Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Geek Week: 30 October – 3 November 2017


tralac Geek Week: 30 October – 3 November 2017

tralac Geek Week: 30 October – 3 November 2017
Geek Week participants

During the week 30 October to 3 November 2017, tralac hosted a “Geek Week” at the tralac offices in Stellenbosch. This capacity building exercise, coordinated by Ron Sandrey was designed to be fully interactive as a practical trade data and policy learning experience. Contributions from participants will be published as either a tralac Working Paper or chapters in a forthcoming book, ‘Agriculture Issues in the Continental Free Trade Area’; a collaboration between tralac and the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) in South Africa.

The following studies formed part of this Geek Week:

  • Intra-Africa agricultural trade – an overview paper

In 2016 Africa’s agricultural exports accounted for 13.7% of world exports, intra-Africa agricultural exports were 3% of world exports. South Africa is the dominant agricultural importer and exporter; 34% of intra-Africa agricultural exports are from South Africa, 15% of intra-Africa exports are to South Africa. Excluding South Africa, both as importer and exporter, reveal that 51% of intra-Africa agricultural trade is among the rest of the African economies. This is the focus of the analysis – the intra-Africa agricultural trade flows and patterns for the rest of Africa, excluding South Africa. The analysis uses the ITC TradeMap data, 2012-2016 in US$ million according to the main agricultural products at the HS4 level traded among African economies.

  • Fish trade and related issues in Africa

In 2013, fish accounted for about 17% of the global population’s intake of animal protein, with a global per capita fish consumption estimated at a record 20 kilograms. The continuous improvements in aquaculture farming over the past five decades, have assisted to ensure that the supply of fish for human consumption has kept ahead of population growth. In 2014, fish harvested from aquaculture amounted to 73.8 million tonnes. The world leader in aquaculture farming is China, contributing more than 60% of the world aquaculture production. Egypt has the largest aquaculture industry in Africa with Egyptian fish farms producing over 1.1 million tons of finfish in 2015. The objective for this paper is to examine the profile and performance of the African fisheries sector, including the increasing importance of aquaculture to supply the rising demand for fish as animal protein. An overall harvest profile is provided followed by the trade profile for Africa and a glimpse at some of the main African fisheries sector profiles. Production data is sourced from the World Bank, while the trade data is obtained from the ITC TradeMap.

  • Intermediate goods for clothing

An essential part of industrial policy is to ensure that manufacturers have access to inputs at competitive prices, and one component of this is to ensure that input prices are not artificially raised by tariffs. In this analysis we matched the South Africa Revenue Services (SARS) rebate tariff lines to intermediate imports for the clothing sector. This reveals that tariff are eliminated through the rebates in virtually all cases. There are tariff revenue implications: without rebates, the tariffs would have been US$ 90.56 million, with rebates this reduces to US$12.64 million, or to 14% of the original tariff revenue. After factoring in the intra-SACU imports by South Africa from the remaining trade these revenues drop further to US$ 10.08 million, 11% of the original level. Thus, the desired trade policy objective of reducing costs on inputs to assist the final production sector is virtually realise, but there are tariff revenue reductions.

  • Brexit and agriculture

With Brexit becoming a reality it is timely to examine the implications for African agricultural exports. The study divides African countries into regions and examines agricultural export flows to the EU vis-à-vis exports to the UK to determine the possible implication of Brexit on African agricultural commodities trade. Consideration is given to the Everything but Arms (EBA) arrangement for least developed countries should there be a period of uncertainty post-Brexit.

  • Chicken imports from the US

AGOA governs the import of certain products from eligible African economies into the US. However, this is not a reciprocal agreement, but a unilateral arrangement; African economies are not required to extend market access preferences for US products exported into their markets, but need to meet certain conditions to retain preferential market access into the US.. During a recent out-of-cycle review for South Africa, some concessions were made for US meat imports into the South African market, including a rebate on anti-dumping duties on 65,000 tonnes of chicken meat imports. The analysis focuses on the impact of US chicken exports to South Africa, on producers and consumers, if tariffs are reduced. The analysis evaluates the potential import substitution effect for South African producers and third-party importers and the possible welfare effect for South African consumers if US-SACU trade negotiations lead to a reduction in the SACU Common External tariff from current levels.

  • African sugar production and trade

This paper examines the sugar production and trade policy profiles for African sugar, focussing on the impact of trade liberalisation on intra-African trade. The trade analysis focuses on HS1701, raw and refined sugar. The paper analyses the complexities of sugar trade regimes in southern and eastern Africa and notes some of the challenges to sugar trade. These challenges include, the overlapping membership of the countries in the different regional groupings; the abolishment of the EU sugar production quotas and the restrictive/protective measures to world sugar exports. The examination of African sugar cane production and global sugar trade reveals South Africa as the largest cane producing country in Africa, followed by Egypt (excluding beet sugar), Swaziland, Kenya and Sudan. Furthermore, the data reveals that Mauritius, Malawi and Mozambique are heavily dependent upon the EU market, whilst the major African exporters are not so active in the EU market. When it comes to intra-Africa sugar exports, Swaziland and South Africa are the main exporters to the continent. However, most of Swaziland’s sugar exports are to South Africa.

  • Tariffs facing intra-African trade in agriculture

The exercise examines intra-African trade, focusing specifically on trade within the regional economic communities (RECs). The 2016 trade data, sourced from ITC TradeMap for intra-Africa agricultural trade is grouped by country according to the existing RECs; however, allowances are made for overlapping membership. Import tariffs were sourced from the World Trade Organization (WTO) and ITC MacMap (for those countries not WTO members). To determine whether tariffs on agricultural imports are a pivotal impediment to intra-African agricultural trade the trade flows of the main agricultural commodities (at the HS4 level) for each REC are analysed based on the average import duties these commodities face in the corresponding destination market.

The Geek Week was attended by the following participants:

Western Cape Government: Department of Agriculture
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
University of South Africa
The Botswana Institute for the Development Policy Analysis
Skylar Projects
National Agricultural Marketing Council South Africa
Southern African Custom Union Secretariat
Office of the President, Namibia
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