COMMITTEE ON COMMODITY PROBLEMS
Rome, 12-15 January 1999
REPORT OF THE TWELFTH SESSION OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL GROUP ON CITRUS FRUIT Valencia, Spain, 22-25 September 1998
II. ECONOMIC AND TRADE ISSUES
III. INTERGOVERNMENTAL ACTION ON CITRUS
IV. OTHER MATTERS
APPENDIX - List of documents
1. The Twelfth Session of the Intergovernmental Group on Citrus Fruit was held in Valencia, Spain from 22-25 September 1998. It was attended by 102 delegates from the following members: Argentina, Austria, Brazil, China, Cuba, European Community, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Morocco, Netherlands, Spain, Tunisia, United States of America and Uruguay. In addition, observers from the following organizations attended: the International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO, the Association of the Industry of Juices and Nectars from Fruits and Vegetables of the European Union (AIJN), the Common Fund for Commodities, the Confederation of Importers and Marketing Organizations in Europe of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables (CIMO), the Liaison Committee of Mediterranean Citrus Fruit Culture (CLAM), the European Union of the Fruit and Vegetable Wholesale, Import and Export Trade (EUCOFEL) and the International Society of Citriculture (ISC).
2. The opening ceremony was presided by Ms Mª. Angeles Ramón-Llin Martínez, Consellera de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación of the Generalitat Valenciana. The Group was also addressed by Mr Manuel Lamela Fernández, Subsecretario from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and, by Ms Paola Fortucci, Chief, Raw Materials, Tropical and Horticultural Products Service, on behalf of the Director-General of FAO.
3. The Group elected Mr Manuel Gonzalo (Spain) as Chairperson and Mr Liu Xing (China) and Mr Miguel Alfredo Ferré (Argentina) as Vice-Chairpersons.
4. The Session adopted the provisional agenda, circulated as document CCP: CI 98/1.
5. The Group took note of the information on recent market developments tabled in document CCP: CI 98/CRS.1. Country statements by many delegates were also tabled as conference series documents for information purposes. The Group expressed appreciation for these contributions which enhanced its understanding of production and trade developments in the respective countries, and aided the assessment of market prospects for the 1998/99 season.
6. Commenting on the market situation in economies in transition (area of the former USSR and eastern Europe) with the assistance of document CCP: CI 98/2, the Group expressed concern over the serious financial situation prevailing in some of these countries which could considerably limit their ability to import citrus. The Group drew attention to the possible adverse effects that a further reduction in imports in these markets could have on fresh citrus prices. The Group concluded that the continued monitoring of these and other markets remained a high priority.
7. When discussing the market outlook for mandarins in the United States with the assistance of document CCP: CI 98/3, the Group concluded that some opportunities for further growth existed in this market. However, one delegate noted the difficulties faced in gaining access to this market. The Group noted that increased clementine imports inton the United States in recent years, particularly in 1997/98, had been underpinned by temporary shortfalls in domestic production. The potential response of domestic supply to increased demand should be taken into account in evaluating longer-term prospects.
8. Based on information provided by the representative of the International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO in document CCP: CI 98/4 regarding the market for organic (biological) food and beverages, the Group recognized the complexity of the wide range of issues surrounding the development of standards and certification regulations governing the production and trade of these products. Delegates from several important markets for organic products referred to the development of the necessary regulatory framework under which organic agriculture operated in their countries. The Group noted that a great deal of effort and resources needed to be invested in the conversion to organic agriculture, including the development of alternative production technologies. It was pointed out that in some cases as productivity declined with this conversion, market premiums might not provide adequate financial incentives to producers.
9. The Group noted the difficulties which existed in obtaining information concerning markets for organic products, including reliable production and trade statistics. It looked forward to obtaining the results of the ongoing ITC market survey, including the note on certification and standards, being prepared by that organization. The Group concluded that the market situation and prospects for organic citrus should be closely monitored in order to improve the information base on which to make a more accurate assessment of this small but growing segment of the market.
10. The Group expressed appreciation for the efforts undertaken to analyze the market outlook to 2005, as contained in document CCP: CI 98/5. Based on the interventions of several delegates from different regions, the Group expressed general concern that increasing production might not be matched by rising demand, and that price levels might therefore deteriorate for certain varieties of citrus fruit. It was stated that the consumption of citrus juice based on concentrate in the EC and some other developed country markets might perhaps have reached near saturation levels, and consequently growth rates in consumption could fall short of the modest levels indicated in the projections document.
11. The Group agreed that there was a need for continued monitoring of the longer term market outlook. In undertaking this projections work, it urged the Secretariat to make further efforts to refine methodologies and improve the data base employed for the analysis. The Group encouraged its members to provide the Secretariat with information on tree age profiles, numbers and areas, by variety, and requested the Secretariat to incorporate this information in subsequent projections exercises in order to enhance the accuracy of the results.
12. The Group reviewed recent policy developments affecting trade in citrus fruit with the assistance of document CCP: CI 98/6. It also considered document CCP: CI 98/7 regarding sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures having implications for the citrus sector. Several delegates provided corrections and supplementary information concerning the policy developments described in document CCP:CI 98/6.
