Towards Inclusive Trade: How to Unlock the Trade Potential of Emerging Agricultural Enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa
16 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2016 Last revised: 14 Nov 2016
Date Written: September 15, 2016
Sub-Saharan Africa's greatest current comparative advantage lies in its agricultural sector. Most of this agricultural production takes place through emerging agricultural enterprises (EAEs) – i.e., fast growing small and medium-sized enterprises. While some EAEs engage in intra-Africa trade, few have managed to sell their various agricultural products in high-value markets, like the European Union or the United States.
To help EAEs grow within their own markets and compete in overseas markets, Sidley Austin LLP established in 2012, the Sidley Emerging Enterprises Pro Bono Program. Participants have gained deep understanding of practical trade barriers impeding EAEs' trade. But factors only tangentially related to trade law also constitute key impediments to African exports to high-value markets: for instance, governments' lack of a functioning Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) or Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) regulatory framework, EAEs' inability to comply with higher quality standards in high-value markets, and problems related to negotiation and enforcement of contracts.
This paper discusses some of the main market access barriers encountered by Sidley's clients, and practical ways to address these barriers, including through the principles, tools and resources made available by the WTO. It provides a brief overview of the different types of import requirements EAEs must comply with in order to access high-value markets, including tariffs and NTMs such as SPS and TBT requirements. It then highlights ways in which an enterprise can best take advantage of high-value agricultural markets. Finally, it discusses how Sub-Saharan African governments can further facilitate EAEs' ability to bring their products into compliance with food safety and quality standards in high-value markets.
Keywords: Sub-Saharan Africa, trade barriers, NTMs, agriculture trade, SPS, TBT, WTO
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