Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Simon Dawson | Bloomberg

Featured tweet, @WTODGAZEVEDO: Informal WTO ministerial gathering in Marrakesh just finished. Encouraged by the political support and focused discussions as we approach MC11. In Pretoria: DTI calls for resolution on outstanding Doha issues

The 10th Meeting of the CFTA Continental Task Force began yesterday at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa. The meeting, which ends on Friday, will prepare the documentation for the 4th CFTA TWGs as well as consider the outcomes of the CFTA-NF.

The 2016 East Africa Logistics Performance Survey was launched today in Nairobi: tweeted highlights by @Trade_Kenya

Starting tomorrow, in Nairobi: the Pan African Conference on Illicit Financial Flows and Tax 2017. A backgrounder by Leonce Ndikumana: It’s time to acknowledge the impact of capital flight on developing countries

Next week, in Johannesburg: SADC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement - civil society forum (16 October). The EU Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, will meet civil society and business representatives to get their views on the EPA: the forum provides an opportunity to identify crucial issues in the region related to economic development, environmental protection and social development. The discussion will also inform the development of mechanisms for ongoing monitoring of the EPA. [Further details, including registration]

The World Bank, IMF Annual Meetings started today in Washington. A Devex primer: 5 things to watch at the 2017 World Bank Annual Meetings.

Downloads: The World Economic Outlook; IMF annual report (Regional highlights); World Bank annual report; IFC Annual Report 2017: creating markets

Tripartite FTA signatures rise to 21 as Mauritius signs

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Hon. Minister Seetanah Lutchmeenaraidoo, signed the agreement in Eben Cybercity in Mauritius on 9 October 2017. Secretary General of COMESA Sindiso Ngwenya witnessed the signing. The Minister said this was one of the three major free trade agreements that his country has lined up for signature this year in line with its vision of promoting trade and integration. The other two will be between Mauritius and India and with China. The tripartite agreement was launched in June 2015. Currently only Egypt and Uganda have signed and ratified the agreement. A minimum of 14 countries are required to ratify the agreement for it to come into force. After the signing, a two-day national workshop will be conducted by the COMESA Secretariat to raise awareness about the tripartite FTA amongst key stakeholders in Mauritius. [Related: Interview with COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya]

Dar trade spat starves Kenya of close to Sh3b export cash (The Standard)

The latest figures from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics show that Kenya’s exports to Tanzania dropped by 17.8%between January and July to Sh11.9 billion, from Sh14.5 billion in the same period last year. And with the value of exports to Dar es Salaam averaging Sh1.7 billion a month, total exports at the end of the year are likely to hover around Sh20.4 billion, a far cry from the Sh34 billion that Kenya raked in from its exports to the neighbouring country. [Somalia rises to third top buyer of Kenya goods]

Tanzania: Horticulture soon to beat tourism in ‘cash ranking (Daily News)

The horticulture industry is reported to be growing at the rate of 11% annually, the fastest growing sector in the country, currently earning an average $640m. “With such rapid growth, which now beats tourism which grows at just 8%, it goes to show that the horticulture is soon going to be the country’s leading foreign income earner,” points out Mr Geoffrey Simbeye, the Executive Director of the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation. Mr Simbeye was speaking during a special conference convened here on Monday to deliberate critical issues around horticulture transformation in the country. The conference, jointly organised by the Tanzania Horticultural Association and the International Trade Centre, brings together more than 200 participants both local and international stakeholders. It also includes delegates from South Korea, whose country is way ahead in the industry; South Korea, in the course of next week would be displaying advanced farming technology targeting to revolutionise horticulture industry in Tanzania.

Tanzanian Investment minister responds to Dangote (The Citizen)

The Minister for Industries, Trade and Investment, Charles Mwijage, has defended the government against accusations made by Mr Aliko Dangote that President John Magufuli’s policies scare away investors. Mr Mwijage told The Citizen on Monday that the government’s investment policies are clear, transparent and aimed at ensuring that the government also benefits from the country’s resources. In an article published by the Financial Times on Monday Mr Dangote, a major investor in Tanzania, was quoted as saying that the government has pursued policies that seek to “seize a majority share of assets.” ”They have scared quite a lot of investors and scaring investors is not a good thing to do,” Mr Dangote told the Financial Times Africa Summit in London on Monday, according to Financial Times. Dangote, who own a $600m cement factory in Mtwara, specifically mentioned a “backdoor plan” by the government to take up to 16% of an investor assets for free. [Prof Yemi Osinbajo’s address to FT Africa Summit]

ECOWAS Court delivers 249 verdicts in 16 years (Premium Times)

The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice says it has delivered 249 verdicts consisting of judgments and rulings since its inception in 2001. The Chief Registrar of the court, Tony Anene-Maido, said this at the opening ceremony of the court’s legal year in Abuja on Monday. Mr. Anene-Maido said that 318 cases had been filed before the court, while 779 court sessions had been held since it was established. “The court has delivered 249 verdicts consisting of 145 judgments, 104 rulings, 17 revision of judgments and four advisory opinions; a total of 779 court sessions have been held,” he said. The chief registrar also said that 37 cases were heard and six decisions made in the court’s 2016/2017 legal year.

