The ACP-EU TBT Programme focusses on three areas:
- Upgrading and strengthening Quality Infrastructure and related institutions
- Empowering economic operators and export sectors to comply with international market requirements
- Disseminating results, good practices and experiences
The Programme is financed by the European Union in partnership with the ACP Secretariat under the 10th European Development Fund (intra-ACP). It is a demand-driven Programme responding to requests for capacity building from ACP countries to ensure full ownership by the ACP beneficiaries.
The calm-inducing root, used for thousands of years by Pacific islanders as a ceremonial drink, became a major export to the EU in the 1990s. Islanders set aside land to cultivate kava, and came to depend on its revenues: around $200 million each year. Then in 2002, fears that kava was causing liver damage led Germany to withdraw licenses for kava products. The ban spread to other European countries, Australia and New Zealand. Despite thin medical evidence, trade came to a halt.
The economic impact on Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, the Solomon Islands and Tonga was severe. After much campaigning, Germany lifted its ban last year. But the islands lacked the capacity to undertake scientific assessments to rehabilitate kava’s reputation, develop safety protocols or propose standards for international trade. This EU’s ACP-EU Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) programme is working at the islands’ request to help establish quality and safety standards.