tralac’s Daily News Selection
Applications close on 6 March for tralac’s online course ‘Trade in the 21st Century: legal and policy considerations for Africa’.
Profiled appointment: Paul Noumba Um is the World Bank’s new country director for seven southern African countries, based in Pretoria. He replaces Guangzhe Chen who was appointed as senior director for the water global practice within sustainable development vice-presidency at the World Bank Group in October 2016. A dual Cameroonian and French national, Um holds a PhD in Economics from Rennes University, and Master’s Degrees in Engineering and Economics from France, and a BA in Engineering from the Cameroonian National Post and Telecom School.
Tweets from the ACMA launch: @heiniesuo: #ACMA meeting continues today with presentations from #corridors. Transportation cost is 45% of food cost in Dar es Salaam. #SAGCOT; @snkaringi: #Africa Corridor Management Institutions bringing it all together. @ECA_OFFICIAL advancing #Africa #integration, #development.
Botswana: Investment Policy Review implementation report (pdf, UNCTAD)
Summary of main findings: Significant progress in implementing the recommendations of the IPR of 2003 was recorded, in particular in the following areas: (i) FDI entry, (ii) Investment promotion agency, (iii) Competition, (iv) Tax regime. In other areas, significant reforms are underway or but are incomplete or their implementation is lagging. In several cases, the recommendations proposed in the IPR of 2003 remain relevant and, in some cases, have become more urgent. Among them are the following: (i) Company licensing and permits, (ii) Access to land, (iii) Human resources development, (iv) Entrepreneurship development, (v) Fostering business linkages, (vi) Privatisation. The following section provides more details on the implementation status of each IPR recommendation. [Related: Rapport de suivi sur la mise en oeuvre de l’examen de la politique d’investissement du Benin (pdf)]
The expansion of regional supermarket chains: implications on suppliers in Botswana, South Africa (UNU-WIDER)
This paper explores the effect of the spread of supermarkets on the participation of suppliers in supermarket value chains in Botswana and South Africa. Using secondary data and in-depth interviews with key players in the value chain, the paper evaluates the buyer power of supermarkets evidenced in the negotiation of trading terms. It further assesses the capabilities and investments required by suppliers to access shelf space and remain competitive. Finally, the paper looks at the role of supermarkets and governments in developing local supplier capabilities and the importance of harmonizing policies across borders. [The analysts: Reena das Nair, Shingie Chisoro]
South Africa: International Cooperation, Trade and Security Cluster media briefing (GCIS)
South Africa’s exports of agricultural, forestry and fishery products increased by 18% last year, making the country a net exporter. The level of investment in agriculture increased by 9.6% in 2016. We are also focusing on increasing market access for smallholders through the implementation of the South African Good Agricultural Practice and intra-African trade. Furthermore, trade with our traditional partners in the west remains a significant contributor to our economy. The Economic Partnership agreement with the EU came into force in September 2016, thus providing new market access opportunities for South African products. Almost all SA products (about 99%) will have preferential market access in the EU, compared to about 95% under the Trade Development Cooperation Agreement (TDCA). About 96% of the products will enter the EU market without being subjected to customs duties or quantitative restrictions. The other 3% will still have access, albeit partial, that is similar or improved compared to the TDCA. SACU as a group has granted EU lower market access of 86%, in line with the developmental nature of the agreement. [South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry: trade conditions survey]
Lesotho: Water Evaluation and Planning Manual (World Bank)
The analysis quantifies a range of possible future conditions to demonstrate the benefits that can be realized over a broad range of possible future outcomes. The analysis concludes the following: (i) Climate change has important determinants for the future, long-term sustainable macroeconomic development of Lesotho, (ii) Domestic and industrial water security is highly vulnerable under historical and current climate conditions, as well as under the full range of climate future scenarios, (iii) Agriculture production will remain vulnerable to inter-annual variability over the coming decades, particularly with continued reliance on rain fed agriculture; and (iv) The Lesotho Highlands Water Project will continue to reliably meet transfers to South Africa over the coming decades unless climate conditions are about 5% drier or more than the historical record.
