ACP Secretariat Press Release 17-06-2010: The African, Caribbean and Pacific Ministerial preparatory meetings started today 17th June 2010 as a prelude to the 91st Session of the ACP Council of Ministers which starts tomorrow (18 Friday) in the West African state of Burkina Faso.
Ministers and senior officials from the ACP states are arriving in Ouagadougou for the ACP meeting, which will be followed by the 35th Session of the ACP-EC Council of Ministers and the ensuing signing of the Second five-yearly revised Cotonou Agreement on Tuesday next week.
The Cotonou Agreement is the most comprehensive partnership agreement between developing countries and the EU. Since 2000, it has been the framework for the EU's relations with the 79 countries of the ACP Group. The first revision took place in 2005 and prepared the ground for the 2007-2013 financial framework of development assistance.
Today's ministerial meetings include: Least Developed Countries Sugar Ministerial Committee, Ministerial Committee on Cotton, Ministerial Committee on Sugar, Ministerial Consulations on Bananas and Ministerial Consultations on Sugar.
During the Ministerial Committee on Cotton, the ACP Group has noted with deep dismay that there has still not been any progress in the treatment of the cotton dossier at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations which have stalled. The Group was even shocked that the issue was not on the agenda for the General Council meeting held in early May in Geneva this year.
The ACP ministers were also informed of the conclusion of the dispute between Brazil and the USA on subsidies provided by the latter to their cotton farmers. The Group noted that, by choosing to temporally settle the dispute outside the WTO rules, the two parties unfortunately left the cotton producers, like those in ACP states, out in the cold. The ACP Group maintained that the subsidies must be removed.
A total of 36 countries are involved in cotton production.