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tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: John Seaton Callahan

30 Jan 2018

Bilateral talks between Kenya and Tanzania to resolve existing non tariff barriers and enhance trade entered their 3rd day today. The Kenyan delegation is led by Dr Kiptoo while Prof Ole Gabriel leads Tanzania’s delegation.

Featured tweet, @CelestinMonga: 73% of the African Union’s budget funded from outside the continent. About 30 its 55 Members default either partially or completely on average, annually. Talking about independence, credibility and dignity? Lot of work ahead for all of us.

30th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly concludes: summary of decisions (AU)

On the African Continental Free Trade Area, the Assembly decides to hold an Extraordinary Summit on 21 March 2018, preceded by an Extraordinary Session of the Executive Council on 19 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda, to consider the CFTA Legal instruments and sign the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area and requested the AU Commission to convene an Extraordinary session of the STC on Justice and Legal Affairs to consider the said instruments prior to the Summit. The Assembly also adopted a protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community relating to Free Movement of Persons, Rights of Residence and Right of Establishment and its Draft Implementation Roadmap. [Egypt will chair the African Union’s 2019 Summit]

AU launches Africa Agriculture Transformation Scorecard: revolutionary new tool to drive agricultural productivity and development (AU)

The AATS, the first of its kind in Africa, captures the continent’s agricultural progress based on a pan-African data collection exercise led by the AUC’s Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture, NEPAD Agency and RECs, in collaboration with technical and development partners. Countries were assessed on the seven commitments in the Malabo declaration, across 43 indicators. The report reveals that only 20 of the 47 Member States that reported are on track towards achieving the commitments set out in the Malabo Declaration. Rwanda leads the top 10 best performers with a score of 6.1, followed by Mali (5.6), Morocco (5.5), Ethiopia (5.3), Togo (4.9), Malawi (4.9), Kenya (4.8), Mauritania (4.8), Burundi (4.7), and Uganda (4.5). The report sets the 2017 benchmark at 3.94 out of 10 as the minimum score for a country to be considered on track towards achieving the Malabo commitments by 2025. Regionally, East Africa performed best with a score of 4.2, followed by Southern Africa with a score of 4.02.

African Globalizers Report 2017: African firms taking the world stage (Konfidants)

This report is the first in a series of studies designed to understand the global journeys and global potential of African firms. How can Africa produce its own global giants? And why are they important to Africa’s global emergence? This maiden report focuses on 30 companies with $118.6bn in combined revenue. It provides a first-hand big picture view – a snapshot – of the geographical reach of African firms in global markets. While future reports will delve into other metrices like the foreign assets, employment and sales of African Globalizers, this maiden edition (pdf) is deliberately focused on geographical reach – first as a conversation starter, and second as a baseline mapping exercise to enrich the conversation. The report focuses on four main questions: Who are the African Globalizers? Which global regions are they expanding into? What are the prospects of these firms growing into Africa’s global giants? What should be done to create a more a diverse group of globalizers from all parts of the continent?

Namibia has harmful tax system – EU (The Namibian)

According to the Outcome of Proceedings for the Council of the European Union dated 5 December 2017, Namibia is not a member of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes. Additionally, the outcome of proceedings says Namibia has not signed and ratified the OECD multilateral convention on mutual administrative assistance, as amended, and also did not implement the basic tax erosion and profit shiftings (Beps) minimum standards. The EU said Namibia did not commit to addressing the above issues by 31 December 2019, neither did it commit to amending or abolishing the harmful preferential tax regimes by 31 December 2018. Finance minister Calle Schlettwein yesterday confirmed the reasons for the blacklisting, but defended the notion that the country has a harmful preferential tax system.

Ghana-EU hold inception meeting on interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EU)

The first meeting of the EPA Committee under the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement between Ghana and the EU was held in Accra, Ghana on 24 January 2018. Extract from communique (pdf): The Parties agreed to set up an appropriate mechanism of monitoring of the implementation of the iEPA. The Parties agreed to start negotiating the procedures relating to a reciprocal Protocol on Rules of Origin of the Ghana-EU iEPA. The EPA Committee provisionally endorsed the transposition of the tariff nomenclature in HS 2017. The parties agreed to start reviewing the liberalization schedule. The Parties agreed to continue to exchange papers with the proposal of each Party on these matters with the view of finding an agreement on those issues during a technical meeting which would take place in July 2018 in Brussels.

Group trains 10,000 small trade women from EAC on cross-border laws (Business Daily)

More than 10,000 small-scale women traders engaged in cross-border business in the EAC have been trained on laws governing trade among the member countries. The women drawn from Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda Ethiopia and Eritrea have been trained on various areas including taxation laws and common market protocol. Eastern African Sub Regional Support Initiative For Advancement of Women (EASSI) project coordinator, Ms Ruth Warutere, said the women were also being sensitised on using official border posts while crossing the border. She said the organisation also helps the women traders get a certificate of origin, which exempts them from paying taxes of goods worth 2000 dollars. The organisation’s project officer, Manisurah Aheebwa, urged the East African member states to harmonise laws which don’t favour women in cross-border business. Ms Aheebwa said the traders from individual member states were facing complicated laws when doing business in neighbouring country due to absence of common market laws. [‘Mitumba’ traders linked to rising HIV spread]

@achiengca: Congratulations @KenTrade in partnership with the World Bank group will roll out free internet connectivity along key border posts. This is in an effort to drive the country’s regional and global competitiveness. Malaba, Busia, Namanga, Isibania, Taveta, (JKIA) and Kilindini.

