September 2016
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Friday, 30 September 2016

The six African countries threatened with losing access to the European single market have finally agreed to sign the EU’s Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). But the continent’s regional integration may suffer as a result. EurActiv France reports. Kenya’s parliament last Wednesday (21 September) ratified the European Union EPA, signalling the end of a drawn-out struggle between several African countries and the European Commission, over the future of their trade relations with the EU. In July, Brussels had upped the pressure on six African governments, threatening to suspend their single market access if they had not ratified the new agreements by 1 October.

Jack Vera succeeded Niek Schelling in August 2016 as agricultural council for South Africa and Angola at the Dutch embassy in Pretoria. Just a year before he moved to South Africa, he was part of the management team of the direction Agricultural and natural science at the ministry of Economics. “South Africa is a very interesting country. For years, there has been a close bond between the Netherlands and South Africa. As agricultural council, I facilitate agricultural businesses that see potential in this country. Another main task is the improvement of the market access for Dutch products.

Zambia Sugar Company is reducing its sugar exports into the European Union (EU) to the regional market in view of the sugar reforms in the bloc to be effected in September 2017. The agribusiness company will this year reduce sales to the EU from 22 percent to 14 percent as it explores Africa’s regional markets, both traditional and new markets. According to managing director, Rebecca Katowa, this follows the sugar reforms that have impacted on the sugar regime and resulted in prices in the EU converging into global prices. The prices are below the cost of production and reflect residual markets and key players, namely Brazil, Thailand and India, who put sugar on that market with India’s sugar being subsidized.

The Swaziland Revenue Authority (SRA) has put in place institutional arrangements that will support the trade flows between the European Union (EU), Swaziland and Southern African Development Community (SADC) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) states. The agreement is expected to come into full effect on October 1. According to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade Principal Secretary Jinno Nkambule the country did not only ratify the EPA, but also deposited the ratification instrument with the EU in Brussels.

The emergence of Mrs Theresa May as the United Kingdom’s new prime minister is slowly steadying the ship of state that was destabilised by political turbulence in the wake of the June 23 referendum, which narrowly voted in favour of exiting the European Union (EU). It had been said, during the dramatic turn of events, and immediately after the sudden resignation of David Cameron as prime minister, that the UK would need a safe pair of hand to steady the ship of state, steer and negotiate its exit from the EU.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler says there’s no need for Barbadians to panic over the United Kingdom’s decision to exit the European Union (EU). “We ought not to run around like headless chickens snatching, sneering or grabbing at every other type of negative potential fallout from the exit of the UK from the European Union,” said Sinckler, who also emphasized that “before there was the European Union there was a Great Britain”. Addressing the opening of the Domestic Financial Institutions conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, he pointed out that “Britain is one of, if not our greatest partner internationally.

Kenyan company Roypack exports passion fruit to the United Kingdom, this accounts for 30% of its produce, while the other 70% is sold to other exporters. The exporter is now looking to the Netherlands and Belgium as a new market for passion fruit. The Netherlands, Belgium, UK, France and UAE top the list of countries where Kenyan passion fruits are exported to. “Currently we only export the Endulis variety to the UK, which is in high demand, but we are looking into newer markets and at bigger volumes. My future expectations for passion fruit is to ship 4 to 5 tons compared to the current 500kgs. I also expect to have a year round market,” explains Wilberforce Ngigi of Roypack Enterprises.

The European Union on Thursday proposed that its member states to consider approval of a political and cooperation accord with Cuba aimed at normalizing relations with the Caribbean nation. In presenting the document, the high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy Federica Mogherini said that the accord is the result of fruitful and constructive joint work between Cuba and the European Union and is a cornerstone of bilateral links. The accord for a political dialogue and cooperation with Cuba will be considered by the European Council, made up of all 28 heads of state or government of EU member nations before its signing over the next few months.

Twenty-eight European Union (EU) Member States and 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries are legally bound by the provisions of the Cotonou Agreement, with its three intertwined pillars: a political dimension, development strategies and economic and trade cooperation. In February 2020, the Cotonou Agreement will expire and a new relationship has to be designed, taking into account the achievements and shortcomings of the agreement. The EU position is expected by May 2017. The European Parliament's consent will be required before a new agreement is concluded.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

The European Commission has adopted the proposal to the Council on the signing of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) with Cuba.The Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement opens new avenues to support Cuba's process of economic and social modernisation, to foster sustainable development, democracy and human rights, as well as to seek common solutions to global challenges. At the same time, the High Representative Federica Mogherini transmitted a proposal to the Council to formally repeal the EU's 1996 Common Position on Cuba.

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