BRUSSELS, Belgium, Wednesday June 25, 2014, CMC – Caribbean banana producing countries are being urged to improve their consultations and exchange of information on the implementation of the Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM) adopted by the European Union Council in December 2011.
The EU Council has allocated Euro 190 million (One Euro =US$1.29 cents) for the implementation of these measures as well as the promised allocation of an additional Euro 10 million.
African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries at their 99th session of the Council of Ministers in Kenya last week passed a resolution indicating that ACP countries concerned by the BAM had all submitted National Adaptation Strategies (NAS) approved by the European Union.
But they said they are “deeply concerned at the delay by the European Commission in disbursing the resources allocated for setting up the BAM, thereby undermining the expected effectiveness of these measures”.
The ACP said it was also concerned with the continued proliferation of trade agreements linking the European Commission to rival countries or regions of the ACP banana-producing countries and the consequences of such agreements on the exports of ACP banana-exporting countries.
The resolution is encouraging ACP banana-producing countries to improve their consultations and exchange of information on the implementation of the BAM and “reiterates to the European Union the need to refrain from adopting a definitive position on future support to the ACP banana sector before the results of the implementation of the BAM are known”.
It also invites the Working Group on Bananas, in conjunction with the ACP Secretariat,”to quickly take stock of the provision of the BAM resources in the various beneficiary countries and to report to the next Council session”.
The resolution also reiterates the need to review the situation in the ACP banana sector, “given the new risks to competitiveness as represented by the additional trade benefits proposed by the European Commission to third countries that are rivals of the ACP banana-producing countries, since the review of the developments on the banana market is part of the package of the Geneva Agreement on Trade in Bananas…”.
It calls on the European Commission and the ACP Secretariat to begin discussions to include the issue of bananas among the priority areas in the framework of the programming of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) as well as impressing upon the Brussels based ACP Secretariat “the importance of paying adequate attention to the issue of bananas in the support provided to banana-producing member states.