The acp-eu-trade.org newsletter -- No. 7/January 2007


January 31, 2007.  

In this issue:

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Three questions to…:

 

Dr. Evita Schmieg, Division Chief Trade, Globalization, Investment of the Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development of the Federal Republic of Germany

 

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Focus on…:

The TradeCom Facility

 

by Patrick Martens

 

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Keeping Track...:

The Doha Round of negotiations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)

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News: Highlights of the Month

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Selection from www.acp-eu-trade.org Library

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Resources from Recent Events

 

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Dear readers,

 

 

 

Welcome to the first acp-eu-trade.org Newsletter of 2007! The year is set to be a critical one for the negotiation of the Economic Partnership Agreements, both at the negotiating table and in related fora. This newsletter will continue to offer non-partisan information on EPA and EPA-related developments, covering both official and non-official inputs and outcomes.

 

 

 

ACP-EU stakeholders are encouraged to participate in the various services provided via this website with the aim to exchange relevant information, build up trade negotiating capacity and facilitate networking activities. We therefore invite our readers to take an active role in www.acp-eu-trade.org by:

 

 

 

- Registering on-line as a trade and development expert to help mobilise the best expertise in ACP-EU trade and development matters and give interested parties easier access to information on relevant internationally recognized experts or consultants;

 

- Submitting relevant background and policy documents, news and links that will enrich the ACP-EU trade debate;

 

- Subscribing to our monthly newsletter as well as other partners’ to be kept informed of latest developments in the ACP-EU trade realm;

 

- Sharing your views on the current ACP-EU Trade debate and providing feedback on the relevance and future focus areas of www.acp-eu-trade.org

 

 

 

We appreciate any feedback on this newsletter and look forward to your reactions. You may send your comments to acpeutrade@ecdpm.org.

 

 

 

Enjoy your reading!

 

 

 

Editors: Eoghan Duffy (ed@ecdpm.org) and Davina Makhan (dm@ecdpm.org)

 

 

 

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Three Questions to…

 

Dr. Evita Schmieg, Division Chief Trade, Globalization, Investment of the Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development the Federal Republic of Germany

 

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For the first issue of the acp-eu-trade newsletter of 2007, Dr. Evita Schmieg answers our questions and provides you with the views of the German Presidency of the EU on the current EPA negotiations.

 

 

 

1. What are the main objectives of the German Presidency for the EPA negotiations?

 

 

 

1. Our first objective is to ensure that EPAs are designed to promote sustainable development as stated in the Cotonou Agreement.

 

2. We support timely conclusion of EPAs. The WTO waiver for the current trade regime lasts until the end of 2007 and we do not see any flexibility on the part of the WTO partners in continuing to grant waivers for one-sided trade preferences. >From where we are today, we believe that it is possible to conclude the negotiations within the year – but all sides will really have to make an effort.

 

3. We want to contribute to strengthening dialogue among actors – the European Commission, the Member States, the ACP States as well as civil society. The negotiations are very complex and the issues to be dealt with are difficult in economic and judicial terms. In this situation, dialogue can contribute to clarification and help avoiding misunderstandings… [click here to read more]

 

 

 

2. How will Germany "ensure that the (EPA) agreements are oriented towards development policy", as stated in its Work Programme for the EU Presidency?

 

 

 

As a presidency, of course, we will play the role of a facilitator in the discussion process between Commission and Member States and in structuring and promoting the relevant processes in the Council. It is therefore only partly in our hands how the process evolves, but we will try to be as helpful as possible.

 

 

 

With regard to the content of your question: from our point of view the contribution of EPAs to development will be closely linked to the question of the design of EPA agreements as such on the one hand and how to far we are able to strengthen the linkage between trade and development aspects on the other hand.

 

 

 

With regard to the design of the agreements: there is an obvious need for asymmetry in reciprocity, since, with the EU, we have one of the strongest economic areas in the world negotiating with the poorest regions. Liberalisation of the ACP economies must serve their development needs – it is not an end in itself. Liberalisation is just one instrument which has to contribute to sustainable development as stated in the Cotonou Agreement. What does that mean?

 

… [click here to read more]

 

 

 

 

 

3. What are the main steps towards the implementation of the EU's commitment to Aid for Trade and what elements should the Joint Aid for Trade Strategy contain in that respect?

 

 

 

It will be the task of the Joint Aid for Trade Strategy to provide the EU (Commission and Member States) with a sound basis for the implementation of the €2 bn commitment that was made by the European Council in December 2005. With the Council decision we responded to an obvious and increasing need for support in the area of trade. The history of EU-ACP relations has shown that the mere existence of open markets is not sufficient to induce export success and diversification.

 

 

 

The Commission is just in the process of designing the Aid for Trade strategy and discussions with Member States have just started. To develop a fully fledged strategy will take more time than the period of our presidency, but we hope, with the support of Member States and Commission, to be able to draft Council Conclusions with the objective of developing the discussion further and establishing a framework for the strategy.

 

 

 

The strategy needs to further develop the approach already outlined in the EU Council Conclusions on Aid for Trade from Oct. 2006. We need to develop steps for how to successfully increase aid for trade flows, but above all we need to further improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Aid for Trade… [click here to read more]

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Evita Schmieg

 

Division Chief Trade, Globalization, Investment

 

Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development

 

Stresemannstr. 94

D - 10963 Berlin

Germany

 

Tel: +49 (0) 1888 535 2040

 

Fax: +49 (0) 1888 535 2515

 

Email: evita.schmieg@bmz.bund.be

 

Website: www.bmz.de

 

 

 

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Focus On...

