EU stands ready to support developing countries realize the benefits of a WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement
Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht have joined forces to help secure a WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement as part of global efforts to increase trade’s contribution to development. The EU’s support responds to demands from Least-Developed Countries (LDCs) for help to make the most of the deal, which could be agreed at the WTO’s 9th Ministerial Conference in December 2013.
“I see only good opportunities”, said EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht. “Trade facilitation is about better customs procedures, cutting red tape, fighting corruption, and cutting costs for business. Cutting the cost of trade by just 1% would increase worldwide income by over €30 billion and two thirds of this would go to developing countries. Getting agreement in the WTO on trade facilitation would also send a powerful signal about the strength of the multilateral trade system and its ability to produce tangible results for the international community.”
Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs added, “Making it easier and cheaper to trade will help developing countries to better integrate in regional and global trade system. This will contribute to facilitate trade development and diversification, enhance job-creation and the wider sharing of the benefits of international trade. Reducing trade costs effectively require targeting of the binding constraints and proper sequencing of reforms. I therefore invite our partners to formulate trade facilitation plans with clear, specific and targeted requests for support. Within its overall Aid for Trade commitments, the EU stands ready to contribute its fair share and provide continued and substantial support for trade facilitation. ”
Trade facilitation refers to measures aimed at simplifying, modernizing and harmonizing merchandise import, improving tax collection at the border, export and transit procedures, especially customs requirements. Possible measures include simplifying rules, reducing the number of and standardizing custom forms, and computerization. The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement could create an international framework for reforms. The EU hopes that such a deal could be adopted at the WTO’s 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia on 3-6 December 2013.
EU has started working on the allocation of its development aid for the period 2014-2020.
Good results for FloraHolland in Feb
The results of sales of flowers and plants in February at the Dutch auction FloraHolland were very good. The turnover of flowers and plants went up by 15% compared to the same month last year; the volume was 2.6% more. The average price was €0.374, which is 4 cent higher than in February 2012.
Last year, sales for Valentine’s Day were disappointing which was caused by the winter weather but this year the weather was fine, which was good for the trade. Valentine’s Day is getting more important for consumers in Eastern Europe and as a result the flower sales for this day went up.
The average price of roses was 4 cent higher in February and the number of sold stems increased by 2%. Prices for chrysanthemum were also much higher: +8 cent/stem for spray and +8.6 cent for disbudded sorts.
Most consumers think of flowers when buying a Valentine’s Day present, but also pot plants were doing well for this special day. Prices for phalaenopsis for example increased by 3,5 cent (to €4.282) compared to February last year. Prices of pot roses, bromeliad, and anthurium were also higher.
Dutch minister visits new cargo centre in Ethiopia
The new Dutch Minister for International Trade and Development Cooperation, Minister Ploumen, visited the Ethiopian horticultural sector accompanied by a trade delegation. Green Farming members FloraHolland, Horticoop, DLV Plant and Wageningen University and Research centre were members of the delegation.
They were offered the opportunity to share their experiences with the Ethiopian partners in order to discuss jointly realization of improvements and stimulation of further development of the sector. On the program were visits to the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Agriculture. Important topics that were discussed among the Ministers and trade delegation participants included the availability of foreign currency for the private sector, development of the logistic chain, duty and tax rates for the various business types in the sector and the new investment proclamation of the Ethiopian government.
Long term strengthening and intensification of the cooperative ties in the horticultural sector were affirmed by all attending parties. Investments by the Dutch private sector, cooperation in knowledge development and capacity building combined with governmental support were indicated as means to further development of the sector.
Besides the Ministries, also agricultural and horticultural projects of Dutch entrepreneurs were visited. An important milestone for the horticultural sector is the construction of the new cargo centre at the airport of Addis Ababa. The operator Ethiopian Airlines received Minister Ploumen and the trade delegation and showed them around the facilities. The new cargo facility offers the sector around 3.500 m2 extra space for cargo handling. It also offers the opportunity to handle flowers separate from other perishables like meat and vegetable products. The facility has been developed and build by Green Farming members Celtic Cooling and Bosman with the support of their local enterprises in Ethiopia.