October 2015
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Friday, 09 October 2015
Director General Pascal Lamy applauded yesterday the successful efforts of Latin American banana producing nations, the United States and the European Union to end their long running dispute over trade in bananas. The banana issue is one of the longest running disputes in the post-WWII multilateral trading system. It has generated considerable debate and litigation among the widest range of the entire WTO membership. And it has resulted in multiple legal rulings by dispute panels, the Appellate Body and special arbitrators. All this attention has focussed on the treatment the EU gives to the import of bananas from the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries in preference to bananas from Latin America. Yesterday, the final, comprehensive agreement has been announced by the EU.
This issue paper, titled “Legal and Systemic Contested issues in Economic Partnership Agreements and WTO Rules: Which Way Now?”, and written by Dr Cosmas Milton Obote O’chieng, provides a legal analysis of some systemic issues regarding the relationship between the WTO and EPAs.  Some of these issues include the following: The application of the Most Favourable Nation Clause, Article XXIV of GATT and its relationship with EPAs; The effects of the “standstill” clause on bound or applied tariff rates applied to ACP countries by WTO members; The political and legal effects of the “Non-Execution Clause” in EPAs; The articulation of the dispute settlement mechanisms of EPAs and their interactions with the WTO one. The paper concludes with a series of legal recommendations that could be useful to all stakeholders in understanding the stakes involved in the EPA negotiations.
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
This issue paper, titled “Environmental Issues in Economic Partnership Agreements: Implications for Developing Countries exhaustively reviews all rules related to trade and environment in several of the already signed EPAs. The aim of the paper is to enable ACP countries to understand how trade policy related to the environment has been introduced in EPAs, and how those policies might impact sustainable development in ACP countries. The paper starts by presenting the current European approach on trade and environment in those agreements. More specifically, it addresses the current state of negotiations, analyses precise proposals made, and explores some of the implications of introducing environmental issues in the EPAs.
Member States voted yesterday in favour of a Commission proposal to divide up an additional €300 million in aid for EU dairy farmers. The money will be distributed according to production within quota in the 2008/09 milk production season (April 2008-March 2009). The money will have to be allocated to individual farmers who are severely affected by the low dairy prices of this summer and who encounter liquidity problems. Member States will have to communicate before the end of February the objective criteria they will use to allocate the money to individual farmers.

The current EU presidency, Sweden, recently organized a meeting to discuss the future of the European information society (Visby Agenda-Creating Impact for an eUnion 2015). The main goal for the event was to reach a consensus on a new European ICT agenda. A central ambition is to enhance the use of ICT to promote sustainable and more environmental production and consumption. The Presidency Conclusions from Visby express the ambition for Europe to become “the most dynamic and competitive knowledge based economy”. This is to be accomplished by generating innovative ICT services and at the same time seeing to that Europe’s environmental responsibilities are fulfilled. It is welcomed that the need to switch from a supply-perspective to a service-generating demand side perspective, since this is essential for ensuring that future EU ICT development is efficient. Further, this implies that the EU has recognized the potential of ICT to not only make its own industry more sustainable, but also to offer environmentally efficient solutions to others.