Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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EDITO
Thursday, 19 October 2017
On 9th December 2009, more than 100 experts attended the 15th Brussels Development Briefing on "From Global Food Crisis to Local Food Insecurity" organised by the CTA and its partners. The Briefing examined the domino effects of increased speculation in food markets and the impacts of the global food and financial crisis on food production, food distribution and developing countries’ food security. The risks for global food production and the role that small-scale farming can play in times of crisis in least-developed countries have been discussed, along with the policy options that can secure food supply and availability at global and local level. For more information (including presentations and interviews): http://www.brusselsbriefings.net.

The European Union is considering imposing a tax on multinational corporations which shirk their tax responsibilities in developing countries while hiding their profits away in secrecy jurisdictions/tax havens. EU Development Commissioner Karel De Gucht suggested last week a tax in Europe for multinationals operating in developing nations but squirrelling profits off to tax havens. "We must take our responsibilities regarding multinationals based in Europe with activities in the developing world and not consider that financial transfer to tax havens have been duly taxed", De Gucht told a good governance conference at the European Parliament in Brussels. Asked for details, he said that Europeans should find a system to allow them to raise considerable funds for development aid. Currently tax evasion is "at least three times bigger than development aid", he added.

Friday, 18 December 2009
At the 2986th Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries held in Brussels on 14-16 December 2009, the delegation of Netherlands provided information regarding the conclusions of the International conference on "GMOs in European agriculture and food production" policy in Europe held in The Hague on 15-16 November 2009. Some delegations warmly thanked Gerda Verburg, Minister for Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and her colleague, Jacqueline Cramer Minister for Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment who jointly organised the event. The Austrian and Hungarian delegations welcomed the idea to have a Commission’s proposal allowing individual Member States to adopt national measures leading to regulate and/or prohibit the cultivation of GMOs on their own territory. Commissionner Vassiliou reminded ministers of President Barroso's political guidelines regarding GMOs: "In an area like GMOs, for example, it should be possible to combine a Community authorisation system, based on science, with freedom for Member States to decide whether or not they wish to cultivate GM crops on their territory".
The 2986th Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries held in Brussels on 14-16 December 2009 took note of the presentation by the Commission of its report on options for animal welfare labelling and the establishment of a European Network of Reference Centres for the protection and welfare of animals. The report identifies various issues concerning animal welfare labelling and communication, and the possible establishment of a European Network of Reference Centres for the protection and welfare of animals, based on the results of an external study provided to the Commission in January 2009. The feasibility study on animal welfare labelling shows that the best option for EU action empowering consumers to make informed purchasing decisions is a Community Animal Welfare Label modelled after the EU organic label. A Community Animal Welfare Label can be expected to have more direct effects on animal welfare than other voluntary options, depending on the market share of the label.
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
Member States voted yesterday in favour of a Commission proposal to divide up an additional €300 million in aid for EU dairy farmers. The money will be distributed according to production within quota in the 2008/09 milk production season (April 2008-March 2009). The money will have to be allocated to individual farmers who are severely affected by the low dairy prices of this summer and who encounter liquidity problems. Member States will have to communicate before the end of February the objective criteria they will use to allocate the money to individual farmers.