News

tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Rediff

14 Dec 2017

Featured tweets on MC11 dynamics, outcomes:

@sdonnan: There’s an alternative narrative emerging this morning [Wednesday] at WTO MC11. Just had someone make case to me that we are entering a new era of plurilateralism at the WTO. Most concrete thing happening here is statements by groups of countries on ecommerce, investment and micro SMEs.

@USTradeRep: Congratulations to DG @WTODGAZEVEDO and Minister @SusanaMalcorra on a successful MC11. The new direction of the WTO is set: improving trade through sectoral agreements by like-minded countries.

@MalmstromEU: The @WTO MC11 Ministerial meeting was a lost opportunity. It failed to achieve any multilateral outcome. My statement to delegates:

@WTODGAZEVEDO: The WTO faces challenges, no doubt. But from what I saw here, we have the seed of an organization which can work better. An organization that can be vibrant, flexible and nimble. Let’s continue working to that end:

@Kiptoock: Today, on the sidelines of WTO MC11 meetings in Buernos Aires, I led Kenya team in holding a bilateral trade meeting with South Africa delegation led by Ms Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter (Chief Trade Negotiator). We discussed matters of mutual interest.

ICTSD commentary on the WTO Ministerial outcomes: In landmark move, country coalitions set plans to advance on new issues

“We knew that progress here would require a leap in members’ positions,” WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said at the closing ceremony on Wednesday, which started a few hours behind schedule as members sparred over final items. “Our work will go on after Buenos Aires. We can’t deliver at every ministerial.” He also urged members to remember that multilateralism is not always about “getting what you want,” but the best outcome that all can accept. Pursuing the former, he warned, is “a recipe for failure,” while noting that announcements from various large group coalitions on new issues shows an “outbreak of dynamism in other areas.” Ministers were unable to reach consensus on a ministerial declaration, despite multiple drafts being circulated during the day in an effort to bridge remaining gaps. Sources said areas of disagreement including how and whether to reference the Doha Round and aspects of the 2015 Nairobi ministerial declaration, among others. Instead, ministerial conference chair Susana Malcorra issued a summary of the week’s discussions under her own responsibility.

Global civil society reactions to end of WTO Ministerial Conference

The WTO ministerial conference in Buenos Aires concluded without a formal statement, reflecting the deep divide between poorer countries who have demanded that WTO members deliver on their promises to address outstanding development issues and richer countries that sought to leave those promises behind and move on with negotiations on rules of commercial interest to them. Please find below reactions from members of the 80 civil society representatives from 34 countries in Buenos Aires as part of the Our World Is Not For Sale network delegation. [OWINFS final statement, pdf]

Kenya’s trade in agricultural exports hampered by pesticide residue (KBC)

Speaking in a side event on Trade in Food and Agricultural Products, Pesticide Maximum Residue Limits, Mohamed said Kenya, Uganda and the US will now spearhead efforts in addressing challenges facing farmers in addressing trade relate MRL gaps. She states “we are calling for voluntary actions by individual Members and institutions to increase the capacity and efficiency in setting international standards to address the need for more MRLs set on minor crops.” [Kenya sponsors accession of South Sudan to WTO]

Peter Draper: Trade, inclusiveness, inequality and the WTOa South African perspective on a complex debate (GEGAfrica)

Mauritius-China Free Trade Agreement signature of MoU to launch the negotiations (GoM)

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, to launch the negotiations for the Mauritius – China Free Trade Agreement. The MoU was signed on 12 December during the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires. Mauritius-China comprehensive FTA will cover trade in goods, trade in services, investment and economic cooperation as recommended in the Joint Feasibility Study concluded in May 2017.

Watch the growth of trade country-level data availability in TCdata360 (World Bank Blogs)

In the next few blogs we’ll explore our data gaps to identify any patterns we can find within the context of the TCdata360 platform – which countries and regions throw up surprises, which topics are better covered than others, which datasets and indicators grow more ‘fashionable’ when, and the like. In this first blog, we’ll look at data availability at the country level. TCdata360 classifies its data into four high-level topics: Innovation, Investment, Sectors, and Trade (plus Economy). We’ll be looking at the indicators and datasets under these 4 topics for this whole blog series.

Unified action needed in Central Africa to defuse regional tensions, Security Council told (UN)

Despite some positive developments in Central Africa, the overall situation still required concerted action at all levels to address socio-political tensions, economic difficulties and abuses by armed groups, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative to the region told the Security Council on Wednesday. François Louncény Fall, Head of UNOCA, introducing the Secretary-General’s latest report, said the organization was facilitating the search for a peaceful resolution of regional conflicts. Mr Fall welcomed advancements in regional integration, particularly the free movement of persons achieved by the establishment of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community zone. UNOCA was supporting that schema as well as capacity‑building in mediation, early warning collaboration with civil society and gender mainstreaming for the secretariat of the Economic Community of Central African States.

