CTA Brussels News

Information on key ACP-EU programmes and events relevant to agriculture and rural development in ACP countries
September 2019 - No. 621


EU leading in global agri-food trade

In a report published on 5th September 2019, the EU confirms for yet another year its position as largest global exporter of agri-food products, with EU exports reaching €138 billion in 2018. Agriculture products represent a solid share of 7% of the value of EU total goods exported in 2018, ranking fourth after machinery, other manufactured goods and chemicals. Agriculture and the food related industries and services together provide almost 44 million jobs in the EU. The food production and processing chain accounts for 7.5% of employment and 3.7% of total value added in the EU.

The top five destinations for EU's agri-food products continues to be the United States, China, Switzerland, Japan and Russia, accounting for 40% of EU exports. In addition to negotiating trade agreements that provide further opportunities for EU farmers, the European Commission helps EU exporters to enter new markets and benefit from business possibilities through promotion activities, including high-level missions led by Commissioner Hogan. In 2018 and 2019, Commissioner Hogan accompanied by EU producers travelled to China, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.

Regarding imports, the report concludes that the EU became the second biggest importer of agri-food products with €116 billion worth of imports. This brings the EU trade balance for this sector to a positive net of €22 billion.

The EU mainly sources three types of products: products that are not, or only to a small extent, produced in the EU such as tropical fruit, coffee and fresh or dried fruits (representing 23.4% of imports in 2018); products that are destined for animal feed (including oilcakes and soybeans – together 10.8% of imports); and products used as ingredients in further processing (such as palm oil).
The full report also includes an overview of the trade performance of the EU's key partners (United States, China, Brazil, Japan, Russia) and their trade flows with the EU, as well as a chapter on trade and cooperation with Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

Read the full report here


Featured CTA partner

2019 Africa Agriculture Trade Monitor (AATM)

Intra-African agricultural trade is a key driver for the economic transformation of the continent, able to create jobs, especially for young farmers and entrepreneurs in key value chains. New opportunities are emerging in the context of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and a single market which will open new markets and new jobs in the entire food chain, including in a more sophisticated products with higher added-value responding to an increasing urban demand.

The second annual Africa Agriculture Trade Monitor 2019 assesses emerging and long-term trends and drivers shaping Africa’s trade in agricultural products and evaluates the possible impacts of current trade tensions.
The 2019 report focuses on intraregional trade and competitiveness, with chapters on measuring regional trade integration and competitiveness of agriculture, a feature chapter on the potential impact of global trade tensions, and an in-depth look at trade integration in the Eastern and Southern Africa region. The analysis and data provided by the Africa Agriculture Trade Monitor (AATM) are key for policy-makers, development agencies, private sector and research. They are an invaluable took for decision-making, assessing achievements but also anticipating new trends.

CTA is very proud of its partnership with IFPRI and its support to the African Growth and Development Policy Modelling Consortium (AGRODEP), a top research African capacity, doing the research for this report. GIZ supported this second edition.


Strategic Events

ACP Secretariat recommends actions for the UK government to facilitate physical market access of ACP Service providers to the UK market, following evidentiary session to the House of Commons International Trade Select Committee

The ACP Group of States was recently invited to give evidence before the House of Commons International Trade Select Committee to speak about the movement of natural persons in the delivery of temporary services (Mode 4 of services supply).
In preparation for Brexit, the International Trade Committee of the House of Commons has, since November 2018, launched an inquiry into UK Trade in Services to examine the main barriers faced by UK services exporters. This reflection on how the UK should liberalize international trade in services, includes how to negotiate international agreements and the implications for potential domestic policy.
Under the WTO Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), services can be traded internationally in four different ways — known as the four modes.  Mode 4 refers to the presence of persons of one WTO member in the territory of another for the purpose of providing a service.  In this context, the presence of the service supplier in the host country is granted on a temporary basis only , in contrast to migration for work which has a more permanent standing.  Ms Guei pointed out that many ACP service providers experience difficulties to export their services in the EU market under Mode 4 due to the refusal of developed countries to acknowledge the difference between the two approaches. In many countries this creates a situation whereby immigration regimes regulate in the same way, the conditions of entry and stay in their territories for Mode 4 service suppliers and persons seeking permanent immigration.
Administrative procedures, defined as measures related to entry and stay in other territories, are serious obstacles to temporary movement of persons, with problems related both to lack of transparency and to procedural delays and hurdles. These challenges, prevalent in most actual and potential export markets include restrictions on the entry and stay of service providers and the lack of recognition of professional/equivalent qualifications. As a result, physical market access, namely obtaining visas and/or work permits is possibly the single most important impediment to ACP services exports.
Following the Session, the Secretariat recommended a number of actions that the UK Government could undertake to facilitate physical market access by ACP service providers to the UK market. These included:

