Win some, lose some.It has been a mixed month for ACP countries The ACP States are the countries that are signatories of the Lomé Convention. "ACP" stands for "Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific."
The first Lomé Convention was signed in Lomé, Togo, in 1975. . Cocoa producers and mining-based countries have been able to heave sighs of relief but the writing is on the wall for banana producers.
Much to the relief of ACP (Associate Computing Professional) The award for successful completion of an examination in computers offered by the ICCP. It is geared to newcomers in the computing field. For more information, visit www.iccp.org.
ACP - Algebra of Communicating Processes mining countries, the Lome instrument, Sysmin, which had come under threat from the European Union's Green Paper on the future of the organisation, now seems to be safe.
Under the Sysmin system, EU funds are made available to ACP countries to help them maintain mining production levels. During slack periods, cash injections from Sysmin can mean the difference between survival and going under.
There has been strong opposition to the system from three European countries: Spain, Greece and Germany. Spain and Greece wanted the system scrapped because their own mines do not receive similar support and Germany, with no major interest in African mines, had thrown its weight behind the other two.
Fortunately for the ACP, the European Parliament European Parliament, a branch of the governing body of the European Union (EU). It convenes on a monthly basis in Strasbourg, France; most meetings of the separate parliamentary committees are held in Brussels, Belgium, and its Secretariat is located in Luxembourg. came out strongly in support of Sysmin. In a report released in October, the European Parliament stated clearly that Sysmin should be both maintained and improved. Encouraged by this, the European Development Commissioner, Joao de Deus Pinheiro added it to a list of items to be discussed when the EU Council of Ministers sits down to ponder the shape of future relations with the ACP.
The ACP for its part wants the currently complex and lengthy administrative Sysmin system to be simplified. One result of this tortuous process, for example, is that so far only 21% of the ECU480m package earmarked for Sysmin for the 1990-95 period has been disbursed.
Another ACP demand is that countries such as Ethiopia, which don't benefit from this facility because they are not among the traditionally important producers, should receive help in developing mining in areas where there is potential. This will be a more difficult victory to achieve.
Cocoa producers win battle for pure chocolate
Cocoa producers were also relieved to hear that the European Parliament had voted to make substantial amendments to the European Commission European Commission, branch of the governing body of the European Union (EU) invested with executive and some legislative powers. Located in Brussels, Belgium, it was founded in 1967 when the three treaty organizations comprising what was then the European Community directive allowing the use of 5% of vegetable fats in the making of chocolate in eight European countries.
Had the Commission's draft, inspired by the chocolate industry which wants to substitute cocoa butter cocoa butter
A yellowish-white fatty solid obtained from cacao seeds and used as an ingredient in cosmetics, tanning oils, chocolate, and soap. Also called cacao butter. with cheaper vegetable fats gone through unchallenged, it would have meant a minimum drop of 100,000 tonnes of cocoa in world demand and a 15% fall of world prices. This would have been catastrophic for African cocoa producers like Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Cameroon and Nigeria. (See Cocoa: Let the sweet times roll, African Business, November 1997)
Nevertheless, the cocoa butter substitute lobby has not gone empty handed. European MEPs, led by the Belgian Greens who defended African producers and European consumers alike, ruled that British-style chocolate, which uses a higher composition of vegetable fats, can be sold in any EU country, but that such products will henceforward hence·for·ward
Adv. 1. henceforward - from this time forth; from now on; "henceforth she will be known as Mrs. Smith"
henceforth have to carry a label on the front of their packaging clearly detailing their ingredients. In short, consumers will have the choice of buying pure chocolate and 'adulterated' or 'fake' chocolate.
Producers will be allowed to use substitute fats as long as they are natural products such as palm oil or shea butter shea butter
A whitish or yellowish fat obtained from the seeds of the shea tree, used as food and for making soap and candles. , but not enzymatic substances. In addition, the MEPs ruled that the amended directive could not become effective until reliable techniques to measure the content of vegetable fats are set up. Since the present margin of error for this is around 40%, the cocoa lobby has in effect been given a reprieve.
This is not the end of the game however. The amended directive was discussed by the EU Council of Ministers on 27 November, but the EU member states were too divided to make a decision. The matter will again be on the agenda under the British presidency of the EU during the first half of 1998. Meanwhile, the 1973 directive, which bans the use of vegetable fats in the chocolate produced in eight of the EU's 15 states, continues in force.