The TradeCom Facility

 

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by Patrick Martens,

 

Capacity Building Advisor

 

Project Management Unit (PMU)

 

TradeCom Facility for ACP Countries

 

Avenue des Gaulois, 20

 

B - 1040 Brussels

 

Belgium

 

Tel: +32 2 743 00 20

 

Fax: +32 2 743 00 29

 

E-mail: info@tradecom-acpeu.org or

 

patrick.martens@tradecom-acpeu.org

 

Web: www.tradecom-acpeu.org

 

 

 

The TradeCom Facility, is an ACP Group Programme of €50 million financed by the European Development Fund. It was established to provide assistance to support ACP countries’ integration into the international trading community. The overarching aims are to support ACP regions and countries in developing the necessary capacity that would enable them to formulate realistic and sustainable trade policies that impact both on national development and poverty alleviation. The project was initiated in May 2005 and will run for a period of 6 years.

 

 

 

The Programme’s implementation methodology is demand-driven: aims and objectives are achieved through the provision of high quality technical assistance in three interrelated components. First, to devise development-oriented trade policies; second, to implement existing trade agreements; and third, to formulate effective negotiation strategies, particularly concerning EPAs. Attention is given to projects that are sustainable and have multiplier effects. Long-term education, associated with research capacities, is encouraged.

 

 

 

The TradeCom PMU has a team of three experts, qualified in trade capacity building, that are able to provide efficient and effective support to beneficiaries following initial screening in strengthening an application and designing a feasible project. The PMU has further expert back-up in the form of a Finance and Administration expert and an Information and Communication expert. Currently, the team has launched a number of projects, including: supporting regional trade integration in West Africa, a trade needs assessment for a West African state, supporting a Masters in Trade Policy programme in the Caribbean, staff capacity building on trade matters for a regional training organization in East Africa, support for a trade ministry and the promotion of public-private dialogue in East Africa and the development of the services sector in a small island state.

 

 

 

The TradeCom PMU networks with other PMUs, organizations such as the ECDPM and participates regularly in international conferences and events on trade and development themes.

 

 

 

Beneficiaries of technical assistance include:

 

 

 

* The regional or inter-regional organisations with a mandate for trade and regional integration;

* The ministries, and related agencies and authorities, in charge of trade policy formulation and international trade negotiations;

* The thematic or sectoral ministries and public services indirectly involved (agriculture, industry, finance and customs, justice, standard setting and certification bodies…);

 

* Universities and other training and educational institutions;

* Non-governmental organisations mainly active in trade-related issues;

* Organisations duly representative of the business sector, such as chambers of commerce and professional associations, and

 

* Organisations duly representative of consumers or other actors of the civil society involved mainly in trade-related issues.

 

 

 

Useful links:

 

 

 

Website: www.tradecom-acpeu.org

 

The Hub and Spokes Project (see the Focus on section of the acp-eu-trade.org newsletter No.5) is the main feature of the Trade Negotiations component of the TradeCom Programme. For more information on the Hub and Spokes project, click here

 

Other components are Trade Policy Formulation and Implementation of Trade policies and international trade agreements. For more information on the components of the TradeCom programme, see What is the TradeCom Programme?

 

See also:

The Project Documents’ page

 

Current Projects and Operations funded under the TradeCom Facility

 

General Guidelines for Applicants

 

Contact: info@tradecom-acpeu.org

 

 

 

 

 

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Keeping track on…

 

The Doha Round of negotiations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)

 

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In July 2006, members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) found that they were unable to unlock the Doha round of international trade talks and decided to suspend the discussions across all negotiating areas for an indefinite period.

 

 

 

The WTO negotiations - of course crucial in their own right - have a significant bearing on the content and process of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations between the 6 ACP regions and the EU. While, strictly considering, there is no formal link between the two negotiating processes, the WTO defines the rules of the game, for international trade as well as regional trade arrangements (RTAs), such as EPAs. The latter, or any alternative ACP-EU trading arrangements, are to be compatible with WTO rules. However, under the Doha Round, the WTO rules on RTAs are subject to negotiation. The ACP Group has already submitted a proposal at the WTO to incorporate special and differential treatment (SDT) provisions for developing countries into the terms of GATT Article XXIV, the main WTO legal text on RTAs. This and several other issues and concepts addressed in the Doha Round could influence the shape and scope of the liberalisation requirements for the ACP and the EU under an EPA. However, with the suspension of the Doha negotiations, such context and framework are somewhat in limbo.

 

 

 

Since early fall 2006, pressure has been building up to resume the Doha talks. Senior officials and Ministers in charge of commerce appear to have been making efforts in technical-level and informal talks, to reinvigorate the Doha Round. These tentative moves seem to have gained momentum as Pascal Lamy, the Director General of the WTO, reported at the General Council on 14 December 2006 that “an increasing level of engagement” is starting to appear in consultations by the Chairs of the negotiating groups. What has been referred to as a “soft” resumption of the Doha Round is now taking place, with informal talks on services kicking off last 22 January.

 

 

 

The first three or four months of 2007 represent a ‘window of opportunity’ to advance the Doha negotiations. If substantive progress on the key points of dispute is not made in this time, a final deal on the Doha Round could be politically difficult to secure for several years. Events at WTO-level in the coming months - either in the shape of progress or further deadlock - will therefore prove important for the course of the EPA negotiations, which are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2007.