PIDA Model Law for infrastructure development in Africa endorsed at 2017 PIDA Week

The law is expected to be adopted by African Heads of State at their January Summit, after which the ECA and its partner in this project, NEPAD, will help countries to domesticate the law to fit their needs. Meanwhile, delegates also agreed that Africa should up its game in mobilizing domestic resources to fund the complete implementation of five selected projects and promote the maximal use of local content within the beneficiary countries and regions. The five projects are the Central Corridor (Dar es Salaam to Chalinze Toll Road), Kinshasa-Brazzaville Road and Railway Bridge, Ethiopia-Sudan Power Interconnector, Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya Power Connection and the Batoka Hydropower Plant. In their final communique delegates recommended that for Africa to build on progress made through the implementation of PIDA PAP, there was need for some strategic focus on a number of things. This includes fast tracking the assessment of the PIDA mid-term review and engaging the preparation of the PIDA PAP 2 (2020-2030) with an updated list of the priority projects; promote integrated corridor development using data-driven decision-making models to prioritise projects for commercial viability and promote the setting up of legal frameworks and instruments for corridor management.

Lobito Corridor Trade Facilitation Project (AfDB)

The Project has three components (i) Capacity building for trade facilitation and corridor coordination, (ii) Technical assistance for value chains and economic clusters development and (iii) Project management. It will be implemented over 48 months, starting December, 2017. Needs Assessment (pdf): Despite its strategic importance, development of the Lobito Corridor has progressed haphazardly. There is weak cross-border coordination in the planning and development of physical infrastructure while soft issues have not been tackled in tandem. For instance, construction of the road to the border with Angola is nearing completion on the Zambia side, yet no agreement exists regarding border facilities and procedures. In 2017, Zambia opened a Customs post at Jimbe border and has earmarked it for upgrading to a OSBP but no similar arrangements are in place on the Angola side. While business activities are booming along the Corridor in the mining, agricultural and retail sectors (e.g. Shoprite, SPAR, Hypermarket, Choppies in Zambia, and Shoprite and Kero in Angola), local SMEs have failed to tap into the opportunities due to capacity constraints including lack of business skills, inability to comply with product standards, and lack of access to information on market opportunities. Therefore, there is a need to promote participation of local SMEs, which are left outside the loop, to participate in value chains and economic clusters and profitable trade along the Corridor. [Feasibility study on the extension of the Cameroon-Chad Railway Line: appraisal report]

Mauritius: Addressing inequality through more equitable labor markets (World Bank)

The report is structured as follows. Chapter one sets the stage by presenting stylized facts on the trends in household income inequality between 2001 and 2015, comparing these trends with trends in consumption inequality, and identifying the main culprit behind the rapidly rising inequality in household incomes, that is, household labor income. Chapter two supplies a set of descriptive trends of the two groups of factors, namely, household demographics and labor market forces, that contribute to changes in household labor income and follows up with a decomposition exercise on changes in household labor income between 2001 and 2015.Because the analysis indicates that an unequal increase in female labor force participation and rising inequality in individual earnings are among the main contributors to the expanding inequality in household labor income, Chapter three takes a deep dive into the issue of gender inequality in the labor market. Chapter four resumes the main analysis of the drivers of increasing inequality in individual earnings.

World Inequality Report 2018: executive summary (pdf, World Inequality Lab)

The World Inequality Report 2018 relies on a cutting-edge methodology to measure income and wealth inequality in a systematic and transparent manner. By developing this report, the World Inequality Lab seeks to fill a democratic gap and to equip various actors of society with the necessary facts to engage in informed public debates on inequality. In recent decades, income inequality has increased in nearly all countries, but at different speeds, suggesting that institutions and policies matter in shaping inequality. Since 1980, income inequality has increased rapidly in North America, China, India, and Russia. Inequality has grown moderately in Europe (Figure E2a). From a broad historical perspective, this increase in inequality marks the end of a postwar egalitaria regime which took different forms in these regions. There are exceptions to the general pattern. In the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, and Brazil, income inequality has remained relatively stable, at extremely high levels (Figure E2b). Having never gone through the postwar egalitarian regime, these regions set the world “inequality frontier.” [Thomas Piketty says the US is setting a bad example on inequality for the world]

37% of the Indian workforce will be in new job roles by 2022: report (LiveMint)

By 2022, 37% of the Indian workforce would be employed in new job roles, according to the Future of Jobs report commissioned jointly by Ficci-Nasscom with EY. The report provides insights into the future of jobs and vision of change for the job market in India by 2022. According to the report, exponential technologies in advanced markets are expected to improve productivity by 15-20% in the next five years, while 60-65% of the Indian workforce in the IT-BPM sector would be deployed in jobs that have radically changed skill sets, followed by 55-60% in BFSI and 50-55% in the automotive sector.

One Planet Summit: joint IDFC-MDB statement (AfDB)

Extracts: Redirect financial flows in support of transitions towards low-carbon and climate resilient sustainable development. Building on what is already being done, this will increase the overall amount or share of finance that goes towards climate action. Support the development of enabling policy and regulatory environments, at both national and sub-national levels, in conjunction with the private sector and civil society, while remaining focused on the most vulnerable populations. IDFC members and MDBs will continue to deepen this work and increase country-level coordination between institutions.

Today’s Quick Links:

Madagascar: AfDB’s 2017-2021 Country Strategy Paper

CAR: AfDB’s 2017-2021 Country Strategy Paper

Angola’s Lourenço offers ultimatum for repatriation of funds

World Bank: Improving access to finance for SMEs in Tanzania - learning from Malaysia’s experience

Seychelles: IMF approves three-year policy coordination instrument