11th May 2009: “Meeting Food Safety Standards: implications for ACP agricultural exports”

DSC00755The 11th Brussels Development Briefing took place on 11th May 2009 on “Meeting Food Safety Standards: Implications for ACP agricultural exports” (Centre Borschette, European Commission).

This Briefing reviewed the product standards and technical regulations of importance to promoting economic growth and protecting the health and safety of consumers and the challenges posed by rising private and public SPS standards for ACP suppliers. Exchanges has also be held on the lessons we can draw from capacity-building programmes as to better adjust to the needs of the ACP private and public sectors and the need to involve ACP countries in international standard-setting and negotiations over standards and regulations.

Registration, lunch and presentations from various organisations (COLEACP/PIP, European Commission, DG Health Consumers, CDE, CTA) on their capacity building programmes, specific modalities of eligibility and implementation.

Programme and Objectives of the meeting: Isolina Boto, CTA

Introductory remarks:
Mr Michael Scannell, Advisor, Health and Consumers Directorate General, European Commission;
Mr Guy Stinglhamber, Director, PIP, COLEACP PIP;
Dr Hansjörg Neun, Director, CTA

Panel 1 – Meeting food safety standards and the challenges for ACP countries
This session reviewed product standards and technical regulations of importance for the agri-food sector. The proliferation of standards and regulations may sometimes be used for protectionist purposes and the demands for ever higher standards might raise the hurdles facing producers and exporters in ACP countries. How difficult are the challenges posed by rising private and public SPS standards for ACP suppliers? What is the relative significance of these challenges, compared with other factors affecting competitiveness? What are the nature, magnitude and significance of costs and benefits associated with compliance?

> Food safety and agricultural standards: challenges and opportunities for ACP exports, Mr Andrew Graffham, Natural Resources Institute, United Kingdom, Executive Summary, presentation (ppt)

> The Standards requirements to access the EU market, Mr Jacky Le Gosles, Advisor, Directorate D, Health and Consumers Directorate General, EC Executive Summary, presentation (ppt)

> Private Standards and the WTO/SPS Agreement: challenges for ACP countries, Mr Robson de Moura Fernandes, Economic Affairs Officer Agriculture and Commodities Division, WTO Executive Summary, presentation (ppt)

> The implications of standards compliance for ACP producers and exporters, Ms Morag Webb, Policy adviser, COLEACP PIP Executive Summary, presentation (ppt)

> Trends in European Agri-Food Standards (EU importers), Mr Steve Homer, Manager, BIOS partners, United Kingdom presentation (ppt)

Discussant: Dr Hansjörg Neun, Director of CTA

Panel 2 – Learning from experience: what are the challenges ahead on standard-setting and compliance for ACP countries?
ACP countries face a number of problems which should be taken into account in the agenda in international negotiations over standards and regulations. Many countries are unable to participate effectively in international standard-setting and need technical and financial assistance in implementing the requirements of the agreements and support in compliance and certification. What are the lessons we can draw from trade-related SPS capacity-building programmes as to better meet the needs of the ACP countries?

> Trade-related SPS capacity building support: EU experience on regional integration and harmonization of SPS frameworks: lessons learnt and implications for future programmes, Mr Michael Scannell, Advisor, Directorate D, Health and Consumers Directorate General Executive Summary

> Experiences from the private sector:
– Raising national and regional standards as to improve competitiveness: the role of private sector, Dr Stephen Mbithi Mwikya, Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK) presentation (ppt)
– The experience of the Nile perch in Lake Victoria, Mr Philip Borel, Greenfields Uganda Ltd Executive Summary, presentation (ppt)

> Perspectives of ACP countries involvement in standard-setting, Dr Medhat El Helepi, coordinator of the EC-funded PAN SPSO programme, AU/IBAR presentation (ppt)

> Challenges with the development of compliance infrastructure, Mr. Steffen Kaeser, Industrial Development Officer, Compliance Infrastructure Unit of the Trade Capacity Building Branch, UNIDO. presentation (ppt)

Discussant: Mr Jacky Le Gosles, European Commission