The Future of Lomé’s Commodity Protocols: Fiddling while Rum Burns?
Eight months before the fourth Lomé Convention expires on 29 February 2000, the future of four commodity protocols providing preferential access to EU markets remains undecided. Unless quick progress is made on these rather complicated issues, countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific are likely to suffer in the short to medium terms. This brief sets out some of the issues and likely consequences.
Trade issues are among the most contentious in the Lomé renegotiations, but the future of the four commodity protocols covering bananas, beef/veal, rum and sugar may be the most contentious of all. This issue epitomises the contradictions between the EU’s commitments to its traditional trade partners and towards the multilateral trade system. It also highlights the debate over the value of trade preferences as a tool for development. It is clear, however, that failing to anticipate forthcoming trends and changes, and to design adequate and timely responses, will put many ACP countries at considerable risk.