 

 

 

Below, you will find a selection of latest developments and sources of information to keep track on the Doha Round of negotiations

 

 

 

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Latest Developments:

 

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* 29-01-07: US, EU Urged to Give Ground on Doha Subsidy Positions

 

The CalTrade Report, 29 January 2007

 

The US and the European Union are being urged to give ground on their respective positions on agricultural subsidies and pave the way for the reanimation of the stalled Doha Round of international trade negotiations. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Don McKinnon, secretary general of The Commonwealth of Nations (CN), told the press that the current new stalemate “was unacceptable.” McKinnon was one of 30 ministers from leading trading nations who are planning to meet tomorrow with World Trade Organization chief Pascal Lamy to try and breathe life into the trade talks that ground to a halt last July.

 

[click here to read more]

 

 

 

 

 

* 26-01-07: EU Businesses Appeal For Doha Trade Deal

 

Playfuls.com - Business and World, 26 January, 2007

 

Seven European business groups have appealed to the European Union and other World Trade Organization members to reach a global trade deal. "European businesses urge all WTO member governments to make their contribution to revive the Doha round and conclude it successfully as soon as possible," stated the business groups, "too much time has been lost already."

 

The Doha round of trade negotiations -- which began in Doha, Qatar, in 2001 -- seeks to lower trade barriers. Talks have been stalled for six months over disagreements over cutting farm subsidies and lowering import taxes. "A failure of this round could jeopardize 60 years of global economic integration," Pierre Simon of the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry said at a news conference. "Which political leader would take that responsibility?"

 

[click here to read more]

 

 

 

 

 

* 24-01-07: WTO Members looking to Davos for guidance on how to proceed

 

Bridges Weekly Digest, Volume 11, Number 2, 24 January 2007

 

Trade negotiators are turning their eyes to Davos, where ministers from around 30 of the WTO's most influential Member countries will meet later this week to discuss the struggling Doha Round negotiations.

 

Delegates appear uncertain about what to expect from the gathering, which will take place on 27 January during the World Economic Forum summit there. One said he was "hoping to get a political message that the round is alive and kicking." Such a message would mean "clear ministerial instruction" to intensify negotiations, he clarified.

 

[click here to read more]

 

 

 

 

 

* 24-01-07: Some members call for greater focus on services, as talks resume in Geneva

 

Bridges Weekly Digest, Volume 11, Number 2, 24 January 2007

 

Services talks kicked off the new year on 22 January with a two-week 'cluster' of meetings. As usual, the subsidiary bodies of the Council for Trade in Services will meet during the first week (22-26 January); the second (29 January - 2 February) will see request-offer negotiations between Members. In line with the 'soft' resumption of the Doha Round, however, all discussions will take place on an informal basis, while delegations await concrete signals from the 'mini-ministerial' meetings being held on the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos this week.

 

[click here to read more]

 

 

 

 

 

* 17-01-06: Africa warned to go easy on trade demands

 

By Business Day, 17 January 2007

 

World Trade Organisation (WTO) secretary-general Pascal Lamy warned African trade ministers yesterday against pushing too hard in trade negotiations because the failure of the talks would hurt poor economies most. WTO international trade talks known as the Doha round were launched in 2001 seeking to increase exports by poor nations. But they hit a snag mainly due to disagreements over farm subsidies in developed countries.

 

[click here to read more]

 

 

 

 

 

* 17-01-06: Africa worries over slow pace on Doha Round

 

By Panapress (PANA), 17 January 2007

 

Concerned with the erosion of the development dimension in the Doha Round of global trade talks, African trade ministers are due to hold an extraordinary session here Tuesday to underscore their shared interest in a pro-development outcome of the Round. The talks have been suspended since July 2006, but Pascal Lamy, the director-general of the World trade Organisation (WTO), is expected to tell the one-day ministerial conference at the headquarters of the African Union (AU) when the negotiations would resume.

 

[click here to read more]

 

 

 

 

 

* 15-01-06: Breaking the Doha Deadlock: US Congress could play a pivotal role

 

The South Bulletin, No. 137, 15 January 2007

 

The United States has put itself in a corner with its maximalist bargaining proposal on agriculture, writes Sandra Polaski, Director of the Trade, Equity, and Development Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “Changing its position is the only way out. As it happens, a changed position that meets the key objections of the rest of the world would also be good domestic, trade, and foreign policy for the United States,” she contends. In the following extracts from her recent article, she argues that the current U.S. trade proposal, in effect, holds hostage the trade interests of the overwhelming majority of U.S. exporters—and the workers and suppliers who depend on them—to the trade interests of a very small group of agricultural exporters.

 

[click here to read more]

 

 

 

 

 

* 15-01-06: Africa urges flexibility from big powers on trade

 

By Reuters South Africa, 15 January 2007

 

African trade officials urged rich members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Monday to show flexibility in stalled trade talks to enable the continent to cut poverty levels.

 

"We call upon major trading partners who have special responsibility to help end trade barriers and export subsidies," a statement by the officials said as they met ahead of a gathering of African Union (AU) trade ministers on Tuesday. The WTO's Doha Round talks to help poor countries export more were suspended in July due to differences among trade powers, mainly over farm trade issues. Launched in 2001, the negotiations sought to lower barriers to trade around the world. They now risk delays of several years or total collapse if a deal is not concluded soon. "We stress the importance that negotiations at WTO should guarantee substantial and effective reduction in trade-distorting domestic support of developed countries," the officials said.

