Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

January 2018
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EDITO
Sunday, 21 January 2018

Fiji has signed today an interim Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU. The agreement focuses on trade in goods and provides duty free – quota free access for all products from Fiji to the EU market. It also aims to deepen cooperation in areas such as animal and plant health as well as technical standards.

African and Pacific countries continue to negotiate the challenging Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union. These new agreements have the potential to help African countries accelerate their economic growth and develop more resilient economies. However, the presence of negotiating deadlocks or a sense of fatigue as well as the lack of real appetite for these agreements among many African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) negotiators, raise legitimate questions regarding their structure and content, as well as their ability to constitute instruments to leverage economic growth. Read Essays on the Future of Economic Partnership Agreements.
Tuesday, 05 January 2010
The 2986th Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries held in Brussels on 14-16 December 2009  reached a political agreement on a draft regulation setting fishing opportunities for 2010 for Community vessels in the waters of the Atlantic, the Channel and the North Sea (TACs and quotas for the Baltic and Black Seas were already adopted on 20 and 27 November). In line with long-term conservation management plans applicable for certain stocks, the Council agreed to reductions, compared to 2009, for some species.
The 2986th Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries held in Brussels on 14-16 December 2009 reached a partial political agreement on the text of a draft Regulation laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market. The political agreement on the entire text could be reached during one of the Council forthcoming meeting. The European Parliament adopted its opinion on 22 April 2009. The Council adopted the FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) Regulation in December 2005 and gave the Commission mandate to open negotiations with third countries willing to enter voluntary partnership agreements.
The deadlock in trade negotiations between the EU and South Africa that threatened to break the world's oldest customs union, the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), is set to ease off, thanks to progress being made in ironing out differences between the two parties. The Head of Delegation of the EU in Botswana, Paul Malin said he was confident SACU would stay intact after the EU softened its stance and agreed to apply a common tariff to its exports to the region. This was the contentious issue that led to a breakdown in negotiations when South Africa insisted on a Common External Tariff for the southern African region in spite of its separate trade agreement with the EU-Trade, Development Cooperation Agreement (TDCA). "In principle, we have agreed to harmonise the TDCA and the interim Economic Partnership Agreement so that a common tariff can apply to the whole region", Malin said.
Thursday, 17 December 2009

The new strategy for 2010 to 2015 has been designed by the stakeholders in the national coffee sector. The government has also been involved, through the Ministries of Commerce, Agriculture, Rural Development, Scientific Research and Innovation, the Economy and Town and Country Planning. All of these eminent representatives were also aided by Cameroon’s development partners including the All ACP Agricultural Commodities Programme, the International Trade Centre, the European Commission, the World Bank, the United Nations Fund for Agriculture, the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development, etc. The recently released document obtained by Le Messager contains a dispassionate analysis of the unenviable situation in the Cameroonian coffee sector. The experts who wrote it observe a general downwards trend in Cameroonian coffee production and exports over the past thirty years.

This study provides a political and legal review of how international labour standards have been introduced and how those standards have evolved in the international trade arena. The author analyses new trends and negotiations on trade and labour standards at the multilateral, regional, and bilateral levels. The aim of the study is to offer developing country governments and other relevant stakeholders broad guidelines on how to address these issues in international negotiations with a focus on Regional trade agreements (RTAs), taking into account the experience of countries such as Chile that have already negotiated several of those agreements. Many of these agreements contain some similar baseline clauses including objectives, scope, and minimum international standards. There is also a certain level of divergence in those agreements, especially in relation to specific commitments, arrangements for compliance and dispute resolution clauses. In some cases, countries have adopted co-operation provisions and programmes for improving their capacity for inspection and control.
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.