tralac’s Daily News Selection
tralac’s Annual Conference 2017 will take place 6-7 April, in Cape Town. The conference theme: International Trade Governance – quo vadis?
Inaugural African Economic Platform (20-22 March, Mauritius): update
The AU, through its foundation The African Union Foundation, will for the first time host a multi-stakeholder forum that will bring together African Heads of State and Government, private sector business leaders and academia at the inaugural African Economic Platform. Issues such as the removal of barriers that hamper communication and the flow of goods, people and services across the continent will be feature greatly in the discussions as well as identifying opportunities for articulating common African positions on global affairs thereby increasing global awareness of Africa’s emerging role in world affairs.
The UNECA is set to launch the second generation of its ECA Country Profiles for Nigeria and 20 other African countries. The profiles will be launched on 25 March on the margins of the African Development Week. The Country Profiles also include the African Regional Integration Index, co-designed by ECA, AfDB and the AUC. It is based on the five pillars of regional integration which are trade integration, regional infrastructure, productive integration, free movement of people and financial and macroeconomic integration.
ISS commentary: The new funding model tests the commitment of AU member states
tralac’s Mélanie Mugrefya: Morocco extends a hand across Sahara to fulfil its regional integration dreams
EAC Gender Equality and Development Bill 2016: report on public hearings in member states (pdf, EALA)
The Public Hearings were undertaken with the aim of considering the laws and policies in the Partner States as well as receiving submissions on the Bill from all relevant stakeholders from EALA Members, Partner States, Civil Society Organisations on gender and all stakeholders to input provisional amendments to be considered by the Committee. In effect, the Bill formed a basis for discussion and debate on gender. The Committee makes the following observations: [ECOWAS gender ministers confer on women’s economic empowerment]
Botswana: African expansion costs halve Choppies profit (Mmegi)
The retail giant posted a 47% drop in Profit After Tax (PAT) to P55 million in the six months ended December 2016. On the other hand, the group’s total expenditure increased by 28.5% to P847.7m in the six months ended December 2016 from P606.2m in the same period the previous year. Choppies spent P168m in funding expansion in the period under review. Despite the lower profits, Choppies is planning to spend P570 million to expand its footprint across Southern and Eastern Africa between now and June 2018 as the company presses ahead with its growth strategy. Choppies chief executive officer, Ramachandran Ottapathu told Mmegi Business that he was not worried by the profit drop as the group’s primary target was expanding presence in the seven countries it currently operates in. [Botswana’s Afinitas looks to expand African footprint]
Botswana: Rebuild Selebi-Phikwe into logistics hub (Mmegi)
A Business Botswana task team instituted last year to look into the closure of the BCL and Tati Nickel Mining Company has recommended setting up Selebi-Phikwe as an engineering, transport and manufacturing hub. The six-member team indicated that infrastructure is already in place in the town for undertaking major engineering projects, adding that the companies have already invested in the necessary plant and equipment. “There is an elaborate railway network that could be used to ferry heavy materials from these factories to projects all over the country including the power generation expansions in Palapye,” BB chief executive officer, Racious Moatshe said. [Botswana: One in five mining jobs disappear]
South Africa: ITAC presentation to NEDLAC on poultry, steel issues (pdf, AgBiz)
This week the NEDLAC Trade and Industry Chamber received a presentation from the International Trade and Administration Commission, following recent challenges in the steel and poultry industries. The discussion focused primarily on a speeded-up process as the target period of 6 months leaves too much room for serious industry injury and job losses in the case of sudden large scale dumping. A further issue raised was unacceptable delays between a recommendation made by the Minister of Trade and Industry to the Minister of Finance, and the final published notice in the Government Gazette.
Tanzania: Agro-industrial development policies - what nexus to climate, food security, and trade? (pdf, ESRF)
Six items of inquiry were investigated in this study. Firstly, how agro-industrial policy at the regional and national level addresses climate change, food security, and trade were investigated. Secondly, the missing links and prospective policies that should be put in place to mainstream climate change, food security, and trade linkages through agro-processing were identified. Thirdly, it identifies and understands the role of gender in climate change, food security, and trade linkages in agro-industrialisation. The study also identifies the challenges of mainstreaming climate change, food security, and trade linkages into policy to support the agro-processing industry. Moreover, the study aims to identify and understand the challenges and opportunities of the agro-industrial sub-sector in the East African Community (EAC) region; and to investigate how national plans are aligned with the EAC regional policies and strategies of agro-processing. [The analysts: Oswald Mashindano, Solomon Baregu]
Tanzania High Commission in Zambia, Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, Tanzania Truck Owners Association and Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry have organized a forum aimed at strengthening bilateral trade relations and investment opportunities. The private sector driven forum, to be held in Lusaka at the end of this month, is aimed at reviving and nurturing trade initiatives whose ultimate goal is to improve the two countries’ business environment. “The forum will put together different sectors and industries from both countries in transport and logistics, energy and mines, service industry as well as agribusiness,” said the statement.