 

[click here to read more]

 

 

 

* 02-12-06: Doha: Dormant but Dangerous, The EU's Treacherous Trade Strategy

 

By Susan George, Transnational Institute, 2 December 2006

 

Over the past month in particular, there have been efforts to revive the Doha Rounf, by WTO Director-General, Pascal Lamy, the chair of the Trade Negotiating Committee, and by the various ambassadors chairing the negotiations on agriculture, services, or Non-Agricultural Market Access [NAMA]. They are hosting "fireside chats", a variant on the familiar "green room" [named long ago for the colour of the wallpaper in the DG's office] which bring together 20-some of the most important countries. The chairs-ambassadors also practice "confessionals", or one-on-one meetings with the main players in each sector in order to get an idea of what each would give, or take, in exchange for what.

 

[click here to read more]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Official Sources:

 

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* The World Trade Organisation: www.wto.org

 

See Article XXIV of the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT) dealing with territorial application, frontier traffic, customs unions and free-trade areas

 

Complemented by an “Ad Art. XXIV”

 

And updated in 1994 with an Understanding on the interpretation of Article XXIV of the GATT 1994

 

 

 

* WTO’s page on Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) and Negotiations on RTAs under the Doha Development Round

 

 

 

 

 

* Submission on Regional Trade Agreements - Paper by the ACP Group of States

 

Document reference TN/RL/W/155

 

 

 

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Internet resources:

 

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*International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD)

 

The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) was established in Geneva in September 1996 to contribute to a better understanding of development and environment concerns in the context of international trade.

 

 

 

*International Trade Centre

 

The technical cooperation agency of UNCTAD and WTO for operational, enterprise-oriented aspects of trade

 

 

 

*Trade Observatory

 

A global source of trade policy information from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

 

See in particular: Geneva Update

 

which covers activities related to the World Trade Organization.

 

Latest edition: “MOVING FORWARD IN 2007: how to let go of the past and embrace the present”, 11 January 2007

 

EN

 

FR

 

 

 

*The South Centre Trade for Development Programme

 

In line with the South Centre objective to promote south wide collaboration and to promote the common interests and coordinated participation by developing countries in international fora dealing with South-South and North-South matters, as well as other global concerns, the South Centre started working on trade and development issues in 1998. The purpose of this work was to provide assistance to developing countries in the WTO negotiations, through research and policy analysis. In this context, the Trade for Development Programme (TDP) of the South Centre has provided valuable negotiating assistance and capacity building to developing countries in a number of specific areas under negotiation in the WTO such as agriculture, industrial goods, services and commodities.

 

 

 

*Eldis’ Resource Guide on Trade Policy and the WTO Doha Round

 

 

 

 

 

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Other sources:

 

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*ICTSD’s Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest and Bridges Monthly Review

 

 

 

*Trade Negotiations Insights

 

For a regular update on the WTO and EPA negotiating processes

 

EN

 

FR

 

 

 

* ODI Development Policy Review, Volume 25 Issue 1: Theme issue on Africa and the WTO Doha Round

 

Subscription and sample articles available here

 

 

 

*Completing the Doha Round, by Jeffrey J. Schott, Policy Briefs in International Economics, Institute for International Economics, October 2006

 

This policy brief examines the causes of the ongoing negotiating problems and what needs to be done to restart the WTO talks.

 

 

 

* Suspension Reality: Key issues for the ACP after the WTO impasse, by Matthew A Wilson, ECDPM, Trade Negotiations Insights, Vol. 5 No. 5, September-October 2006

 

At the WTO Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) on July 24, 2006, the Director General of the WTO recommended that the Doha Round of negotiations be suspended as a result of the inability of key players to reach agreement on issues related to agriculture and industrial goods. The reaction of the members and the international community was essentially that of tacit acceptance. Through the various press conferences that followed and the at times indistinguishable public proclamations by delegations, one conclusion was clear: the multilateral trading system had derailed, although hopefully, only momentarily.

 

EN

 

FR

 

 

 

* In defence of the ACP submission on Special and Differential treatment in GATT Article XXIV

 

Onguglo, B., Ito, T., ECDPM Discussion Paper 67, Maastricht 2005.

 

 

 

*ECDPM’s blog on ACP-EU trade for a selection of articles on the suspension of the Doha Round until end of September 2006

 

 

 

 

 

Keep an eye on the outcomes of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos on 24-28 January 2007.

 

 

 

 

 

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News: Highlights of the Month

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From our News section:

 

 

 

*25/26-01-07: The ACP Group of Experts responsible for Rules of Origin meeting

 

The main purpose of the meeting is to examine a draft protocol on Rules of Origin that could be used in the negotiations of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).

 

At that meeting, each negotiating region will give a presentation on how it plans to address the issue of rules of origin for sea fish products, given their specific characteristics. It is expected that the ensuing discussions will enable the participants to reach an agreement on the criteria required for those products to be classified as originating products. Prior to the examination of the draft protocol, the European Commission will give a presentation on the progress of work concerning the reform of the rules of origin to be used in the framework of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). The Rules of Origin protocol was developed in response to the mandate given by the ACP Council of Ministers at its meeting in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, in June 2006. The Experts on Rules of Origin had examined an initial draft at their 4th meeting held in October 2006, when it was proposed that a draft protocol be developed to be used by all regions in their negotiations, to ensure the harmonisation of the rules of origin throughout the ACP regions.

