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tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Reuters | Charles Placide Tossou

12 Oct 2017

CFTA negotiations: chief negotiators conclude 7th round of negotiations (AU)

The negotiators (2-7 October) made substantial progress towards the conclusion of CFTA negotiations and agreed on the following: (i) to adhere to the deadline of December 2017 to complete the draft legal text establishing the Continental Trade Area as directed by the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government; (ii) the title of the legal text, to be called “Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area”; (iii) the Protocol on Trade in Services, the Protocol of Trade in Goods and the Protocol on Dispute Settlement Mechanism to be integral part of the CFTA Agreement. The Chief Negotiators provided guidance to the Technical Working Groups and instructed them to proceed with their respective work and report to the 8th Meeting of the CFTA Negotiating Forum.

During the meeting scheduled for 6 November 2017 to 1 December 2017, chief negotiators and experts are expected to prioritize the finalization of the CFTA Texts. The CFTA-NF will consider pending issues in the Agreement Establishing the African CFTA during their next meeting scheduled to take place (20-24 November) following a dedicated session on trade in goods. Any unresolved issues will be referred to the Committee of Senior Trade Officials and then to the AU Ministers of Trade. The entire legal text will be considered by the AU Ministers of Trade at the end of November 2017, prior to its consideration by the Specialized Technical Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs in December 2017. The draft CFTA Agreement will be on one of the agenda items of the January 2018 Summit to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

A single African air transport market: meeting of experts (AU)

The Single African Air Transport Market is to be launched during the January 2018 Summit. In preparation for the launch, the Experts of the Ministerial Working Group assisted by AUC, AFCAC, UNECA and RECs, need to meet, discuss and report on the implementation of the immediate measures recommended for starting the marketing and prepare recommendations for the Ministerial Working Group Meeting tentatively scheduled in 26th November 2017 as a side event at the AU-EU Summit. The main objective of the expert meeting (16-18 October) is to assess the reports from each state on the implementation of the immediate measures and to determine activities for the launching of the Single African Air Transport Market in January 2018. The Monitoring Body of the Yamoussoukro Decision will also be convened to deliberate on draft guidelines for the negotiations of air services agreement with third countries. Benefit of full air transport liberalisation (pdf):

To raise awareness on the benefits of air transport liberalisation, AFCAC and IATA in 2015 commissioned a study on benefits of full air transport liberalisation between 12 African countries (Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia and Uganda). The study indicated that complete air connectivity across these 12 countries would add $1.3bn to GDP, create over 155,000 new jobs and consumer will benefit from a 75% increase in direct services, fare savings of 25-35% worth $500m, greater convenience, time savings and approximately 5 million passengers who cannot currently afford air travel would be able to do so as increased competition among airlines would result in reduced fares. A similar cost-benefit study among the five EAC countries (Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Kenya) provide compelling evidence that complete liberalisation of air transport among the EAC Member States could result in an addition 46,320 jobs, $202.1m per annum gain in GDP, traffic increase by 46%, fares reduction by 9% on average and increase in frequency by 41% on average. [Download: Concept note, pdf]

For dignity and development, East Africa curbs used clothes imports (New York Times)

Kenya, for example, had half a million workers in the garment industry a few decades ago. That number has shrunk to 20,000 today, and production is geared toward exporting clothes often too expensive for the local market. In Ghana, jobs in textiles plunged by 80 percent between 1975 and 2000. Many people in Zambia, which produced clothes locally 30 years ago, can now only afford to buy imported second hand clothes. Although many support government efforts to build national textile industries, they say that the ban on used clothing should be done incrementally. In Rwanda, where the per capita gross domestic product is $700, many people oppose the ban, saying it has thrown thousands out of jobs distributing and selling second hand clothes and has hurt the nation’s youth in particular. Since Rwandan import tariffs on used garments have been raised 12 times, clothes sellers in Kigali have watched their revenues plummet. The government decision was premature, they said, put in place before the country was able to produce clothes that are affordable. And though the ban excludes imports of second hand clothing, it hasn’t stopped the influx of more expensive new clothing from China.

Nigeria, major world economies consolidate progress on trade and investment facilitation (APO)

Nigeria, Brazil, China, the EU and a host of other leading economic powers made tremendous progress on the Investment Facilitation Initiative for Development, during the WTO mini-ministerial meeting in Marrakesh. In a breakthrough for Nigeria, the group of WTO Friends of Investment Facilitation for Development pledged support for the success of the High-Level Investment Forum to take place in Abuja on 3-4 November, co-hosted by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the ECOWAS Commission, in partnership with IFID. The WTO Investment Coalition is made of Nigeria, Argentina, China, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland, Canada and the EU. A draft declaration is being negotiated for finalization at the WTO in Geneva, Switzerland, as part of the deliverables for the Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ministerial Conference in December. The objectives of the Investment Coalition are to:

Members review implementation of preferential rules of origin for LDCs (WTO)

WTO members reviewed efforts to implement the Nairobi Decision on preferential rules of origin for least developed countries at a meeting of the Committee on Rules of Origin on 4 October. The Decision aims to facilitate export of LDC goods to both developed and developing countries under unilateral preferential trade arrangements in favour of LDCs. The WTO secretariat presented members an updated note reporting the rates of utilization of LDC preferences. Several members informed the committee of recent developments regarding their preferential rules of origin requirements. [India opposes inclusion of new issues under WTO negotiations]

Strengthening collaboration to support world’s 32 landlocked developing countries (IRU)

The UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) and IRU renewed their working relationship today with the signing of a memorandum of understanding to draw on their respective strengths in jointly supporting landlocked developing countries to implement the Vienna Programme of Action. Through the MoU, the two entities will advocate for key issues related to transport. These include: improving border crossings, developing regional transport corridors, private sector partnerships and trade facilitation for the world’s 32 LLDCs and their transit partners.