Zambia: Agribusiness and Trade Project (World Bank)
The development objective of the Agribusiness and Trade Project for Zambia is to contribute to increased market linkages and firm growth in agribusiness. There are three components to the project, the first component being market linkages in agribusiness. This component aims to develop market linkages in agribusiness, focusing on two sets of beneficiaries: ‘emerging and poor farmers and growth-oriented agribusiness SMEs. The second component is the strengthening the regulatory and institutional framework for agribusiness and trade. The third component is the project management and monitoring and evaluation. [Downloads: project documentation]
Namibia Trade Forum Media Brief: Provisional payment of 13.9% duty implemented as a safeguard measure on imported frozen bone-in chicken from the EU
EAC team to review taxes on key goods (The EastAfrican)
The East African Community has formed a 25-member taskforce to revise the region’s Common External Tariff and fine-tune the existing rules of origin to boost intra-regional trade and attract new investments to the bloc. The taskforce comprises four experts on tariffs, fiscal policy, trade and statistics from each of the five member countries – Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi – plus one representative from the private sector, notably associations of manufacturers or chambers of commerce from each of the member states. The timelines for the completion of the exercise have also been revised from July to September 2017. The EAC Council of Ministers agreed that the 12-year-old CET has failed to live up to the expectations of the changing business environment with some member states and manufacturers blaming the three-band tariff structure for loss of revenue and a drop in intra-regional trade.
“The country’s growth and development projections could remain as distant dreams if the government fails to step up bold and ambitious measures to improve efficiency and general performance of the Dar port,” noted Andrew Huang, a business expert and the Superintendent of Tanzania China Mining Association. He called on the government to put up strategic and focused steps to overhaul systems at the port, widely viewed as a potential pillar of the country’s trade and business development. “As a country, we need to open up the gates at the Dar es Salaam port, restructure and install business-friendly cargo handling procedures and systems, if we really want to benefit from the facility,” said Huang, who also doubles as coordinator of the Chinese business community in Tanzania.
SGR: First batch of cargo wagons land in Kenya (Daily Nation)
The COMESA Court of Justice will revise its current Arbitration Rules to promote Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms and ensure it keeps pace with the best international practices. Judge President of the Court Justice Lombe Chibesakunda says the current rules were out of date as they were formulated in 2003 when the court had only one division. Currently the Court has two divisions; the Court of First Instance and the Appellate. She was speaking during a three day training workshop on “Arbitration as an Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism” in Khartoum. The workshop was targeted at the entire Bench of the Court that comprise of 12 Judges. It was facilitated by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Kenya Chapter) with the objective of exploring the role that the COMESA Court can play in enhancing access to justice through arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms.
Bernard Hoekman: ‘Trade in services: opening markets to create opportunities’ (UNU-WIDER)
This paper reviews the role of services in development and growth, the potential role of trade in services as a driver of the productivity performance of sectors that use services as inputs, and the links between services policies and domestic trade costs. Barriers to trade in services have direct as well as indirect effects on cross-border trade and investment, but research suggests that the extent to which countries will benefit from open services regimes and regional integration of services markets depends on complementary efforts to improve economic governance and regulatory regimes.
India: Commerce Department special arm may drive foreign trade policy (The Hindu)
India’s future trade (policy) model should have the Commerce Department at the helm, supported by ministries including External Affairs and Finance, while a ‘transformed’ Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) should be the apex body for all trade promotion activities for the country, according to a government-commissioned report. India’s foreign trade strategy and policy is currently being piloted predominantly by the Prime Minister’s Office and External Affairs Ministry. The report — prepared by the global consultancy firm Frost & Sullivan and submitted on 23 December 2016, to the commerce & industry ministry — also makes a strong case for a higher profile for the Indian Trade Service (ITS) in matters of trade policies & systems. At present, the officials belonging to the Indian Administrative Service, Foreign Service and Revenue Service evidently have a relatively superior role over ITS cadre regarding decisions on crucial trade policy matters.
Today’s Quick Links:
Assessing the fragility of global trade: the impact of localized supply shocks using network analysis (IMF)
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