 

 

 

* 12-01-07: Fiji Foreign Minister Tavola ousted and so no longer Chief Pacific EPA Negotiator. Minister Joachim Keil, of Samoa replaces him.

 

However, on 18 January 2006, the Fiji Times Online wrote: Melanesians want Tavola for EU finance talks [click here to read this article or see below]

 

 

 

*11-01-07: An EC contribution agreement of 40.5m euro was signed with CARICOM to promote regional economic integration

 

An EC contribution agreement of 40.5m euro was signed with CARICOM to promote regional economic integration via regional level budget support to the Caribbean integration support programme for CSME, some for preparation for EPAs, and capacity building for institutions. EC Development Commission gave CARICOM the guarantee that the EC is waiting for EPA consequences and will respond.

 

 

 

ACP-EU News Providers:

 

 

 

* Unusually strident Hylton warns Europe - Jamaica will not accept unsatisfactory timeline on trade talks

 

The Jamaica Observer, 28 January 2007

 

In unusually strident tones, Jamaica's foreign ministry has warned Europe the island would not be forced to accept the January 2008 timeline for completing negotiations on a new trade regime with the former colonisers, unless certain conditions were met.

 

[click here to read more]

 

 

 

* Kenya: protesters demand that Europe play fair on trade

 

Independent Catholic News, Nairobi, 25 January 2007

 

Impassioned protesters yesterday made big noise outside the European Commission offices in Nairobi's Upper Hill area demanding trade justice for the developing world.

 

Singing, drumming and chanting slogans, the activists delivered a petition to the EC head of delegation in Nairobi, Eric van der Linden, calling on Europe to drop Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), which they said would hurt the economies of poor countries.

 

[click here to read more]

 

See also

 

Europe’s New Grip on Africa

 

EPAs at the World Social Forum, Nairobi, Kenya - January 2007

Report from the World Social Forum, 24 January 2007

 

 

 

* West Africa to seek delay to EU trade deal

 

Mathieu Bonkoungou, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 20 January 2007

 

West Africa plans to ask the European Union for a two-year delay to a planned economic partnership agreement (EPA), leaders said at a summit on Friday, but the EU's executive Commission ruled out a postponement. Brussels hopes to negotiate far-reaching EPAs with six regions in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) to come into force by January 1 2008.

 

[click here to read more]

 

 

 

* Kenya: Uncertainty As Sun Sets On Cotonou Agreement

 

David Nalo, Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary, The East African Standard, Nairobi, 22 January 2007

 

[…]Why is Kenya pursuing EPA negotiations? The most cardinal is the fact that the European Union remains an important trading partner as a market and source of raw material and intermediate products. […]Need to sustain market preferences and avoid macro-economic instability and disruption of economic activities, especially in agriculture whose growth has relied on the EC market for the past 25 years. Unless there is an EPA with the EU by the end of this year, there will be an immediate loss of market opportunities for commodities that have gained market access on account of preferential tariffs.

 

[click here to read more]

 

 

 

* EU aid masks big bully tactics in developing world

 

Florent Sebban, Comment in the EUObserver, 19 January 2007

 

When rich nations impose an agenda tailor-made for their own interests on poorer ones, there is only one word that aptly describes their tactics: bullying. One of the topics addressed at this year's World Social Forum in Nairobi (20-25 January) will be how the European Commission resorts to bullying in its relations with developing countries.

[click here to read more]

 

 

 

* Melanesians want Tavola for EU finance talks

 

Fiji Times Online, 18 January 2007

 

MELANESIAN countries to maintain the expertise of former ousted Fijian Foreign Affairs Minister, Kaliopate Tavola in the conclusion of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations with the European Union (EU).

 

Pacnews said Papua New Guinea's High Commissioner to Fiji, Peter Eafeare confirmed that there were some discussions on the issue at the recent Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) foreign ministers meeting in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

 

[click here to read more]

 

 

 

* Friend Or Foe - the EPAs Unmasked

 

Liepollo Lebohang Pheko, Pambazuka News, 17 January 2007

 

Liepollo Lebohang Pheko discusses the real impact of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) on women and the failures of liberalization policies to examine and address the specific needs of women.

 

Trade liberalisation produces different results for men and women. The differential outcomes are associated with the most essential aspects of livelihoods and well-being, including food security, employment, income and access to affordable health services. Differentiated outcomes across countries and regions are based on the category of economic area and specific sector, measures, timing and sequencing of trade policies. They traverse various sectors and sub sectors of trade liberalisation: agriculture, services, clothing and textiles, and intellectual property.

 

[click here to read more]

 

 

 

* CARICOM calls on EU to release pledged funds to sugar producers

 

RadioJamaica, 16 January 2007

 

CARICOM has called on the European Union to release the money it has pledged for sugar producers in the region. The funds are intended to soften the blow of EU sugar price cuts.

Caribbean sugar industry officials say the EU was due to make its first pay out of 40 million Euros in sugar aid to African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries by the end of last year.

The EU has now said the money should reach the countries by the middle of this year.

This has upset many producers and led to criticism of the European Commission, which is in charge of making the payments.

 

[click here to read more]

 

 

 

* Tanzania must join Comesa, says Kenya

IPPMedia, Guardian, 11 January 2007

 

Kenya said on Wednesday Tanzania would have to join the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Africa`s largest trade bloc, for a proposed customs union to work. Tanzania is a member of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) economic bloc and in 2005 joined the East African Community (EAC) customs union that groups Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda. The 20-member COMESA plans its own customs union by 2008. We have a dilemma. We cannot belong to an EAC customs union and a COMESA customs union unless Tanzania joins COMESA, Kenyan Trade and Industry Minister Mukhisa Kituyi told a news conference. The best way to deal with the contradiction is to look at Tanzania acceding to COMESA again.