  • Extend the eligibility to apply for visas under existing schemes that allow for relatively easier access to visas to ACP service suppliers (e.g. UK ancestry visas)
  • Create visa categories that satisfy the needs of bona fide service suppliers. This would facilitate:
  • Greater ease for repeat visits
  • Entry and stay of lower-skilled service suppliers such as seasonal workers
  • Easier movement for suppliers of services not directly related to agriculture (i.e.  remove the preference for highly skilled service suppliers)
  • Lengths of stay of appropriate duration
  • Commit to the preservation, for specified periods of time, of visa schemes of  particular interest to ACP service providers to the UK
  • Provide clear and written reasons for visa refusals and highlight visa categories that might be open to ACP service suppliers who are initially refused a visa
  • Facilitate recognition of qualifications for purposes of satisfying visa requirements.

Source: ACP, 6 August 2019


ACP discusses NDC Progress and Successes during Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week

Dr Pendo Maro, team leader of the Intra-ACP GCCA+ Programme – an initiative of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group funded by the European Development Fund (EDF) – recently chaired a panel discussion on the progress and successes of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in the Caribbean region during the Regional Dialogue on NDCs for Latin America and the Caribbean. The Regional Dialogue was held on 19 to 20 August during the Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week 2019 (LACCW), from 19 to 23 August in Salvador de Bahía, Brazil.
The Regional Dialogue featured a dynamic schedule of activities to demonstrate increasing climate ambition across the Caribbean and Latin American Region. To boost ambition and accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the results of the LACCW will feed into the outcome of the Climate Action Summit organized by the UN Secretary-General on 23 September in New York. The ACP Group of States in collaboration with the European Commission and the Alliance for Small Island States (AOSIS) will host an event on 26 September during the Climate Action Summit in New York.

Source: ACP, 4 September 2019

EU and Mauritania extend fisheries protocol

The EU and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania have agreed to extend, for maximum one year, the protocol to the sustainable fisheries partnership agreement which was due to expire in November 2019. Under the protocol, the EU fleet can fish in Mauritanian waters for shrimp, demersal fish, tuna and small pelagic fish, up to a total of 287,050 tons a year. In addition to the fees paid by the European fleet, the EU pays a financial contribution of €61,625,000 per year, comprising of €57,500,000 for the access to waters and  €4,125,000 for supporting local fishing communities in Mauritania and improving fisheries governance.

This extension fully reflects the existing protocol and confirms its underlying principles. It will allow for the continuation of fishing activities of EU operators in Mauritanian waters as of 16 November 2019. Meanwhile, the negotiations for a new agreement and protocol will continue.The two parties agreed on an exceptional derogatory procedure to tackle potential border blockages during the export transportation of fresh fish caught in Mauritanian waters. The extension will enter into force when the necessary legislative procedures for its conclusion have been completed.

Source: EC, 4th September 2019
European Commission pleased with progress international negotiations to protect high seas – ambitious final agreement needed by 2020

The European Commission looks back on very constructive negotiations with international partners to protect the marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction – commonly called the high seas.
These negotiations, held under a United Nations Intergovernmental Conference, should lead to international rules for marine protected areas as well as for assessing the environmental impact of activities carried out in the high seas. They will also help use the high seas’ biological resources – in particular its genetic resources – in a more sustainable way.Positions on several key issues continue to diverge, in particular on the marine genetic resources and capacity building and transfer of marine technology parts. Nevertheless, a vast majority of delegations are now fully committed to the process, submitting a large number of textual proposals.

With regard to environmental impact assessments, the idea of assessing the cumulative impacts from different activities on the same ecosystems seemed to receive near unanimous support. The EU proposal to include a provision on Strategic Environmental Assessments is gaining traction.
The EU will now continue to work towards a final agreement by 2020. The European Commission will organise a workshop on environmental impact assessment and strategic environmental assessment in Brussels during the second half of January 2020. Some EU Member States are also planning to organize workshops in support of the negotiations.