13. The delegates of some exporting countries stressed the importance of trade liberalization to ensure a balanced and equitable development of exports and earnings from fresh and processed citrus. They reported that they encountered problems in exporting to the EC market under the regulations governing trade with third countries. Reference was made to the EC entry price system and the levels of these prices, tariff quota limitations, the level of prevailing import duties, and the import volumes at which safeguard clauses may be triggered. In addition, it was stated that EC aids to producer organizations could constitute a further element of market distortion.
14. The delegate of the EC stated that imports from third countries had not declined and that the reform of the Common Market Organisation (CMO) for fruits and vegetables aimed at making the sector more responsive to market trends rather than at the disposal of structural surpluses. Under the new regulations, a time-bound limitation had been established on intervention measures which were being progressively reduced, while growers' organizations were being encouraged to improve their performance in an increasingly competitive market. In relation to questions raised concerning the implementation of Commission Directive 96/15 under which certain "protected zones" ceased to be recognized, he stated that reportedly Greece had transposed the directive into its national legislation, and that Italy had already undertaken similar action, although clarification was required of the interpretation of certain technical and legal aspects which it was expected would be resolved by late 1998 or early 1999.
15. The delegates of some exporting countries appealed for the extension of preferential arrangements applied by major importing markets to all citrus supplying countries.
16. The delegates of some exporting countries expressed their concern that SPS measures established without sound scientific basis and without risk analysis that took into account reasonable levels of risk opened the door for such measures to be used as non-tariff barriers, contrary to the provisions of the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. It was recalled that such measures could thus be challenged under the WTO dispute settlement procedure, if these issues could not be resolved bilaterally. Concern was specifically raised that the sanitary and phytosanitary measures applied in several major importing countries and regions should respect the principles of transparency, equivalence and non-discrimination. The delegates of some importing members stated that their SPS measures were in conformity with the WTO provisions.
17. The Group requested the Secretariat to continue to monitor developments in policies affecting the citrus sector.
18. The Group considered this item with the assistance of document of CCP: CI 98/8. Based on the report of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to the Group as the Supervisory Body for project FIGCF/03 "New Approach for Diagnosis and Prevention of Tristeza Outbreaks," the Group endorsed the excellent progress made in the implementation of the project.
19. The Group confirmed its endorsement of the reformulated proposal submitted by the Inter-American Citrus Network (IACNET) on "Integrated Pest Management for Citrus Production in Latin America and the Caribbean." The Group expressed its strong support for the reformulated IACNET proposal as being of the highest priority for citrus in the region and requested that appropriate action be taken for its submission to the CFC.
20. The Group reaffirmed its support for the proposal endorsed at its 11th Session entitled "Intensified Selection of New Citrus Rootstocks Combining Salinity, Alkalinity, Tristeza, Phytophtora and Nematode Tolerance in the Southern Rim of the Mediterranean Area." The Group noted that this proposal was of interest not only to Mediterranean countries, but globally, and requested that this interest be drawn to the attention of the CFC. Moreover, the Group recommended that the sponsors of the proposal undertake consultations with the CFC with a view to obtaining clarification on the observations made by the Consultative Committee and furnish the CFC with the necessary elements in order to bring the project proposal to fruitation.
21. The Group endorsed the project outline for "The Improvement and Development of Orange Production among Small, Disadvantaged Farmers in Kaixian County, Sichuan Province," submitted by the delegation of China in document CCP: CI 98/CRS.16. In endorsing the concept, the Group stressed that its further elaboration should take full account of the strategy established by the Group for the citrus sector, that the results of the project would be shared with other developing countries, and that the project would focus on meeting domestic market requirements in China and not contribute to the growth of supplies on the world market, where there was a possible risk of oversupply in the longer run.
22. The delegate of Indonesia expressed his interest in having a similar project intended to improve productivity and disease eradication among small-scale orange plantations in West Kalimantan Province.
23. The Group recognized the need for an inter-sessional mechanism to deal with CFC project activities in a more effective manner, and therefore endorsed the establishment of such a mechanism involving consultations with the Bureau. It was envisaged that such an arrangement would expedite follow-up activities concerning CFC projects and proposals between sessions of the Group.
24. As part of its efforts to seek ways to encourage and expand citrus consumption throughout the world, the Group considered various aspects of dietary promotion and marketing strategies. The nutritional and health benefits of citrus fruits were highlighted in document CCP: CI 98/CRS.15.
25. The Group expressed satisfaction with the solid scientific evidence that confirmed the health benefits associated with citrus consumption. It noted the array of essential nutrients and compounds found in citrus, and drew particular attention to citrus being a low-energy (low-caloric), fat-free source of vitamin C, dietary fibre, folate, potassium and several phytochemicals. The Group urged member countries to make concerted efforts to disseminate the scientific evidence that citrus has an important role to play in preventing micronutrient deficiencies, including anaemia; and agreed that, as part of a balanced low-fat diet high in fruit and vegetables, citrus could contribute to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, some cancers, and neural tube birth defects. The Group stressed that the multiple nutritional benefits from citrus are only possible through consumption of fruits and juices and currently could not be obtained from supplements. The Group noted a report concerning the positive health effects associated with the flavinoids (in all citrus) and anthocyanins (in blood oranges).