 

[click here to read more]

 

 

 

* ACP to decide on distribution of sugar quota

 

Corliss Smithen, The Sun, St. Kitts/Nevis, 08 January 2007

 

Having closed its sugar industry more than a year ago, St. Kitts/Nevis’ sugar quota still remains a big issue. St. Kitts/Nevis officially ceased sugar production on 31 July, 2005, following a decision by the European Union (EU) to cut the price of sugar by 36 per cent over a four-year period as of last year. A year and five months later, members of the African Caribbean and Pacific grouping (ACP) are divided on what to do with the St. Kitts sugar quota. According to an article that appeared in yesterday’s edition of the Guyana Stabroek News newspaper, the Caribbean Community (Caricom) strongly feels that the quota should remain within the region, while other ACP states feel that it should be distributed among the wider ACP grouping.

 

[click here to read more]

 

 

 

* European banana reforms come into force

 

Foodproductiondaily.com, 08 January 2007

 

The EC has welcomes the introduction of a new aid scheme to European banana producers.

The reform is designed to bring the system into line with reforms in the other agricultural sectors, while "ensuring a fair standard of living for EU banana producers and taking account of the particularities of the regions where bananas are grown".

 

[click here to read more]

 

 

 

* EPA Road-Show rolls on

 

Richard Kamidza, Pambazuka News, 04 January 2007

 

Negotiations between African countries and the European Union aimed at finalizing free trade deals known as Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are continuing apace. As part of the process that will finalise EPA deals sometime in 2007, Eastern and Southern Africa countries have just submitted a draft EPA document to the EU. But, in this article, Richard Kamidza documents the astonishing lack of consultation in the negotiating process, claiming that in some cases even cabinet ministers don't know the details. One of the sectors that could face the biggest battering is agriculture, already buckled by three decades of structural adjustment and rich country subsidies.

 

[click here to read more]

 

 

 

* Southern Africa: 2007 a Watershed Year for Region

 

Joseph Ngwawi, Southern African News Features, Harare, 4 January 2007

 

The next 12 months are set to be a watershed period for southern Africa as it marks the dawn of a potential energy crisis as well as the official start of the home-stretch towards a unified regional economic bloc.

 

With some of Africa's fastest expanding economies, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region is expected to run out of surplus generation capacity in 2007.

 

[click here to read more]

 

 

 

* Cape Verde wants a special status at ECOWAS

 

afrol News, 2 January 2007

 

After entering into negotiations with the European Union (EU) over special ties and leaving the West Africa free travel union, the government of Cape Verde now has announced its desire to loosen its attachment to the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS). The Cape Verde government soon will present ECOWAS with proposals for "special status" of the island nation.

 

[click here to read more]

 

 

 

* Business: EPA with Europe in Doubt

 

Samisoni Pareti, Islands Business, Fiji, January 2007

 

Intransigence of positions and unfolding of more "red lines" by bureaucrats at the European Commission (EC) could jeopardise the region's hopes of securing an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union, outgoing chief negotiator of the Pacific, Kaliopate Tavola has warned.

 

[click here to read more]

 

 

 

* East Africa: Services, Investment to Be Covered By New Trade Deal With EU

 

Abdulsamad Ali, The EastAfrican, 19 December 2006 The service sector will be included in the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union and the East and Southern African (ESA) countries as the parties enter the final stages of agreeing on a deal.

 

The EU head of delegation to Kenya, Eric van der Linden, last week told The EastAfrican that the two parties have agreed in principle to include the sector.

 

"The ESA region has recognised the importance of the service sector in economic development. In countries like Kenya, this sectorrepresents a large percentage of the gross domestic product," he said. "Accordingly, the region is due to discuss trade in services internally, fix a regional position, and then discuss it bilaterally with the European Commission," he said.

 

[click here to read more]

 

 

 

* Commission helps ACP countries tackle their dependence on agricultural commodities

 

EUROPA – Rapid – Press release, Brussels, 19 December 2006

 

The European Commission has approved a four-year, €45 million programme to help African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries which rely heavily on exports of cotton, cocoa, sugar, coffee, bananas and other commodities. The programme will help these countries withstand changes in world prices and become more competitive by producing commodities more efficiently and diversifying their economies.

 

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Selection from www.acp-eu-trade.org Library

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* Letter from Luxembourg's Minister for Development, Jean-Louis Schiltz, to European Commissioner for development , Louis Michel, regarding the negotiation of EPAs with the ACP countries

 

Communiqué - Government of Luxembourg - 5 January 2007 - (Document available in French only).

 

Luxembourg’s Development Minister, Jean-Louis Schiltz, has written to Commissioner Louis Michel expressing concern and sharing some of his thoughts on the negotiation of Economic Partnership Agreements between the European Union and the ACP countries. Given the ACP countries’ unease with certain parts of these negotiations, the minister suggests, “clearly setting out the full range of offers that the EU and its Member States are prepared to make”. In a similar vein, he remarks that, “Only a global plan setting out in a coordinated fashion the actual contributions of the Member States and the Commission – particularly those of a financial nature – can ensure the attendant support that is necessary to release the ACP countries’ development potential”. Referring to the ACP countries’ wish for a close personal involvement of Commissioner Michel, minister Schiltz assures the Commissioner of his full support over the coming months.

