MEPs and MPs from ACP (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific) countries call for closer cooperation to tackle counterfeit products in their future cooperation agreement. EURACTIV.fr reports.
While negotiations on the new Cotonou Agreement should begin in August 2018, the issue of counterfeit products has been put on the negotiating table by MEPs and elected representatives from the ACP countries.
Meeting in Brussels for the 35th Joint Parliamentary Assembly between the EU and ACP countries from 18 to 20 June, elected representatives called for the two sides to develop a common strategy to tackle “the illegal trade in crop protection products, seeds and other inputs”.
MEPs and ACP MPs adopted a resolution calling for more effective cooperation against the export or transit of counterfeit products, a phenomenon that causes multiple problems in many ACP countries. Illegal trade in banned or counterfeit pesticides poisons agricultural land, farmers and consumers.
“Effectively combating illegal trade and food insecurity requires the provision of technical and financial assistance, the strengthening of customs cooperation and determined measures by EU member states to counter the export or transit of counterfeit goods from their territories, ” said the elected representatives from both sides.
To speed up the fight against the illegal trade of counterfeit chemicals, representatives from both sides called for the creation of “a common fund for public research that guarantees independence from industry and development in the various crop science sectors. “.
This parliamentary session was the last one before the official opening of the negotiations between the 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and the European Union, on the framework of their future cooperation.
At present, trade and political relations and development cooperation between the two sides are governed by the Cotonou Agreement, which expires in 2020. The two sides must therefore begin negotiations to establish the bases of their cooperation after 2020.
“We hope the post-Cotonou partnership will include a stronger role for the ACP-EU Joint Assembly. This will enable the assembly to continue to play its role under the future agreement, thus ensuring multilateral governance with common objectives for the benefit of the people, “said Joseph Owona Kono (Cameroon), co-chair of the Assembly on behalf of the ACP countries.
“The Cotonou Agreement has had the merit of bringing together development aid, trade and the political aspects of our relations. These aspects should be developed further in future relations,” said Louis Michel, the co-chair for the EU of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly.
“I hope that on the European side the last stumbling blocks will be cleared away soon and that this will allow the Council to quickly adopt a negotiating mandate,” stated Michel.
The official launch of negotiations between Europe and the ACP countries was blocked because Hungary opposed the adoption of the negotiating mandate due to divergences on the migration issue.
Migration is an issue that has taken centre stage in relations between Europe and the African countries, and which will take on a new dimension in the framework of the future partnership.
After several weeks of stalemate, Hungary and the other governments finally agreed on a mandate. This should pave the way for the beginning of negotiations “in the coming weeks”, according to a statement by the Commission.
“This new partnership will be a powerful tool to jointly tackle global challenges – from fighting poverty and inequality to peace and security, from climate change to sustainable growth for all,” stated Neven Mimica, International Cooperation and Development Commissioner, after the mandate was confirmed.