Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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Saturday, 21 July 2018
Rather than wasting all its energy on fighting the WTO and negotiations with the EU, Africa could benefit from greater integration, says El Hadji A. Diouf, a Geneva-based trade policy expert who believes we are witnessing the emergence of a new trade order - one which despite its complexities is less unjust and more balanced than previous unilateral relationships with former colonial powers, as he explains in his recently-published book, 'L’Afrique et le droit à la différence dans les négociations commerciales internationales: OMC, APE, Intégration régionale' (Africa and the right to be different in the context of international trade negotiations. The WTO, EPAs and regional integration). The crucial issue is how Africa can be moved back off the sidelines.
Source: MedAfrique
Customs tariffs are a constant bone of contention between the ACP countries, European banana growers and Latin American countries. The United States and the European Union are now attempting to pour oil on troubled waters. On 13 July in Washington the American Foreign Trade Representative Ron Kirk and European Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton agreed to increase the frequency of their bilateral meetings in order to deal - inter alia - with the tricky issue of bananas. Their aim is to enable the European Union and the World Trade Organisation to reach an agreement on banana imports into the European Union. The United States, who have interests in banana plantations in Latin America, accuse the European Union of treating imports from African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and European-grown produce (from Martinique, Guadeloupe, the Canary Islands and Madeira) more favourably than imports from Latin American (Ecuador, Costa Rica, Colombia, Guatemala, Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela and Honduras).
Source: RFO Martinique
G8 discussions on the food crisis must include more than additional money, and prioritize agriculture and food policies that improve the position of small producers, in particular women. CIDSE, an international alliance of Catholic development agencies, and U.S.-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) welcome the proposed increase in the share of development funding devoted to agriculture. CIDSE and IATP welcome the focus on smallholder farmers and vulnerable groups by G8 governments, as well as their interest in exploring the feasibility of establishing a system of food reserves. We also call for coordinated action to discipline speculation on food prices. In a recent paper, Global food responsibility, CIDSE and IATP identify the role of major G8 members in creating the food crisis, and make recommendations for reforms. Global responses to the food crisis need to be inclusive, reinforce the U.N.’s role, and create binding commitments to end hunger.
Source: CIDSE
Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) have been hailed as necessary for middle-income countries that wish to secure the best possible access for their products to the European Union market, a senior European Commission official has said. Lena Sund, head of political, trade and information section of the Delegation of the EC in Botswana and SADC told the Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM) workshop that if no EPA is signed, the EU General Scheme of Preferenties will apply. This means that African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) group of states will have to pay the same tariffs as Latin American and Asian countries. Sund pointed out that The EU has shown its support to ACP countries under initiatives such as the 9th European Development Fund. This is a specific 6.5 million Euro EPA support facility meant to facilitate negotiations and preparations. Fund said that another package of 80 million Euros supports customs modernisation, standards and quality assurance, food safety, finance and investment and trade services within SADC.
Source: Mmegi Online
The new EU regulation is now ready about the implementation modalities of animal and seaweeds production in organic aquaculture. In the framework of the latest meeting of SCOF (Standing Committee on Organic Farming), which took place in Brussels on June 29-30, a favourable opinion has been expressed on the aquaculture regulation. The fishery sector, therefore, will soon have the opportunity to offer organic certification to its consumers.