 

 

 

 

 

* Trade Capacity Development for Africa. Policy issues for African countries in Multilateral and regional trade negotiations

 

Trade Negotiations and Africa Series No.3 - UNCTAD and UNDP – 1 January 2007

 

Part I of this publication contains the paper on the interface between negotiations under the WTO Doha agenda, the ACP-EU economic partnership agreements, and African regional integration processes. It aims at facilitating informed decision-making by African countries in drawing positive benefits from their participation in multiple international trade negotiations and agreements and by making these processes development-oriented in reflecting the needs and interests of African countries. Part II of the publication contains the results of trade negotiations workshops convened for African countries by UNCTAD to assist them in strengthening their engagement in the Doha negotiations. The impact of these activities has been a stronger engagement by African countries in the WTO negotiation under the Doha agenda. The support provided was important in enabling African countries to prepare for the intense negotiations in the first six months of 2005.

 

 

 

* Issues Involved in a PACP-EU Labour Mobility Scheme

 

Pacific ACP Non-paper - 1 January 2007

 

Negotiations on improved market access under Mode 4 from the PACP to the EC need to address two important elements. The first one concerns the conditions under which market access would be granted; the second one relates to mechanisms to ensure that developmental outcomes for the PACP’S are maximised (qualifications, recruitment, working conditions).

 

 

 

* David and Goliath: argument against the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries

 

Jacques Berthelot – Solidarité - 19 December 2006.

 

The European Union (EU) hides itself behind the so-called WTO constraints to impose on the poorest countries in the world, the ACP countries (ACPs) in which Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) accounts for 94% of the population, the drastic remedy of a bilateral free trade under the pretext that 34 years of non-reciprocal trade preferences did not prevent them from becoming poorer. Actually many WTO provisions and a finer interpretation of the allegedly most rigorous ones, together with the WTO case law of its Dispute settlement body, would allow to maintain these preferences, taking into account that ACPs are the poorest countries, including most of those non classified as LDCs.

 

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* Gender review of the Economic Partnership Agreements

 

IGTN-Africa - December 18 2006

 

Paper presented to the European Commission in Brussels by Liepollo Lebohang Pheko from IGTN-Africa on the gender impacts of liberalization of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA). Lebohang argues that EPAs have not examined the cost of liberalisation on women in terms of physical resources, human resources and social capital needed to transfer resources, skills as control to effectively manage liberalisation. Hence building a broader examination of the liberalization programme of EPAs from a gendered context that is mindful of the non neutrality of the market economy.

 

 

 

* Commerce et développement: règles et enjeux pour l'Afrique

 

Document de Travail - Centre d'économie du développement – 1 December 2006

 

Les pays africains sont aujourd’hui engagés dans différentes négociations commerciales. Au niveau multilatéral, un cycle de négociations pour le commerce et le développement a été ouvert en 2001 à Doha. Parallèlement, les pays Afrique-Caraïbe-Pacifique (ACP) négocient avec l’Union européenne les Accords de Partenariat Economique (APE). Cette étude analyse les enjeux de ces négociations commerciales multilatérales et régionales pour les pays africains ainsi que leur cohérence. Les pays africains, déjà engagés dans des négociations multilatérales où ils peinent déjà à faire valoir leurs intérêts, ont a priori peu d’intérêt à négocier les APE car la grande majorité d’entre eux bénéficient déjà d’un accès préférentiel aux marchés européens en tant que PMA. La seule incitation pour les pays africains à s’engager véritablement dans les négociations des APE proviendrait d’une aide pour le commerce additionnelle. Les pays ACP et l’Union européenne pourraient également proposer une révision de l’article XXIV du GATT sur les accords commerciaux préférentiels, comme les y invite d’ailleurs la déclaration de Doha en son paragraphe 29, afin d’y intégrer la dimension traitement spécial et différencié. Enfin, la rationalisation du « bol de spaghetti » que constituent les différentes Communautés économiques régionales (CER) africaines constitue le troisième élément clé pour la réussite des négociations des APE

 

 

 

* Report on the review of the negotiations of the West Africa - EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) consistent with Article 37.4 of the Cotonou Agreement

 

Proposal by West Africa - 30 November 2006

 

This report has been prepared in collaboration with the States of the WA region, in execution of that provision of Article 37.4 of the Cotonou Agreement, and focuses on the following points: - context of the negotiations between the WA region and the EU; - status of the negotiations; - measures required for the conclusion of the negotiations; - measures required for the execution of the Agreement.

 

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See also:

 

* Rapport Complet et résumé de l'évaluation à mi-parcours des négociations de l'APE entre l'Afrique de l'Ouest et l'Union européenne au titre de l'Article 37.4 de l'Accord de Cotonou - Contribution du ROPPA - 28-30 November 2006

 

and

 

* Midterm review of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs): Independent contribution of the regional networks of farmers' organisations

 

Synthesis of the regional assessments by: EAFF, PROPAC, ROPPA, SACAU, WINFA – ROPPA - 10 December 2006.

 

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* How Can ACP Countries Benefit from the EPA?

 

Synthesis of a symposium organised by FARM on the 28-29 November 2006

 

The following attempt to summarize the main points and conclusions arising from the seminar organized by FARM (the Foundation for World Agriculture and Rural Life) on the 28th and 29th of November, 2006 is offered in the hope of adding some analytic clarity to the EPA debate.