Kenya to boost trade with Djibouti (HIVISASA)

“We want to explore an agreement, to work closely with Djibouti in the livestock sector. Using the window offered by Djibouti, we can improve our access to the Middle East markets,” President Kenyatta said. President Guelleh saw collaboration in the livestock area also helping Kenya to accelerate development of its leather industry — a key plank in the manufacturing segment of the Big Four agenda.

Nigeria: Minister inaugurates tomato monitoring team (The Nation)

Hajia Aisha Abubakar, the Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, on Monday inaugurated a tomato monitoring team to oversee the implementation of government policy to boost production of fresh tomato fruits. The team comprises Ministries of Industry, Trade and Investment; Finance; Agriculture; Raw Material Research and Development Council; Customs, CBN, NAFDAC and NARICT. Abubakar added that the private sector comprised MAN, Dangote Tomato Processing Limited, Erisco Food Industries Limited, Savannah Integrated Farms, GB Food, Tomato Jo’s and Springfield Tomato Processing Companies. According to her, the terms of reference of the team include to monitor the implementation of the policy and importation of tomato products and derivatives. She said the team would link research and development with the industry and will advocate for the growth and development of tomato industry.

Ghana: COCOBOD eyes Chinese market (GhanaWeb)

The Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) is vigorously exploring prospects in the Chinese market for the country’s premium cocoa products, for which reason meetings have been ongoing between the two sides. Cocobod also plans to make a good showing at the maiden China International Import Exposition to be held in Shanghai, 5-10 November. [GEPA expects $250m from cashew export in 2018]

‘The interests of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia are one,’ President Sisi says after tripartite summit in Addis Ababa (Ahram)

Immediately after the end of the summit, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said in press statements that the leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan agreed on resolving all disagreements on the technical issues on the Ethiopian dam within one month. “There are no mediators in the Renaissance Dam negotiations” Shoukry added. The meeting between El-Sisi, Al-Bashir and Ethiopian PM Hailemariam Desalegn, which came on the sidelines of the AU summit, aimed at breaking the deadlock in negotiations over disputes on the impact of the GERD on downstream countries. Ethiopia and Sudan have not accepted the results of a report issued in March 2017 by a European consultancy firm on the potential impact of the dam on downstream countries, which concluded that the speed of construction could negatively affect Egypt’s water share.

$89bn lost in underuse of European Union free trade agreements, report shows (UNCTAD)

The full potential of European Union FTAs remains untapped to the tune of almost 72bn euros ($89bn), UNCTAD and the National Board of Trade Sweden say in a new report (pdf). This is the amount that European exporters overpaid because they did not take full advantage of the reduced tariffs offered by the FTAs that the EU as a bloc has signed with a variety of both developed and developing countries. “This report challenges some enduring myths on preference utilization in free trade agreements,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi and Anna Stellinger, Director-General of the National Board of Trade Sweden, write in the preface to the report. “For example, it is commonly believed that FTAs, in general, are not used to a high degree.” However, empirical data presented in the report indicates that companies in the EU mostly take advantage of FTAs with other countries but also that border-related aspects of their implementation might in some cases be more cumbersome than the provisions of the FTAs themselves.

The digital transformation and the transformation of international trade (ICTSD)

To facilitate the analysis of the role that trade agreements play or might play, this paper suggests a classification of the modes in which trade is conducted as it progressively shifts into the digital or digitally facilitated realm. It also identifies the areas where resistance has been encountered, categorises the nature of the measures that have been introduced, and reviews the approaches taken by the major digital economy players in framing regulations for digital and digitally enabled trade in the regional trade agreements in which they are engaged.

Towards a framework of standards on cross-border e-commerce (WCO)

The WCO E-Commerce Sub-Groups held face-to-face meetings at the WCO headquarters in Brussels (23-25 January). In his opening remarks, Mr. Luc De Blieck, WCO Deputy Director of Procedures and Facilitation Sub-Directorate noted that dynamic developments in the international supply chain driven by cross-border e-commerce and associated challenges required a new harmonized approach to ensure the speedy delivery of parcels across borders while ensuring compliance with all regulatory requirements including safety and security and revenue collection. He then invited delegates to work collaboratively in order to develop international standards on cross-border E-Commerce, as mandated by the WCO Policy Commission at its December 2017 session.

India Economic Survey 2018: State-wise exports included for the first time (Business Standard)

The Economic Survey 2018 stated that for the “first time in India’s history”, data on the international exports of states has been dwelt upon in the Survey. Such data indicates a strong correlation between export performance and states’ standard of living. “States that export internationally and trade with other states were found to be richer. Such correlation is stronger between prosperity and international trade,” it added. It has pointed out that five states - Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana account for 70% of the country’s exports. Talking about services exports, it stated that although world trade volume of goods and services is projected to accelerate this year, “enhanced global uncertainty, protectionism and stricter migration rules would be key factors in shaping India’s services exports”.

Today’s Quick Links:

The Africa Business and Investment Forum takes place today in Addis

Nigeria: ‘CBN removes 36 items from forex ineligibility list’

South Africa: Small Business Institute’s comments on the Competition Amendment Bill 2017

Nigeria to get private national carrier, says aviation minister

Nigeria trade office in Taiwan awaiting Nigerian relocation order

Morocco: Souss-Massa region to become platform of exports to Africa

Energy experts convene for Africa’s first energy modelling platform event

The International Budget Partnership posts the Open Budget Survey 2017 today

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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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