26. The Group recognized the important contributions that citrus and citrus products could make to healthful diets. It was suggested that its members and citrus organizations and other bodies, seek to foster cooperation between the public health, nutrition and citrus communities to 1) promote consensus at the national level regarding the important contributions that citrus could make to health and nutrition; 2) assist in reviewing and up-dating national dietary guidelines and nutrition education programmes; and 3) identify and support opportunities for promoting increased citrus consumption as part of overall efforts to improve dietary intakes, especially among nutritionally at-risk groups, and within an appropriate social, economic and cultural context.
27. The Group expressed appreciation for the presentations which were made, giving examples of innovative generic campaigns to promote agricultural commodities, including citrus. The apparent success of the Florida Department of Citrus' campaign to link citrus consumption to health messages was commended. The Group appreciated the potential of generic promotion and for intergovernmental and public-private sector collaboration, but expressed concerns about the mechanisms of co-operation and funding.
28. The Group expressed appreciation for the report by IACNET, tabled as document CCP:CI 98/CRS.5, which described the activities of the Network and its various working groups. The Group noted with interest IACNET´s future plans for action and looked forward to being kept informed of its achievements.
29. The Group was informed of the ongoing activities of the International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO concerning fruits and vegetables, including organics, and the work of its Market News Service. The Group thanked the representative of the ITC for his report and the assistance provided to the deliberations of the Session. The Group expressed appreciation for the continued close cooperation existing with the Liaison Committee of Mediterranean Citrus Fruit Culture (CLAM).
30. The Group noted that its parent body, the Committee on Commodity Problems (CCP), would undertake an in-depth review of the mandate and structure of the intergovernmental group (IGG) system at its Sixty-second Session in January 1999. Subject to the guidance provided by the CCP regarding the role and functioning of individual IGGs, the Group agreed that the exact date and place of its Thirteenth Session would be decided by the Director-General of FAO in consultation with the Chairperson of the Group. The Group stressed the usefulness of holding its sessions in citrus producing areas.
31. The Group warmly thanked the Government of Spain for hosting the Twelfth Session and for the excellent working arrangements, as well as for the warm hospitality provided.
List of documents
CCP: CI 98/1 Provisional Agenda
CCP: CI 98/2 Current situation and market outlook for citrus fruit in Eastern Europe and the area of the former USSR
CCP: CI 98/3 The market for tangerines in the United States: present situation and medium-term outlook
CCP: CI 98/4 Market prospects for organic food and beverages
CCP: CI 98/5 Citrus production, demand and trade projections to 2005
CCP: CI 98/6 Citrus policy developments
CCP: CI 98/7 Sanitary and phytosanitary measures, citrus industry and trade
CCP: CI 98/8 Progress report on citrus projects submitted to the Common Fund for Commodities
CCP: CI 98/9 Extract from the Report of the Sixty-first Session of the Committee on Commodity Problems (Rome, 25-28 February 1997)
CCP: CI 98/Inf.1 Information note on arrangements
CCP: CI 98/Inf.2 Statement of competence and voting rights submitted by the European Community (EC) and its Member States
CCP: CI 98/Inf.3 List of delegates and observers
Conference Room Series
CCP: CI 98/CRS.1 Citrus fruit: Fresh and Processed Annual Statistics 1998
CCP: CI 98/CRS.2 Citrus situation in China
CCP: CI 98/CRS.3 The citrus industry in Chile: an appraisal
CCP: CI 98/CRS.4 Avances de la fruticultura orgánica en Cuba
CCP: CI 98/CRS.5 Informe de la Red InterAmericana de Cítricos (RIAC)
CCP: CI 98/CRS.6 Propuestas para viabilizar la instrumentación del proyecto de lucha integrada contra plagas de los cítricos en América Latina
CCP: CI 98/CRS.7 Tangerinas em São Paulo e no Brasil
CCP: CI 98/CRS.8 Recent policy developments in the EU as concerns fresh citrus fruits
CCP: CI 98/CRS.9 United States Citrus
CCP: CI 98/CRS.10 Health marketing strategies
CCP: CI 98/CRS.11 Informe República Argentina
CCP: CI 98/CRS.12 La función de los agrios en una dieta equilibrada: las naranjas constituyen la elección ganadora
CCP: CI 98/CRS.13 Current production situation and market outlook for citrus in China - Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture, P.R. China
CCP: CI 98/CRS.14 Informe de Uruguay
CCP: CI 98/CRS.15 The citrus story: the nutritional and health benefits of citrus fruits
CCP: CI 98/CRS.16 Project proposal outline for the improvement and development of orange production among small-disadvantaged farmers in Kaixian County, Sichuan Province