The Council adopted a decision approving the conclusion of the revised international cocoa agreement, which was negotiated by the UN cocoa conference in 2010, and replaced the 2001 version. One has to remember that the agreement was signed by the EU in June 2011 and provisionally applied since then. In January, International Trade Committee (INTA) MEPs recommended the Parliament to give its consent to a new International Cocoa Agreement.
During the course of the last Council meeting on General Affairs, ministers discussed, in public session, the first elements of the negotiating box outlining the most central issues and options for certain parts of the multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2014-2020 period. The negotiating box discussed by ministers covers budget 5 headings , as well as some horizontal issues, in particular the question of whether some instruments should be placed inside or outside the MFF. Related issues to the European Development Fund (EDF), which is the main instrument for providing Community development aid in the ACP countries, and which is funded by the Member States according to a specific contribution key, were part of the discussions.
According to recent reports, South African avocado exports have reached traditional volumes this year, after a down season in 2011. Around 48,000 tons are expected to be exported to the UK and Europe. Derek Donkin, CEO of the South African Avocado Growers’ Association (SAAGA), says this is expected to further increase in the coming years.
As Kenyan flowers could be subjected to 16 per cent duty if Kenya did not ratify the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) by June, concerns about the EPA's potential in boosting trade on the continent emerge. According to one article by The Standard, Kenya has much to lose if a new EPA is sealed, as differing from the rest of the EAC members, the country does not benefit from LDC conditions, which provides free access for goods to the European market. Musikari Kombo, President of the ACP Joint Parliamentary Group, says this can be detrimental to regional integration.
According to the Fiji Times, an analysis of the market carried out by the EU noted organic papaya as a product with considerable potential for Fijian farmers. This industry, which started as a means of insulation against the decline of the onetime backbone of Fiji's economy, the sugarcane industry, has become highly successful in the country.