Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

16 December 2012

Cameroon: ACP Seeks to Reinvent, Transform

Group members at the end of the summit have embarked upon a reflection to reinvent and transform the organization.

In the second decade of the 21st Century, the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States have expressed a determination to critical analysis, reinvent and transform the organisation as a major perspective for making the Group more effective in implementing its objectives in a changing would and in being more responsive to the needs and aspirations of the citizens of its member states.

While reiterating that the future of the ACP Group can be determined only by its members, the 96th session of the ACP Council of Ministers which preceded the Summit of Heads of State insisted on their commitment to a consultation process on the future of the ACP Group not only with their strategic partner, Europe, but with all relevant and interested stakeholders and development partners across the world. Noting that the objectives of the working group on future perspectives will soon begin work, the Council of Ministers and eventually the Summit of Heads of State endorsed the Secretary-General's initiative to form an Eminent Persons Group to widen and deepen reflections on the future of the ACP Group in terms of South-South cooperation and with other development partners. The group will operate with a guided theme: Transforming the ACP Group while managing changes and continuity in a spirit of Unity and Solidarity.

On the European Union (EU) proposal for an autonomous tariff in fishery products (ATQ), the Council of Ministers highlighted the role of the fisheries sector in the socio-economic development of ACP States, owning to its contribution to the creation of jobs and generation of revenue for the poor. Another council of Minister's decision which reflected the summit discussions concerning the future of the ACP was the call on the EU to refrain from taking any action that could have a serious adverse effect on ACP economies while requesting the EU to take note of the legitimate concerns of the ACP countries by maintaining the 6 per cent tariff for tuna loins imported under the tariff quota. With regard to sugar, the European Union was called to maintain the current market tools which allow ACP suppliers to derive a reasonably remunerative price from sugar exports, thereby guaranteeing predictability and stability on the sugar market.

As far as the banana sector is concerned, the need to review the situation in the ACP banana sector was reiterated given the new competitiveness risks posed by additional trade benefits proposed by the European Commission to Third World Countries that are rivals of ACP banana-producing countries. Concerning the cotton sector, the United State may prove to be the way forward thanks to the Farm Bill reform in conformity with the WTO rules.

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