Benchmarks for negotiations
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CTA. 2002. Benchmarks for negotiations. Agritrade, April 2002. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/52904
On Human Rights Day (March 21st) the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly...
On Human Rights Day (March 21st) the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly unanimously adopted a Declaration on the Future ACP-EU Negotiations of New Trading Arrangements. This seeks to establish benchmarks for the forthcoming trade negotiations designed to ensure that any future ACP-EU trade arrangements contribute to poverty focused forms of sustainable development through supporting the structural transformation of ACP economies. The Cape Town Declaration covers: the objectives to be promoted through new trade arrangements; the principles to be respected; the approach to negotiations which should be adopted; the market access issues which will need to be addressed; the importance of addressing supply side constraints; the importance of addressing the fiscal implications of moves towards free trade; the importance of addressing the external implications of the common agricultural policy. Issues covered in the declaration of particular relevance to ACP-EU agricultural trade relations include: a call for the removal of residual EU market access restrictions where no disruption of the EU market is likely and where ACP countries 'have an immediate or potential production and export interest'; a call for EU food safety measures to be framed in ways which 'minimise the extra costs placed on small scale ACP producers and exporters'; a call for 'consultations on the application of sanitary and phytosanitary standards and other regulations, which act as an impediment to ACP exports, with a view to facilitating exports from ACP countries, whilst respecting underlying EU concerns'; a call for 'a comprehensive review of existing instruments and institutional arrangements for the delivery of assistance to measures to address supply side constraints in ACP countries'; a call for recognition of the implications of a reformed CAP for ACP economies; a call for a 'comprehensive assessment of the likely implications of the on-going process of reform of the common agricultural policy on diverse ACP countries' a call for the establishment of consultative mechanisms 'where the external effects of reform of the common agricultural policy impinge upon the essential trading interest of ACP countries' so as to 'minimise the negative effects of reform on ACP economies'; a call for future trade arrangements to be designed in ways which minimise the adverse effects of CAP reform on the development of agro-based value added processing industries in ACP countries. Comment: Currently the Commission's draft negotiating instructions for the conduct of economic partnership agreement negotiations makes no reference to addressing the external effects of the CAP even though this is a vital issue in future ACP-EU trade negotiations. The process of CAP reform is explicitly designed to improve the price competitiveness of EU agricultural and processed agricultural exports. This will increase competitive pressures on ACP markets. Moves towards free trade under these circumstances could carry serious consequences for the structural development of ACP agricultural and agro-processing industries. In addition the process of CAP reform will greatly reduce the attractiveness of the EU market to ACP exports as EU prices are progressively reduced to around world market prices levels. This will erode the financial returns ACP States gained from their current preferential access to the EU market. In the sugar sector alone a 25% reduction in the EU sugar price would result in income losses to ACP sugar exporters of US$ 250 million per year. Against this background, discussion of the external implications of CAP reform has to be a central component of any future ACP-EU trade negotiations.