Uganda accuses withdrawal of coffee body deal of unfair trading terms

KAMPALA, Feb 18 (Reuters) – Uganda on Friday blamed its withdrawal from an International Coffee Organization (ICO) agreement this month on unfair tariffs and other obstacles that restrict exports of processed coffee to Europe and elsewhere.

Africa’s largest coffee producer behind Ethiopia had yet to cite reasons for withdrawing from a two-year extension of the ICO’s 2007 International Coffee Agreement (ICA), saying effectively stepping down from the pre-eminent intergovernmental body charged with overseeing world coffee production and trade and fostering cooperation. between producing and consuming countries.

“Uganda needs unconditional market access that allows for the export of value-added coffee, not just green coffee,” the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) said in a statement.

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“The new coffee agreement should put more emphasis on adding value with extended programs aimed at transferring value to the farm gate.”

President Yoweri Museveni has long complained about what he says are unbalanced trade rules that deprive countries like Uganda of the value of basic commodities such as coffee.

Coffee production in the East African country has increased in recent years thanks to aggressive planting programs that have expanded the area under cultivation.

Earnings from beans are Uganda’s second-largest source of foreign exchange behind gold, according to central bank data.

In the 12 months to September 30 last year, Uganda exported 6.5 million 60kg bags and earned $630 million.

“Importing countries are imposing increasing tariffs and restrictions on imports of value-added coffee,” the statement said, citing countries including Germany, Belgium and Denmark.

“These barriers need to be negotiated and removed, to create even more value for Uganda’s coffee sector.”

The UCDA said Uganda also opposes the ICO’s unfair and outdated classification of coffee varieties in the international market, which only recognizes beans from Brazil and Colombia to the detriment of coffee from the United States. Uganda and other countries.

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Reporting by Elias Biryabarema Editing by David Goodman

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