CAP reform and the market access debate
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CTA. 2003. CAP reform and the market access debate. Agritrade, November 2003. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
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At the informal agricultural council meeting in Taormina on September ...
At the informal agricultural council meeting in Taormina on September 22nd 2003 the theme for discussion was 'Converging agricultural policy goals in the developing countries and the EU'. At this meeting Commissioner Fischler highlighted how EU development projects in developing countries were aimed at enabling developing country producers to 'derive practical benefit from growing markets' by helping them in 'meeting international export standards'. He noted that these measures are 'intended to help growers to shift away from merely producing basic products and agricultural commodities and move higher up the value-added chain by processing them as well'. Turning to the failure in Cancun, Commissioner Fischler maintained that an agreement in Cancun would have led to: drastic cuts in trade-distorting aid and thus to a reform of agricultural policy in countries where none had been made so far (e.g. in the USA); greater access to markets in the industrialised countries for products from the developing countries; differentiated and less strict disciplines for developing countries; further trade liberalisation to the benefit of developing countries. Commissioner Fischler argued for greater differentiation in the status of developing countries to allow trade preferences to be targeted more on the poorest developing countries. Measures such as the EBA could then offer the greatest benefits to those who need them most. Comment: Commissioner Fischler's call for more differentiation in the development status of developing countries offers opportunities for a more differentiated GSP system. Such an approach could be very useful for non-LDC ACP countries which currently face the reimposition of duties on a substantial range of the products they export, should they revert to standard GSP treatment. A move to a more differentiated GSP system in favour of non-LDC ACP countries (and those with a similar level of development) would reduce the punitive aspects of reversion to GSP for those countries which do not find themselves in a position to conclude an EPA with the EU. Ironically one of the main objectives of the proposals that the EU is supporting (helping ACP countries to move up the value chain) runs in direct contradiction to a core component of the reformed CAP, namely supporting the shift within the EU away from the export of agricultural raw materials towards the export of value-added food products. Growing exports of EU simple value-added food products to ACP markets can undermine the domestic and regional market base on which more sophisticated value-added food product exports from ACP countries to the EU can be built up.
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