Huge Coffee Agreement Will Have Major Impact On World Market

Coffee industry watchers say the decision of the World Coffee Producers Forum (WCPF) to become a formalized nonprofit organization is a highly significant development for millions of people.

The move follows a highly successful first-time meeting of the WCPF in Medellín, Colombia. The event drew 1,500 coffee representatives from 41 countries. This unprecedented meeting of the minds attended by some of the most important coffee business people in the world made it clear that a more formal organization to regulate world coffee trade is sorely needed.

Cobbling the WCPF into a formal nonprofit entity is even more significant since the United States announced its intention to opt out of the International Coffee Agreement (ICA). This was first signed in 1962 and has played a central role in shaping the global coffee market. Among other functions, the ICA sets quotas for import and export of coffee between countries.

But the Trump Administration’s “America First” philosophy is at odds with most major trade agreements between countries and wants to renegotiate better deals for the U.S. in almost all cases – that now includes coffee.

This makes a more organized and purpose-driven WCPF more important than ever. It means that its 40-plus member countries can develop policies that protect the rights of all major coffee-producing countries around the world. It may be a much-needed counter-balance to the huge economic muscle of the American coffee industry and its rich consumer market.

In the meantime, the WCPF has already announced its second world forum for 2019 in a location yet to be determined.

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