Zimbabwe, Zambia plan one-stop border post in Victoria Falls (News Ghana)

Neighboring countries Zimbabwe and Zambia are close to finalizing a bilateral agreement to set up a OSBP in the resort town of Victoria Falls, a senior Zimbabwe government official said Monday. The one-stop border post was temporarily operational in 2013 during the United Nations World Tourism Organization General Assembly, co-hosted by the two countries. “The Border Efficiency and Management Systems technical committee has to date initiated engagement with Zambia toward the establishment of an OSBP at Victoria Falls border and the proposed bilateral agreement and procedures manual are being finalized,” the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Abigail Shonhiwa said.

Zimbabwe: ‘Declare entire Bulawayo an SEZ’ (The Herald)

Industry and commerce executives in Bulawayo have called on the Government to declare the entire city an industrial Special Economic Zone as opposed to adopting a sectoral approach. Contributing during a pre-budget dialogue symposium organised by The Chronicle yesterday, participants said the focus on leather and textile SEZ was narrow arguing that such a move would not yield the desired revival of Bulawayo industries. They pointed out that the city had a wider spectrum of industry operations across different sectors, which should benefit from the model through a value chain system. CZI Matabeleland Chapter president Mr Joseph Gunda said while business was pleased that Bulawayo has been declared under the SEZ, they wanted an inclusive model.

Mozambique’s first inland port starts operating in 2018 (Macauhub)

Mozambique’s first inland port is due to come on stream in 2018, with a land-based intermodal terminal directly linked to two national highways and the Beira/Machipanda railway line in the provinces of Sofala and Manica respectively, according to Mozambican daily newspaper Noticias. The inland port will be installed at Inchope, where the two roads linking the southern, central and northern areas of the country meet, according to the head of that administrative post.

Kenya says high costs impede trade, foreign investment (Xinhua)

High trade facilitation costs and poor logistics services are hampering foreign direct investment and growth in the east African region, a senior Kenyan official said on Tuesday. Principal Secretary for Trade Chris Kiptoo said smooth logistics not only reduces the cost of imports but is vital to producers to be able to participate in global production circles and eventually move into new business. The 2017 Logistics Performance Survey report, released by the Shippers Council of East Africa, said the climate of conducting business has improved in the region, thanks to right policy choices, the rise in intra-regional trade, and an enabled private sector. The report noted a 40% decrease in truck turnaround time between 2014 and 2016 between Mombasa and Nairobi, to 26.4 hours; Mombasa to Kampala, 10.7 days; and Mombasa to Kigali, 12.5 days. Langat said the improvement in port dwell time, from about 68 hours in January 2015 to eight hours in December of 2016 at the port of Mombasa can be attributed to the introduction of fixed berthing and expansion of the harbor. [EA transporters secure cargo with e-tracking]

Tanzania: All is well with our ports, assures minister Tizeba (IPPMedia)

Bringing down the curtain on the two day two-day International Horticulture Stakeholders Conference jointly organised by the Tanzania Horticultural Association and the ITC in Arusha, Dr Tizeba assured players in the horticulture industry that all was well with the two exit points in exporting their harvests. Fresh from taking oath of office, the minister admitted that there were concerns at the two ports, which threatened to scare away investors of the otherwise lucrative sector. “It is true that we had some serious concerns but let me assure you that we have rectified them. The process of exporting cargo now takes less time compared to how the situation was before,” noted the minister. Earlier on, TAHAFresh general manager Amani Temu told the minister that those engaged in the horticulture business were now opting for the Mombasa port in the neighboring country of Kenya, to avoid the inconveniences and the bureaucracies they experienced at the Dar port.

Global Hunger Index 2017 (IFPRI)

The regions of the world struggling most with hunger are South Asia and Africa south of the Sahara, with scores in the serious range (30.9 and 29.4, respectively). The scores of East and Southeast Asia, the Near East and North Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States range from low to moderate (between 7.8 and 12.8). These averages conceal some troubling results within each region. Eight countries suffer from extremely alarming or alarming levels of hunger. Except for Yemen, all are in Africa south of the Sahara: Central African Republic, Chad, Liberia, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, Sudan, and Zambia. Many of these countries have experienced political crises or violent conflicts in the past several decades. [Report summary]

Today’s Quick Links

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ICTSD: UK, EU propose cooperative approach to WTO commitments

Presentations and proceedings of UN/CEFACT Conference on Blockchain are posted

ECA chief foresees improved grain trade through Africa FTA

Land Governance Assessment Framework reports: Rwanda, Zambia, Kenya

Africa’s Gender and Development Report nears completion

IFC: New technology puts India’s truckers back in the driver’s seat

UN chief proposes $5.4bn budget for 2018-2019

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This post has been sourced on behalf of tralac and disseminated to enhance trade policy knowledge and debate. It is distributed to recipients across Africa and internationally, serving in the AU, RECs, national government trade departments and research and development agencies.

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