Bananas: WTO See World Trade Organization. ruling not the end of the world
To the dismay of the ACP banana producers, the EU has accepted the verdict of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against its banana import regulations, which, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. a WTO ruling, violates free trade principles. For 1997, the EU imposed a tariff quota of 2.553m tonnes with a duty of ECU75 per tonne for Latin American bananas, but allowed 700,000 tonnes from the ACP to enter duty free.
Latin American producers, most of whom are US multinationals, have been waging a long and bitter campaign against what they regard as unfair discrimination. They have been clamouring Noun 1. clamouring - loud and persistent outcry from many people; "he ignored the clamor of the crowd"
clamoring, clamour, hue and cry, clamor
cry, outcry, shout, vociferation, yell, call - a loud utterance; often in protest or opposition; "the speaker was to have the quotas removed although they have not yet demanded the removal of preferential tariffs.
EU member states are divided over the issue. Germany is in favour of deregulation Deregulation
The reduction or elimination of government power in a particular industry, usually enacted to create more competition within the industry.
Traditional areas that have been deregulated are the telephone and airline industries. , but countries with special links with the ACP such as France, Britain and Portugal, are trying to buy time. A compromise of sorts has been reached with the EU stating that it will take up to the end of 1998 to comply with the WTO ruling.
The EU's decision to uphold the WTO verdict on bananas sparked an outcry in the Caribbean. If the quotas are removed, small Caribbean producers will not be able to compete with cheaper Latin American bananas. This would mean the collapse of these economies, say Caribbean leaders.
In Africa, the reaction was different. While the main producers, Cote d'Ivoire and Cameroon, would like to retain their duty free quotas of 155,000 tonnes each, they are unhappy with the current ceilings on their non-traditional exports.
The current regime imposes a 7,500 tonne ceiling on their non-traditional exports. Cote d'Ivoire, which produced 190,000 tonnes of bananas in 1997, thus missed out on the opportunity to sell an additional 27,500 tonnes on the EU market. Cameroon finds itself in a similar situation. Therefore, they do not look on deregulation with disfavour.
Americans rule banana production in Africa
Ivorian producers are well aware that the deregulation would subject them to harsh competition from Latin America Latin America, the Spanish-speaking, Portuguese-speaking, and French-speaking countries (except Canada) of North America, South America, Central America, and the West Indies. . Nevertheless, the Ivorian Minister of Raw Materials and Commodities, Guy Alain Gauze gauze (gawz) a light, open-meshed fabric of muslin or similar material.
absorbable gauze gauze made from oxidized cellulose. , is confident that the sector can adjust and become more competitive by the year 2000.
Unlike in the Caribbean, an important part of production, both in Cote d'Ivoire and Cameroon, is controlled by large American companies such as Del Monte. The US multinational initially invested in Cameroon to take advantage of the duty-free access to the European market.
The 1994 devaluation devaluation, decreasing the value of one nation's currency relative to gold or the currencies of other nations. It is usually undertaken as a means of correcting a deficit in the balance of payments. of the CFA franc The CFA franc (in French: franc CFA, "céfa", or just franc colloquially) is a currency used in 12 formerly French-ruled African countries, as well as in Guinea-Bissau (a former Portuguese colony) and in Equatorial Guinea (a former Spanish colony). has also contributed to improving competitiveness and profitability in the sector. A further boost came in 1996 when the EU laid out ECU9.3m to improve the competitiveness of African producers.
This helped Cote d'Ivoire modernise facilities in the port of Abidjan and enabled Cameroon to finance irrigation irrigation, in agriculture, artificial watering of the land. Although used chiefly in regions with annual rainfall of less than 20 in. (51 cm), it is also used in wetter areas to grow certain crops, e.g., rice. schemes and improve the varieties of its banana crop. Cape Verde Cape Verde (vûd), Port. Cabo Verde, officially Republic of Cape Verde, republic (2005 est. pop. 418,000), c.1,560 sq mi (4,040 sq km), W Africa, in the Atlantic Ocean about 300 mi (480 km) W of Dakar, Senegal. was able to relaunch its banana production and purchase cold storage facilities.