|The Courier N° 146 - July - Aug 1994 - Dossier The Private Sector - Country Reports : Eritrea , Chad (EC Courier, 1994, 104 p.)|
Two ACP products bananas and rum - which are still experiencing problems in the European market, were examined by the Councl.
After the entry into force of the common banana regime on 1 July 1993 there has been a fall in prices for ACP bananas The Council took note of the fact the Commission was still studying a Regulation which is designed to help ACP States cope with the temporary disruption of the market and adapt to the new situation. An ACP request for transferability of unused quotas between ACP suppliers was also being examined.
The problem of rum concerns essentially the ACP request for an increase in quota. Here the acting Director-General for Development, Peter Pooley, informed ministers that there were two major difficulties: one was that the system for increasing quotas as set out in the protocol of the Convention was devised at a time when quite a different development of exports from the Caribbean ACP States was envisaged. No one expected the very large increase that had taken place in the last two or three years the second was that in 1996 the Union will move towards the orderly abolition of quotas. and the Commission has groat difficulties assessing the state of the Community market and the impact of the very large exports from the Caribbean. 'We have to avoid in particular that the increase in quota does not have the effect of moving us prematurely towards the abolition of quota, he said, promising that the Commission would make proposals 'shortly' and then have 'frank consultation with the ACP States'. The Council took note of his statement.
The enlargement of the European Union to include Austria, Finland, Norway and Sweden, it is agreed, opens new trade possibilities for the ACP States The Council was informed that, as there would be no transitional arrangements, the four countries would apply the 'acquis communautaire' regarding the ACP States on accession to the protocol to the Convention which is currently being negotiated.
On the Uruguay Round. ACP concerns were twofold. Firstly they feel that, in spite of all the efforts made to ensure that their interests are safeguarded in the European market, they would experience considerable erosion in their preferential margins. and secondly. they are alarmed that developed countries'including some Member States of the European Union', are advocating the introduction of labour standards in international trade This initiative. Mr Brizan warned, contradicts the tenets of the global liberalisation of trade. 'Some ACP states, he explained, 'depend on labour as a factor of production to increase their wealth and competitivity in international trade'.
The ACP States have indicated that they are currently evaluating the result of the Round with a view to submitting proposals to the Union for compensation. While noting this exercise, Mr Pangalos pointed out that the Convention does not guarantee the maintenance of ACP preferential margins, but rather provides for the safeguarding of their competitive position. Mr Marreminded ministers that the Agreement has only just been signed and it would have to be implemented first before its real impact can be determined A preliminary assessment of the effect of Community concessions in the areas of agriculture, tropical products and raw materials was under way and as soon as it was ready, it would serve as 'a basis for a joint ACP/KU working party'.