Egypt’s tax revenues up by 31.8% for fiscal year 2016/17 (Ahram)

Total tax revenues for fiscal year 2016/17 increased by 31.8% year-on-year to EGP 464.4 billion, compared to EGP 352.3 billion the year before, finance minister Amr El-Garhy announced at a press conference on Tuesday, according to Al-Ahram Arabic website. The increase in tax collections was mainly driven by the value-added tax, which was set at 13% last fiscal year. Collections exceeded the targeted revenues by 8%, Deputy Minister of Finance Amr El-Monayer was quoted as saying by Egyptian newspaper Al-Mal. Non-tax revenues increased by 30.6% year-on-year to EGP 177.1 billion, compared to EGP 135.6 billion, El-Garhy said. Investments registered EGP 109.1 billion in the last fiscal year, a 57.6% increase compared to EGP 69.2 billion in fiscal year 2015/6. [More foreign debt]

Sectoral analysis of global value chains and developing countries (pdf, OECD)

The paper uses a broad concept of GVCs, described as the use of foreign goods and services (that is foreign value added, FVA) in the production of exports. In the aggregate, GVC integration can allow countries to focus their resources on tasks in which they have a comparative advantage without having to build a whole value chain. This is done through importing intermediates from other countries, to which countries add value and then sell on domestic markets or re-export. Three aspects of economic transformation relating to GVC integration are tested on three sectors presenting different GVC characteristics. The three aspects linking the use of foreign intermediates and integration into international production networks with economic transformation are i) sectoral differences in upgrading dynamics; ii) the role of services; and iii) resilience to external shocks. The three sectors analysed are: mining and quarrying; motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers; transport and storage (T&S) services.

Fourth Conference on Global Value Chains, Trade and Development (12-13 January 2018, Santiago): call for papers

Joint Ministerial Statement on next steps in WTO agricultural reform (pdf, EU, members of the Cairns Group)

The EU and Members of the Cairns Group emphasize the crucial role the rules-based multilateral trading system underpinned by the WTO plays, including for global agricultural trade. Nevertheless, despite major reform in some members, there are significant – and in some cases growing - distortions in agricultural trade and existing rules are not fully sufficient to adequately discipline trade distorting subsidies. The 11th WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires is an opportunity to make progress on addressing this challenge. The EU and Members of the Cairns Group jointly reaffirm a commitment to achieving progress and believe that focusing on a new discipline on the overall level of the most trade distorting domestic support, with due consideration to the development needs of developing members, offers a meaningful and achievable next step in this process. We will continue to work together with all interested Members toward that end. [Food security: India to convey firm stand at Marrakesh meet]

The State of Food and Agriculture 2017: rural areas key to economic growth in developing countries (FAO)

The State of Food and Agriculture makes the case that needed transformations in rural economies can be sparked by leveraging growing demand for food in urban areas to diversify food systems and generate new economic opportunities in off-farm, agriculture -related activities. This includes enterprises that process or refine, package or transport, and store, market or sell food, as well as businesses that supply production inputs such as seeds, tools and equipment, and fertilizers or provide irrigation, tilling or other services. Already, growing demand coming from urban food markets currently consumes up to 70 percent of national food supplies, even in countries with large rural populations, the report notes. [Various downloads available] [World Employment and Social Outlook 2017: sustainable enterprises and jobs]

Corporate taxes must evolve with global trade (Livemint)

Tech giants might be the face of the problem but they are far from the entirety of it. Since the 1990s, trade in services has grown faster as a component of international trade than any other sector, with an average annual growth rate of close to 10%. Contrary to popular perception, this isn’t largely the preserve of advanced economies. As World Bank economist Ejaz Ghani has recently pointed out in this newspaper, technological changes are increasingly enabling services to be growth drivers for emerging economies as well by reducing transaction costs and information asymmetry. India is a prime example of an emerging services-led economy. Little wonder global trade in services has shot up after the global financial crisis, unlike trade in goods. It isn’t just about enterprises that deal primarily in services either. Cross-border data flows, intellectual property and services are all increasingly part of the global value chains (GVCs) of more traditional multinationals.

Today’s Quick Links:

UNCTAD Annual High-level IIA Conference: Phase 2 of IIA Reform

UNCTAD Expert Meeting to discuss international investment policies and sustainable development

Commodities and the SDGs: UNCTAD Expert Meeting to discuss developments, challenges and opportunities in commodity markets

WTO members finish combing through matrix of proposals on fisheries subsidies

Pan African Parliament meets in Johannesburg

Mechanism to assess trade agreements needed: UN forum on access to medicines hears

Chad Brown: Donald Trump now has the excuse he needs to open the floodgates of protectionism

UK government Brexit policy papers: Preparing for our future UK trade policy; Customs Bill: legislating for the UK’s future customs, VAT and excise regimes


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