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European Parliament to vote on agreement governing the bittersweet trade in cocoa

Cocoa is not only essential to creating delicious chocolate, but it is also a commodity millions of people depend upon for their income. The European Parliament will vote this week on the 2010 International Cocoa Agreement which aims to improve market transparency and strengthen co-operation between exporting and importing countries. MEPs will also vote on a separate resolution to condemn the use of child labour for cocoa production.

The International Cocoa Agreement, which replaces the existing 2001 agreement, will be in force for 10 years and can be extended twice for additional two-year periods. The new agreement sets objectives for a sustainable cocoa economy, recognises the need for fair cocoa prices and equitable returns, promotes  quality and develops food safety procedures. It also aims to strengthen the role of the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO). The organisation collects, processes and distributes market data and works together with industry and NGOs. ICCO members represent 85% of world cocoa production and more than 60% of consumption. Exporters and importers hold identical shares in its highest governing body, with the EU as a single party holding over half of importing members' votes. 

Following the Lisbon Treaty, Parliament must grant consent before the agreement is concluded by the Council. The international trade committee, which is the committee responsible, recommends approving the agreement.  MEPs will discuss the agreement this afternoon and vote on it tomorrow.

Source: www.europarl.europa.eu

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