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Switzerland becomes first country to ratify the new International Coffee Agreement (ICA)

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LONDON, United Kingdom – On Thursday 11 May 2023 Switzerland officially became the first country to ratify the International Coffee Agreement – ICA 2022, approved by Members of the International Coffee Organization (ICO) in June 2022. The country has been a Member of the Agreement since 1964, which aims to promote exchange and cooperation between consumer and producer countries.

During the renegotiation of the ICA 2007, due to expire in February 2024, Ms Stefanie Küng of Switzerland chaired the Working Group on the Future of the Agreement which enabled the drafting and approval of the new ICA 2022.

Aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and maintaining its intergovernmental nature, the new Agreement is characterized by streamlined and more effective governance, a fairer distribution of contributions that reflects the actual value distribution in the coffee global value chain, and stronger cooperation with and integration of the private sector and civil society.

What’s more, it gives a clear mandate to the ICO Secretariat to assist Members to mobilize resources in order to realize their coffee sectors’ full potential and act sustainably.

Switzerland forms an integral part of the global coffee landscape. With an average of US$2.2 bn in net trade, Swiss companies are heavily involved in the international coffee market and Swiss coffee roasters play a leading economic role internationally. Around 10 percent of the world’s coffee export value is attributed to Switzerland, with its citizens enjoying 16.2 million cups every day.

The ratification of the ICA 2022 will further contribute to the sustainable development of the coffee sector at a national and global level by benefiting and involving all actors in the value chain. This includes not only coffee exporting and importing countries, but also coffee farmers, the industry, civil society, and development and financial partners, all of whom contribute towards the overall transformation of the sector.

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The ICA remains one of the most significant international economic agreements ever negotiated and has a vital and immediate impact on the lives of millions of people worldwide, and an indirect effect on hundreds of millions more, influencing the political and economic future of many countries.

The new ICA 2022 will address the challenges facing the sector through the multilateral channel rather than country-to-country negotiations, strengthening the key role played by the Organization as the centre of “coffee diplomacy” and reaffirming the ICO and its Coffee Public-Private Task Force as the main forum for multi-stakeholder discussions on coffee-related issues at the public and private levels.

Executive Director of the ICO, Vanúsia Nogueira, said:

“Many countries have already signed the ICA 2022 and now Switzerland has shown that with strong political commitment the parliamentary process of ratification can be completed promptly and efficiently. In order to enter into force definitively, signatory governments holding at least two-thirds of the votes of the exporting Members and at least two-thirds of the votes of the importing Members must have deposited instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval.

“Because of the importance of coffee in world trade and its great social, economic and political significance to so many countries, we have a duty to shape this area of international cooperation and regulation with regard to the global sector. Thanks to Switzerland, we can inaugurate a new era for the ICO and provide an important precedent for future collective efforts in the international economic and commodity field.”

Markus Leitner, Ambassador of Switzerland to the United Kingdom, said:

“Thanks to innovative technologies in the roasting, processing and capsulating of coffee, Switzerland is a leading trading and exporting hub for coffee. We are convinced that the new ICA 2022 represents a strong instrument to promote sustainability in the coffee industry, while ensuring cooperation between governments, the private sector and civil society.”

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