Rwanda-China Investment Forum in Beijing: update (New Times)
President Paul Kagame is on Friday expected to hold bilateral talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping as part of his two-day official visit to China. Beyond the meetings of the two Heads of State, members of the private sector on Wednesday had interactions at the Rwanda-China Investment Forum held at the Rwandan Embassy in Beijing. The investment forum attended by about 50 companies was aimed at showcasing opportunities for Chinese investors in the country.
Zimbabwe: $15m cross-border facility begins (The Herald)
The $15m foreign currency facility for cross-border traders arranged by the Cross-Border Traders Association meant to ensure easy access to forex and improve the ease of doing business will be rolled out today. Cross-border traders can, starting today approach the association’s partners Agribank to open bank accounts, and then get assessed by the Cross-Borders Traders Association before being recommended to access the funds at Homelink, a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The facility was officially unveiled in Chitungwiza yesterday.
Customs reform and trade facilitation in the Horn of Africa: Somaliland under the microscope (WCO)
Somaliland faces a number of challenges related to Customs and trade facilitation. First and foremost, though the Somaliland Constitution requires a legal basis for the collection of duties and taxes, the intermingling of international norms which are not always well understood, and the cultural tendency to negotiate and consult on everything, leads to unpredictability in the international trading environment. [The analyst: Creck Buyonge Mirito]
“This partnership is a win-win situation,” because TEDA knows best how to promote the zone among Chinese investors while Egypt’s trade agreements with African states make it easy for Chinese products to enter African markets without trade barriers or customs, he said. ”We’re opening for Chinese investors 26 African countries due to our trade agreements. When they have the ‘Made in Egypt’ label on their products, they go through zero trade barriers and zero customs,” Darwish said, highlighting the zone’s distinguished location that is only one hour away from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, two hours from Djibouti, and two hours and a half from Mombasa, Kenya, by air.
President Kagame today chaired the Broadband Commission Meeting in Hong Kong, hosted by Huawei Technologies. Themed ‘Broadband for Sustainable Development’, the meeting discussed possible intermediate 2020 targets for the broadband commission, keeping in mind that 2030 was considered a long way into the future, considering the pace of technological change.
Renegotiating NAFTA: options for investment protection (Brookings)
At this point it is unclear which aspects of NAFTA Trump would like to change, or what requests, if any, Canada and Mexico may bring to the negotiations. Yet there are reasons why all three treaty partners may want to revisit the investor protections included in Chapter 11. This brief sketches four broad options for the future of investment protection in NAFTA: [The analyst: Geoffrey Gertz]
Brexit: Options for a future regulatory framework for trade in services and customs and trade procedures between the EU, UK (pdf, National Board of Trade, Sweden)
In September 2016, the Swedish Government commissioned the National Board of Trade to analyse and provide alternatives for how trade in services between the EU and the UK can be regulated after a UK withdrawal from the EU and its single market. The assignment also includes analysing and providing alternatives for how customs and trade procedures for the trade in goods between the EU and the UK can be designed after a UK withdrawal from the EU. The assignment is thus limited and the investigation highlights only some of the issues that the UK’s withdrawal raises in relation to trade between the EU single market and the UK.
Towards a handbook on linking trade and business statistics: updated version (pdf, OECD)
Many OECD countries are currently developing linked Trade and Business micro datasets from which new, policy relevant statistics on economic globalization are derived. Linking trade and business statistics involves important methodological challenges, such as managing different microdata linking procedures, mitigating incomplete source data, grossing up, as well as dealing with large and complex businesses, and confidentiality issues in data dissemination. To help overcome these, the OECD is currently developing a Handbook on Linking Trade and Business Statistics that aims to address these challenges and to bring together a wide variety of country practices on data linking. This document presents an update on the progress made so far, and includes a detailed annotated table of contents.
Today’s Quick Links:
UNSC briefed by President of the Central African Republic: minutes
Michael Toman, Govinda Timilsina: The potential gain from regional electricity trade in South Asia
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