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ACP-EU Trade

Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

October 2018
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Sunday, 21 October 2018
Italy is paying closer attention to Africa in the conviction that there is a different continent from the one traditionally depicted as a land of poverty, disease and conflict. Africa is a young continent with enormous potential in terms of human capital. It is a continent which is not just a major supplier of raw materials, but also a market of 900 million consumers, with great potential for investment. On the political level, Africa has become a key partner in the dialogue on strategic issues such as energy security. And it is a vital partner in addressing global challenges, from climate change to combating terrorism. I was able to see this for myself during my visit to West Africa in February 2009, and I wish to find out more during my forthcoming visit to Mauritania, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.
The nominees to the 27-member European Commission hope to get the backing of Euro MPs, after each has been questioned in confirmation hearings. Like the last Commission, this one is headed by veteran Portuguese conservative politician Jose Manuel Barroso. Commissioners serve a five-year term and are responsible for drafting EU legislation and ensuring compliance with it. So who are the main players in the new team?
High import duties keep products from developing countries out of Europe. One particular problem is tariff escalation: Import tariffs increase the more processed a product becomes. This measure ensures that most imports to the EU are raw products like coffee, cocoa or pineapples which cannot be cultivated in Europe. While the import duties for unprocessed cocoa beans is rather small, the EU charges 30% for processed cocoa products like chocolate bars or cocoa powder, and 60% for some other refined products containing cocoa.
Wednesday, 27 January 2010
Today the EU has normalised its relationships and fully resumed development cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. Following the elections and the appointment of Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz as president, the EU considers that a consensual solution to the political crisis has been implemented and that Mauritania has returned to constitutional order. It has therefore repealed all appropriate measures for Mauritania today while inviting the country to a close political dialogue with the EU aimed at strengthening the stability of the country (5012/10). The EU will support Mauritania's continuing efforts to overcome its economic and political difficulties, including new security and terrorist threats, while encouraging the national inclusive dialogue anticipated in the Dakar agreement signed between the political forces on 4 June 2009.
Tuesday, 26 January 2010
Laura Sullivan  is our guest this week. She is responsible for the European policy and Campaigns in Brussels for ActionAid International. On the occasion of her participation to the Brussels Development Briefing on food crisis in ACP countries, Ms Sullivan explained her views on the subject, on the role of women and the small-scale farmers and the need to invest in their empowerment. She also touches upon trade policies and liberalisation approaches not always compatible with development.
Monday, 25 January 2010
The European Union should not impose border tariffs on goods from countries that fail to cut back their climate-damaging emissions, the EU's trade commissioner-designate said on the 12th January. "I don't think that's the right approach myself", Karel de Gucht told members of the European Parliament, which will vote whether to approve the European Commission line-up on 26 January. "It's an approach that will run into many practical problems." Europe has pledged to cut its emissions of carbon dioxide, which are blamed for climate change, to a fifth below 1990 levels over the next decade. But manufacturers worry that the cost of cleaning up factories and power-generators will make their products more expensive and less attractive than cheap imports from rivals in India and China.
Friday, 22 January 2010
The second revision of the Cotonou Agreement governing relations between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries should be finalised in March 2010. Progress in the negotiations is assessed in a report by Development Committee Chair Eva Joly (Greens/EFA, FR).The report also proposes improvements to tackle climate change, tax havens, migration, agriculture and "land-grabbing" (government-backed foreign investors buying up arable land in developing countries), mostly on the African continent.EU policy towards developing countries must be coherent and consistent.  Policy in areas such as trade, fisheries and agriculture must be designed to have sustainable development in the ACP countries in order to fight poverty, and guarantee decent income and livelihood, which is not the case now", said rapporteur Eva Joly in the debate preceding the vote.
Thursday, 21 January 2010
Since early 2008 interim trade agreements between the EU and six regions of ACP countries (respectively sub-groups within the region) are in force. These agreements could be stepping stones towards full Economic Partnership Agreements between the EU and all ACP countries. This paper written as a background paper for the World Development Report 2009, estimates the welfare effects of the interim agreements for nine African countries: Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, and Uganda.
New German Development Minister Dirk Niebel has begun a one-week trip to Central Africa. Deutsche Welle asked experts just how effective aid has been in the region up to now, and whether changes are necessary. Dirk Niebel's visit to Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique is his first official foreign trip since taking office. It is being seen by many as a litmus test of the intentions of the Liberal Democrat, who has vowed to bring about a fundamental shift of German policy. Just a few days before his departure the development minister sparked controversy with his remarks that he did not see the ministry as a "benefit office for the world."
Wednesday, 20 January 2010
The European Union's trade commissioner-designate said on Tuesday he was unsure whether world leaders would achieve their pledge to complete the Doha round of global trade talks this year. The G20 group of rich and emerging economies pledged last year to conclude the Doha talks, aimed at liberalising global trade, in 2010 in a bid to kickstart dwindling trade flows hit by the worst financial crisis in nearly 80 years. "I'm personally confident that we are going to conclude the Doha round - whether it will be in 2010 or 2011... I am quite confident about it", Karel de Gucht told a European Parliament hearing. "We are agreeing on 90% of the topics we have to address in Doha... there is no alternative to Doha", he told the assembly, which votes on Jan. 26 on whether to approve a new European Commission line-up for a five-year term.