 

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Find more resources on ACP-EU trade and development matters in our Library section

 

 

 

 

 

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Resources from Recent Events

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*Event: EPA Workshops at the World Social Forum

 

Date: 20-25 January 2007

 

The World Social Forum in Nairobi held a number of workshops on EPAs:

 

-> Impact of EPA's - analysis from the South an the North

 

-> A common position of Trade Unions on the EU-ACP Economic Partnership Agreement? A panel discussion with trade experts from trade unions and pressure groups

 

-> Concerns of the youth in EPA negotiations

 

-> Meat Imports – Cheap Food for the Poor? Local Markets for Small-Scale Farmers and the Right to Food! A Gender View on Agri Trade and EPA Negotiations

 

-> EPAs: Debate from labour perspective

 

-> Exposing the EU's hidden agenda in the EPA negotiations on investment

 

Information on the organisers and speakers at these events is available here

 

Any documents resulting from these workshops will be posted in our next newsletter.

 

 

 

* Event: ACP Consultative meeting on Fisheries

 

Date: 22 January 2007

 

Resources:

 

-> Opening Statement by ACP Secretary General

 

-> Opening remarks Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat

 

-> Remarks by Peter Jarchau, GTZ

 

-> Speaking notes – Tim Bostock, Programme Coordinator, Department for International Development (DFID)

 

-> Speaking notes – Ambassador Edwin Laurent, Eastern Caribbean States

 

-> Press Release (Document in French)

 

 

 

 

 

*Event: Extraordinary Session of the AU Conference of Ministers of Trade

 

Date: January 15-16, 2007

 

Resources:

 

The African ministers asked the European Commission to extend the deadline for ACP countries to sign EPAs with the EU. "At this advanced stage of negotiation, Africa's priorities have not been positively and adequately addressed by the European Commission," the Ministers said.

 

-> Addis Ababa Ministerial Declaration on Economic Partnership Agreement

 

-> Remarks by Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the ECA to the AU Trade Ministers

 

-> AU Trade Ministers Meeting Background Note

-> A report from Third World Network on the African Union Trade Ministers meetings discussions on EPAs

 

 

 

 

 

* Event: CARIFORUM meeting to discuss how sugar should be treated in the EPAs

 

Date: January 11-12, 2007

 

Resources:

 

->Communiqué issued at the conclusion of the 4th CARICOM Sugar Stakeholders Meeting, 11-12 January 2007, Georgetown, Guyana.

-> Statement by Hon. Henry B. Jeffrey, CARICOM Ministerial spokesperson on sugar on the recently concluded 4th Meeting of CARICOM Sugar Stakeholders.

 

-> CARICOM has called on the European Union to release the money it has pledged for sugar producers in the region. The funds are intended to soften the blow of EU sugar price cuts. Caribbean sugar industry officials say the EU was due to make its first pay out of 40 million Euros in sugar aid to African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries by the end of last year.

 

 

 

* Event: ACP-EU Relations – The Development challenges of EPAs

 

Date: October 12, 2006

 

Resources:

 

-> This event featured in our October newsletter. The full report of the conference is now available

 

 

 

 

 

* Event: Caribbean regional workshop on Building Sustainable Development into Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA)

 

Date: July 24 - 25, 2006

 

The workshop, held in Montego Bay, Jamaica, brought together more than thirty senior representatives of government, universities, business, trade unions and regional non-governmental organizations and provided specific recommendations to EPA negotiators and policy makers on ensuring sustainable development in the EPAs.

 

Resources:

 

-> Executive Summary

 

-> Montego Bay recommendations

 

-> Workshop programme

 

-> Workshop report

 

-> Other background and supporting documents are available here

 

 

 

 

 

* Upcoming Event: 8th African Union Summit

 

Date: January 22-30, 2007

 

Resources:

 

-> Website for the summit

 

 

 

 

 

* Upcoming Event: ECOWAS summit on the treatment of sensitive products

 

Date: January 29 - February 2, 2007

 

This seminar is organised with the support if the Bureau Issala and in partnership with AFD, CTA and Hub-rural

 

Resources:

 

-> Details & provisional agenda

 

-> The organisers have compiled a list of relevant documents here

 

 

 

 

 

* Upcoming Event: Economic Partnership Agreements - Prospects and Challenges for SADC

 

Date: February 8, 2007

 

The EPA negotiations have not been easy particularly in the ‘SADC minus’ group (Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique, and Tanzania – South Africa is currently an observer) where the prospects of securing an agreement on time look particularly dim. So what will happen if the SADC minus group fails to have an EPA in place by the end of this year, as required by the Cotonou Agreement?

 

To probe the issues around these negotiations, the Southern African Institute of International Affairs will hold a roundtable discussion with Dr Yenkong Ngangjoh-Hodu of the Nordic Africa Institute on "Economic Partnership Agreements: Prospects and Challenges for the SADC (minus) group". Jorge Peydro Aznar, Head of the Political and Economic Section delegation of the European Commission to South Africa, will be the respondent.

 

Registration and venue details

 

 

 

* Upcoming Event: Economic Partnership Agreements: Intellectual Property Rights & TRIPS Compatibility

 

Date: February 16-18, 2006

 

This workshop is being organised by the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), the Centre for International Environmental Law (CIEL), International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO).

 

Resources:

 

->Draft Agenda

 

 

 

 

 

Check our website for more events and resources! www.acp-eu-trade.org

 

 

 

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Copyright: ECDPM 2007





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