• Key events in the history of the International Coffee Agreement


    1963: First ICA comes into force at a time of low prices, regulating supplies through an export quota system.

    1972: Export quotas suspended as prices soar.

    1980: Export quotas restored and producers agree in return to abandon attempts to regulate the market unilaterally.

    February 1986: Quotas suspended after a boom caused by drought losses to Brazil’s crop sends prices soaring above the ceiling of the ICA’s US$ 1.20–1.40 target range.

    October 1987: Quotas reintroduced.

    4 July 1989: Indefinite suspension of quotas after the system breaks down under the pressure of competing demands from exporters for market shares under the new ICA then being negotiated. Backed by the United States, Central American states and Mexico press for a much bigger slice of the market at the expense of Brazil (which resists this) and of African producers.
    4 September 1989: Colombian President Virgilio Barco writes to United States President George Bush appealing for help to bring back export quotas under a new ICA and receives an encouraging response on 19 September.

    1 October 1989: ICA extension with its economic clauses suppressed takes effect.

    February 1990: President Bush at a Latin American drugs summit in Colombia reaffirms commitment to a new ICA and a document is released setting out the administration’s thinking on its possible shape.

    December 1991: During talks with Cesar Gaviria (Colombia’s new President) Brazilian President Fernando Collor de Mello (elected in March 1990), agrees in principle to back efforts to restore quotas when the local industry – given the lead role in formulating policy – can agree a common position.

    March 1992: Brazil finally gives the go-ahead to the negotiation of a new ICA with economic clauses.

    June 1992: First round of the negotiations.

    9 March 1993: Bill Clinton, victor in the November 1992 United States presidential elections, writes to Gaviria supporting a new ICA, although with no sign of much enthusiasm.

    31 March 1993: ICA negotiations collapse during the sixth round with little progress having been made and each side blaming the other for the impasse.
    September 1993: In Brazil 29 countries sign a treaty establishing the ACPC with powers to regulate supplies and prices. Citing this as a reason, the United States pulls out of the ICO.

    September 1994: New ‘administrative’ ICA without economic clauses (drafted in March) enters into force for five years.

    March 1998: First talks open about the possibility of replacing the 1994 ICA.

    July 1999: ICA talks break down.

    September 1999: 1994 ICA extended for a further two years during which the first of which, it is agreed, a further attempt will be made to draw up a replacement treaty.

    September 2000: Drafting of a new ICA completed.

    October 2001: ICA 2001 enters into force for six years. It has no provisions for price regulation.

    February 2005: The United States returns to full membership.

    January 2006: Negotiations to replace the ICA 2001 begin

    September 2007: A new ten year International Coffee Agreement is approved and the 2001 ICA is extended, initially for one year, to enable ratification procedures to be completed.

    September 2010: The 2001 ICA is extended for a fourth year to provide further time for participating countries to complete their ratification procedures. 

    September 2010: Japan officially withdraws from the Agreement. 

    February 2011: The 2007 ICA comes into force after ratification by Brazil.
    This listed is based primarily on F.O.Licht, International Coffee Report, Vol. 15 N°21.  See also www.ico.org/aico/history.htm

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