Source: EC, 3 September 2019
Progress made on EU - Pacific Regional Protocol Negotiations

Lead negotiators of the Pacific States of the African, Caribbean, Pacific Group (PACP) and the European Union (EU) are pleased with the progress made on their negotiations towards a EU-Pacific Regional Protocol (PRP), which falls under the EU/ACP negotiations for a post-Cotonou Agreement.
PIF Secretary General and PACP Regional Authorising Officer, Dame Meg Taylor welcomed the convening of PRP negotiations in the Pacific region, highlighting the importance of an inclusive approach, allowing the participation of all PACPS in the negotiations, as well as opportunity for a briefing with Non-State Actors.

Negotiators discussed texts in strategic priority areas for the PACP region, including: environmental sustainability and climate change; inclusive and sustainable economic development; oceans, seas and fisheries; security, human rights and governance; and human and social development.  Discussions were also held on the basis for engagement, and means of implementation.

Source: EEAS, 3 September 2019
Pacific Islands Forum Issues Strongest-ever Statement on Climate, cites Security Threat

At the conclusion of the 50th Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), Pacific leaders issued a Forum Communiqué and the ‘Kainaki II Declaration for Urgent Climate Change Now’ – the strongest collective statement the Forum has issued on climate change. The PIF took place from 13-16 August 2019 in Funafuti, Tuvalu, with the theme of “Securing our future in the Pacific”.
In the Forum Communiqué,  leaders, inter alia: endorsed the development of a 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent and outlined priorities for “securing our future in the Pacific,” through enhanced climate change and disaster resilience and endorsed Blue Pacific Principles for collective PIF Dialogue and Engagement such as a partnership approach.
From 10-13 September 2019, the ACP will convene the 6th Meeting of ACP Ministers in charge of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Apia, Samoa to advance the sustainable development of fisheries and aquaculture by providing an opportunity to consider a range of policy options for the sustainable development of fisheries and aquaculture in ACP Countries.

Source: ACP, 30 August 2019

Key resources

Creating Opportunities for Rural Youth – IFAD 2019 Rural Development Report

This report is based on substantive evidence and attempts to provide the kind of analysis that can inform policies, programmes and investments to promote a rural transformation that is inclusive of youth. It examines who rural youth are, where they live, and the multiple constraints they face in their journey from dependence to independence. A distinguishing feature of this report is that it examines rural development in the context of the transformation of rural areas and the wider economy. Opportunities for young women and men begin with a transformation towards a dynamic rural economy. These opportunities depend on the national, rural and household settings in which young people reside. Only by understanding these multiple layers can governments and decision makers design effective policies and investments to enable young rural women and men to become productive and connected individuals who are in charge of their own future.


New eBook: Perspectives on the Soft Power of EU Trade Policy

EU trade agreements aim at reducing foreign market access barriers, but also condition the terms of preferential access to the Single Market on regulation in partner countries in areas such as social and labour standards. Is this an effective strategy? Does it come at the cost of attaining economic objectives? This eBook brings together different perspectives on these and other questions. The eBook is divided in four segments: reflections on EU trade policy; specific dimensions of EU trade policy; relations with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and Economic Partnership Agreements and trade and non-trade policy objectives.



European Research and Innovation Days
24-26 September 2019
Brussels, Belgium
CARIFORUM-EU Business Forum and Authentic Caribbean Trade Expo
26 Sep - 28 Sep 2019
Union Halle Frankfurt, Germany
Click here for more info
European Week of Regions and Cities
More than six thousand people from all over Europe are expected to join the European Regions and Cities, this year under the headline "Regions and Cities: Pillars of the EU's Future".
7-10 October 2019
Brussels, Belgium
Registration Info
Food 2030: Nourishing people and nurturing the planet through sustainable health diets for all
Event organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
16 October 2019
From 13:00
Brussels, Belgium

Brussels Briefing n.58 -  The opportunities of Regional Trade
23 October 2019
Brussels, Belgium

The 2019 EU Agricultural Outlook Conference
The Conference is a key annual opportunity for European stakeholders to engage and discuss the future of agriculture in Europe and the challenges that lie ahead.
10-11 December
Brussels, Belgium

This CTA Brussels newsletter is produced weekly by the CTA Brussels Office

Publisher: Ms Isolina Boto, Manager CTA Brussels Office (
Editor: Mariana Lemos (
Contributor: Félix Ajong (
Technical support: Thierry Lewyllie (

NOTE; If you have questions or suggestions, please write to us at:
For more information on the full range of CTA activities, please go to or
Follow the Brussels Briefings: 
Twitter CTABrussels
Brussels Briefings
Our mailing address is:
CTA Brussels Office
Montoyer 39
1000 Brussels

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU). CTA operates under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and is funded by the EU.
© 2018 CTA - Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International