August 2015
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Monday, 03 August 2015

The EU’s "MAP - Monitoring Agri-trade Policy" series provides in-depth analyses of relevant agricultural trade and agri-trade policy issues. EU agri-food exporters in 2014 maintained net surplus of €18 billion, despite the Russian import ban. 2014 trade statistics in particular indicate a growing importance of the US market for EU agri-food trade. The report notes that agri-food trade between developing countries – the so-called South-South trade’ – is growing at a higher rate than trade in developing countries. It notes that this qualitative shift in world trade patterns comes about with the demand growth being located in developing countries with high population and income growth (e.g. Africa) and growing supply by emerging countries.

European dairy farmers have been protesting in light of the challenges facing milk producers at risk from falling milk prices. While oversupply in the EU market means cheaper milk for consumers, there is also concern that this would lead to more aggressive export policies towards developing and emerging countries. Sieta van Keimpema, Vice-President of the European Milk Board (EMB) noted, “the current system and the current policy have failed, plunging European dairy farmers into the abyss. (…) It is the same in every EU country. Putting the blame on individual countries or farmers is wrong, because they are all struggling with the same problem.” In the current situation where the volume produced in the market exceeds demand produces a negative effect on prices, many stakeholders strongly believe that  EU production must be adapted to counter the threat to dairy farmers’ livelihoods throughout Europe.

Friday, 31 July 2015

This week, the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) and the European Union (EU) met to negotiate the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). Caribbean expert and renowned diplomat, Sir Sanders shall deliver the keynote address at the international conference on the EU-ECOWAS EPA. Sir Sanders presence, as a former negotiator of the Cariforum EPA was greatly appreciated in the context of the ECOWAS EPA negotiations. Publisher of Africa Today, Mr. Kayode Soyinka said,  “Nigeria, most especially members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANT) NACCIMA – the chambers of commerce, and of course the consumers, can get the benefit of the Caribbean experience from someone like Sir Sanders close to the center of the negotiations.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Guyana’s National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) Tissue Culture has received 3 banana and 9 plantain Black Sigatoka Disease (BSD) tolerant varieties from Bioversity International, Belgium and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Nigeria. NAREI shall analyse the varieties, of which the materials are currently being multiplied in vitro.

The European Commission has adopted today a legal act to create a simpler, more modern and integrated EU customs system to support cross-border trade and provide for more EU-wide cooperation in customs matters. It builds on the Union Customs Code adopted in 2013, which sets out detailed rules for twenty-first century customs processes. EU customs handle 16% of world trade, or over two billion tonnes of goods a year with a value of € 3,400 billion. Pierre Moscovici, EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: “A modern and cost-effective customs system facilitates international trade and is conducive to growth. It also plays a vital role in defending the safety and security of European citizens and in protecting Member States' interests.”

The Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture Belgium-Luxembourg-Africa-Caribbean-Pacific (CBL-ACP) shall lead an economic mission to Cuba from August 26 to 30. The Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce is a member shall also be part of the mission. While trade between Luxembourg and Cuba has been very limited over the past 20 year, the recent normalization of US-Cuban relations has lead the way for both economic and political rapprochement globally.  Jeannot Erpelding, director of international affairs at the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, expressed that in his opinion there is only very limited interest in doing business with Cuba, due to Cuba's geographical proximity to the US.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Luanda International Fair, Paulo Varela, chairman of the Portugal-Angola Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIPA) expressed contentment at the new Private Investment Law, which was approved this week in the Angolan parliament. Paulo Varela said “Angola needs investment in the productive sector, which requires legislative stability, as well as a stable fiscal framework that is as simple as possible,” and this new Law shall make the process “friendlier” for companies. Previously, Angolan law required a minimum of US$1 million private investment. The new law sets a minimum participation of 35% for Angolan partners and authorization to invest.

President of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi recently  called on French businesspeople to invest in industrial agriculture in Mozambique during his last official visit to Paris. President Nyusi underscored the strength of his country’s workforce, which can be leveraged for the agricultural sector. A French delegation is due to visit Mozambique later on in the year  to explore business opportunities with local business people. Other important sectors for future business opportunities include the gas sector, renewable energy and banking.

The Italian Minister of Fisheries, Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Maurizio Martina confirmed that Italy is committed to contribute to the relaunch of Angolan agriculture. On the sidelines of the  Angola-Italy Business Forum, Martina expressed interest in developing partnerships between companies from both countries after the signing of a memorandum of understanding in the agricultural sector with his Angolan counterpart. Martina said, “We have agricultural models based on family businesses and I think this agricultural model can be adapted to the Angolan experience.” Angolan Minister for Agriculture, Afonso Pedro Canga, was pleased with the support voiced by his counterpart for Angola’s recovery and development of agriculture plan.

Why can the Greek crisis in the EU be good news for EU-Nigeria trade? As the global economic and financial crisis takes its toll on mature economies, such as Greece, there are lessons for emerging countries. Some onlookers suggest that emerging markets such as Nigeria can boost their bargaining power when negotiating with economic giants such as the EU, both in bilateral trade talks and in terms of increasing exports to the bloc. The implications of the Greek crisis and the simalrities of debt-burdened governments deserve attention, especially as the EU is gaining increased market presence in Nigeria, amongst other emerging economies. In sum, emerging economies can gain buying power, but they also rsik to lose selling power: importing good will be cheaper with a fall in the euro, but at the same time, demand from the EU bloc may drop and impact government tax revenues.

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