in front of the emerging giants (the Brics) for the trading and investments in South Africa, and, broadly speaking, the African continent.

    Total trade between the two parties since 2004 has grown 128%, while trade last year was topping R500bn.The EU remains South Africa’s largest overall trading partner, and its largest investor. However, trade had dropped off sharply from pre-crisis levels as EU demand for South Africa’s products has fallen, but exports from the EU to South Africa grew faster.

    Source: European Commission, businessnews, bdlive.co.za


    Link Read more
    Link South Africa gets tongue-lashing at SA-EU Business Forum
    Link Opening Remarks at the EU-South Africa Business Forum


  18. EU warns South Africa over "bad" trade policy
    2013-08-01
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    In the opening remarks at the South Africa-EU business forum held on July 17, in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria (the event was a precursor to Thursday’s South Africa-EU summit), EU trade commissioner Karel de Gucht warned South Africa not to take its relationship with Europe, its biggest single trade partner, for granted.
    He said that the EU investors were watching South Africa carefully after the recent unilateral cancellation by South Africa of certain bilateral investment treaties with EU member states. Specifically, he referred to the bilateral investment treaties with some European Union (EU) member states, including Belgium and Luxembourg, and most recently with Spain which were unilaterally revoked by South Africa. "There was little consultation with us," the trade commissioner affirmed.
    In this context, he underlined, that no investment from the EU should be taken for granted anymore: "this [cancelation] is a bad policy because it creates uncertainly in markets," he said. He added that it might be only a matter of time before European investors looked elsewhere for trade.
    It is reported that his remarks were welcomed by European delegates attending the event.

    Earlier that day, referring to the current negotiations on comprehensive trade and development partnerships, de Gucht said that trade negotiations were well advanced and should be finished by the end of this year.
    In the same time, South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies declared that under the existing Trade and Development Co-operation Agreement between the EU and South Africa, "access for South African agricultural products was not that well treated", and that negotiations were "seeking to improve that access".

    Source: European Commission, MSN Business News, bdlive.co.za


    Link Read more
    Link SA moves to reassure EU after trade deal fallout
    Link Opening Remarks at the EU-South Africa Business Forum


  19. International aid: European countries de-prioritise sub-Saharan Africa?
    2013-07-31
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Development Policy

    Aid from the EU15 member states for sub-Saharan Africa has fallen by 19% in 2012, compared to the previous year, according to a Special Report Tracking Development Assistance released by the international advocacy organization fighting  poverty in Africa – ONE.
    ONE’s analysis shows that 16 of the EU27 Member States are cutting their overall aid budgets, and drifting further away from the target to collectively spend 0.7% of GNI on ODA (Overall Development Assistance).
    However, for the EU15, the drop in ODA since 2011 (7.3% decline, according to ONE’s numbers) is not as steep as the drop in aid to Africa (18.2%); the aid to sub- Saharan Africa plummets even more disproportionately (by 19.0%). The advocacy says that the decreases in aid to African countries cannot be explained by lower overall ODA levels alone. This would suggest a de-prioritisation of the region, ONE claims.
    The EU institutions also administer their own ODA budget, comprised of Member States’ contributions. In 2012, aid from the EU institutions totalled €13.6 billion, 7.7% more than in 2011. In contrast with most EU15 Member States, EU institutions’ aid to Africa rose by 23.6% in 2012, to €5.5 billion. Aid to sub-Saharan Africa totalled €3.7 billion, up by 10.9% since 2011. This amounted to about 27% of total aid from the EU institutions, with aid to Africa as a whole totalling 40%.
    Previous data from the OECD has shown that overall contribution to international development by EU member states of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) -  a group of 25  wealthy OECD countries - funds fell by €2.3 billion in 2012 (representing a drop of 4,3% compared to 2011).

    Source: ONE


    Link Read more
    Link Consult the Report
    Link European development aid drops 4.3% in 2012


  20. Proposal of 2015 as European Year for Development
    2013-07-31
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Development Policy

    The European Commission has adopted the proposal for making 2015 the European Year of Development. This will be now considered for adoption by the Council and European Parliament.
    2015 is seen as a pivotal year for development; it is the last year for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the year in which the major decisions will be taken on what their replacements will look like.
    Four years after the adoption of the Agenda for Change (the European Commission's blueprint to refocus its development aid to make sure that it reaches those sectors and countries which need it most), 2015 is considered the ideal time for donors and stakeholders to come together to look at what has been achieved so far, and most importantly, what still needs to be done. Despite the current economic downturn, support for development remains high across the EU, with some 85% of EU citizens saying that Europe should continue helping developing countries despite the economic crisis, according to a recent Eurobarometer survey. In this context, the European Year of Development 2015 can be a key opportunity to raise awareness of development across Europe.
    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link EU seeks focus on environment in the post-MDG debate
    Link EU: broad support for development aid



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Ms Isolina BOTO
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Editor: Cristina Dobos (dobos@cta.int)

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