Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2001-05-16-Speech-3-313"

PredicateValue (sorted: default)
dcterms:Is Part Of
lpv:document identification number
lpv:translated text
"This is an important issue that the honourable Member has addressed. I shall therefore give a relatively long answer, in spite of the lateness of the hour. As the honourable Member is aware, what is known as the ‘Everything but arms’ Regulation was adopted by the Council on 26 February 2001, when freedom from duty, without any quantitative restrictions, was extended to include all products, except for weapons and ammunition, originating in the world’s 49 least developed countries. The Regulation came into force on 5 May 2001. We think that this measure forms a significant contribution to the economic development of the least developed countries and that it is also concrete proof of the European Union’s political goodwill towards the developing countries in connection with the preparations for the next round of the WTO negotiations. The Regulation was the result of intensive discussions in the Council, where full account was taken of the consequence analysis prepared by the Commission and of the Member States’ need for assurances concerning the more detailed provisions for implementing the proposed system. These assurances related not only to the Member States’ interests, but also to the consequences of the proposal for those ACP states that are among the least developed countries, as well as to the desire to guarantee that the least developed countries themselves, rather than third parties, benefit from the new system. The doubts related mainly to three particularly sensitive products: bananas, rice and sugar. The final text took account of these doubts, while the main principle, according to which the EU should adopt meaningful measures to improve the economic situation in the least developed countries, was maintained. When it came to bananas, rice and sugar, implementation was therefore deferred until such time as agreement had been reached on the principle of access without duties and quotas. Where bananas were concerned, complete liberalisation was postponed until 2006. In the meantime, annual 20 per cent reductions in duty would be introduced as from January 2002. In the light of the problems of infrastructure that would-be banana exporters in the least developed countries at present encounter, it is difficult at this stage to assess with certainty what direct effect the Regulation will have on the banana market. As has been mentioned previously, adjustments have been made to the Regulation so that account might be taken of the misgivings experienced in this regard in the European Union and the banana-producing ACP countries that do not belong to the group of least developed countries. Moreover, the Commission has undertaken to monitor the application of the Regulation in order to discover and deal with all the difficulties as soon as possible. The Commission will investigate to what extent the least developed countries are benefiting from the Regulation, whether the available tools are sufficient for tackling – where justified – more serious disturbances in Community markets and when it is a question of bringing the adjustment mechanisms into play, especially for rice, sugar and bananas. In the light of this investigation, the Commission will present a report in 2005 and table the necessary proposals. As the honourable Member certainly knows, the Council is fully aware of its ACP partners’ problems when it comes to the operation of the banana market and is doing its utmost to take account of these misgivings in relevant initiatives. In connection with the Cotonou Agreement, the EU acknowledged the overwhelming economic importance of exports to the EU for banana suppliers in the ACP countries and agreed, if need be, to take measures to guarantee the continued profitability of banana-exporting companies in the ACP countries and continued opportunities to sell their bananas in the EU market. When the Council acts in order to meet the need to alter the organisation of the banana market so that it complies fully with the WTO’s rules, the attempt will therefore also be made to introduce guarantees to prevent ACP bananas from being excluded from the market. On this point, I also want to mention the agreement in principle reached immediately before Easter between the Commission and the United States regarding the protracted dispute between the EU and the United States concerning the trade discipline for bananas. In very general terms, those parts of the agreement concerning ACP suppliers are designed to protect the latter’s position by guaranteeing more reliable and more favourable conditions for the ACP states’ access to the EU market. Of special importance in this regard is the proposed introduction of a quota, exclusively reserved for ACP suppliers, and of an historic licence system which is seen to benefit the ACP suppliers more than the previous ‘first come, first served’ proposal. In this connection, I would also remind you that, when, in 2006, the EC’s organisation of the market in bananas becomes a duties-only system, a reduced duty will, in any case, give the ACP states a relative advantage. According to the Commission’s proposal, the Council will have to submit formal points of view regarding certain details of the agreement in principle with the United States. Parliament’s views will, of course, be sought regarding each possible change to the Council Regulation on the common organisation of the market in bananas. Finally, I would remind you of the Council Regulation establishing, from 1 January 1999, a special aid scheme for ACP states that are traditional banana suppliers. This system offers technical and financial aid to help ACP suppliers adjust to new market conditions and increase their competitiveness, at the same time as encouraging environmentally more friendly production and marketing methods. The financial and technical aid supplied in accordance with this Regulation amounted to almost EUR 45 million in 2000."@en1

Named graphs describing this resource:


The resource appears as object in 2 triples

Context graph