tralac’s Daily News Selection
A New Times interview with Donald Kaberuka: Reforming the AU is not a choice of the few, but an imperative for all
A reposting, from tralac: The consolidated draft text of the AfCFTA Agreement (pdf) – including 9 Annexes, Protocol on Trade in Services, and Protocols on Rules of Origin and Settlement of Disputes
African trade newsletters: (i) Borderless Alliance – Ghana: 2nd edition of 2018 (ii) African Cotton, Textiles & Apparel Monitor: 7th edition
WCO-Africa updates: (i) West, Central Africa conference of Directors General of Customs (ii) Eastern and Southern Africa chapter meeting
South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry: statement on Section 232 duties implemented by the US on steel, aluminium products
South Africa is therefore not a cause of any national security concerns in the US nor a threat to US industry interests and is not the course of the global steel glut. Instead, South Africa finds itself as collateral damage in the trade war of key global economies. South Africa is concerned by the unfairness of the measures and that it is one of the countries that are singled out as a contributor to US national security concerns when its exports of aluminium and steel products are not that significant. SA acknowledges the adverse effects of global steel overcapacity. The domestic steel sector has been severely impacted by low priced steel and steel product imports and as a result SA has implemented a number of trade remedy measures. In addition, SA supports and participates in the OECD and G20 multilateral processes to achieve outcomes of a fair, sustainable and viable steel industry in the future.
The imposition of the duties will have a negative impact on productive capacity and jobs in a sector already suffering from global steel overcapacity. In addition, SA notes with concern the different treatment of trading partners which will have an effect on the competitiveness of SA steel and aluminium products in the US and is likely to displace SA products out of the US market in favour of the exempted countries. South Africa is also concerned that the measures are implemented in a way that contravenes some of the key WTO principles. The Department of Trade and Industry continues to engage the industry on the matter.
South Africa: Trade statistics for March 2018 – a trade balance surplus of R9.47bn
The two-day India-South Africa Business Summit 2018 (ISABS 2018) saw scores of noted speakers and distinguished experts and diplomats from the two countries participating in parallel discussions on startups, automobile industry, healthcare and pharma, mining, agro-processing, women entrepreneurs in business and the fourth industrial revolution. Cautioning against the summit becoming just another talkshop, Prabhu has tasked a team led by the India-South Africa CEOs Forum to present an action plan to implement all the suggestions at the summit by the time he comes back for the BRICS summit in July. Related: South Africa expects India fruit export boost. The acceptance of in-transit cold treatment for South African fruit shipments to India by the Indian authorities is imminent, according to news emanating from India, where a delegation from Fruit South Africa has been visiting New Delhi and Mumbai this week. The Citrus Growers’ Association said exports to India have been constrained by a requirement that does not allow in-transit cold treatment. “After two successful pilot shipments of both pears and oranges, the final acceptance to allow in-transit cold treatment is imminent,” said the CGA. “Apple and grapefruit trial shipments have also been conducted, and once two such trials have been successfully cleared, they to could be granted clearance for in-transit treatment.”
Trump-Buhari press conference: extracts
Trump: I’m pleased that Nigeria is one of our largest trading partners in the region, and we look forward to growing our trade relationship based on the principle of fairness and reciprocity. But we give Nigeria well over $1bn in aid every year. And we have already started talking with the President about taking down the trade barriers — very substantial barriers to the US trading with Nigeria. So we think that we are owed that. President Buhari has also taken several steps to fight corruption and improve the Nigerian business climate. And most of all to me — and again — is ripping down those trade barriers. These measures will make it easier for Nigeria and US companies to invest. And we will be investing substantially in Nigeria if they can create that level playing field that we have to very much ask for, and maybe demand.
Buhari: Our aim is to diversify our own economy by focusing on agricultural and food security, power and infrastructure. We have cut the importation of rice by 90%, thereby saving a significant amount of money. We very much welcome increased United States investment in Nigerian economy, especially the non-oil sector. Economic relations between Nigeria and the US are anchored on three major instruments, namely the Bi-National Commission, Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, and the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act. Nigeria’s trade volume with the US stood at $6.07bn according to 2016 statistics, and comprised $4.76bn, also, of Nigerian exports to the United States, and $1.894bn exports to Nigeria. We urge greater effort to increase these figures substantially.
Tweet, @AsoRock: “By September latest, Nigeria would be the highest, biggest African country in terms of export of fertilizer. Things have actually changed” – @AlikoDangote, after President @MBuhari’s meeting with a group of agrobusiness executives yesterday in Washington.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative has released the 2018 Special 301 Report, identifying trading partners that do not adequately or effectively protect and enforce intellectual property rights or otherwise deny market access to U.S. innovators and creators that rely on protection of their IP rights. The Report calls on US trading partners to address IP-related challenges with a special focus on the countries identified on the Watch List and Priority Watch List. Extract (pdf):
In Nigeria, localization policies in the form of local content requirements protect and favor local companies at the expense of foreign firms and investors. In particular, the 2013 Guidelines for Nigerian Content Development in Information and Communications Technology require local production or utilization of Nigerian material and labor across a broad range of information communications technology goods and services. Requirements of particular concern include server localization mandates, requirements for all ICT hardware to contain at least 50% of local value-added content or to outsource production to domestic firms, cross-border data flow restrictions, mandates for all hardware to be assembled in Nigeria, programs to support only local data hosting firms, and provisions that impose burdens on foreign firms by requiring in-country research and development departments and the disclosure of source code and other proprietary information.
Manufacturing sector and Nigeria’s economic growth pattern (Nigerian Economic Summit Group)
Although Nigeria’s manufacturing sector has experienced growth in output in the last 10 years prior to the recession of 2016, its contribution to GDP at 9% and meagre contribution to employment calls for concern. Despite government intervention, the sector is bedevilled with several structural challenges, ranging from multiple taxation to infrastructure deficit, power supply shortages, high reliance on imported manufactured products and the absence of an up-to-date coordinated policy framework, which charts a clear path for the sector.
Rwanda: National budget set to increase by 16% (New Times)
The Government plans to spend over Rwf2.4 trillion in the upcoming financial year (2018/19), which starts in July, representing a 16% increase from the current 2017/18 budget (over Rwf2.1trillon). The Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana, made the disclosure to a joint parliamentary session yesterday as he presented the Budget Framework Paper. Ndagijimana said next fiscal’s budget will be domestically financed to the tune of 84%, which takes the country a step closer to fully financing its own budget. Ndagijimana added that the implementation of the Made-in-Rwanda policy will continue to play a key role in narrowing the current account deficit in the short- to long-run and help to consolidate private sector domestic activities. The minister said the economy is expected to grow by 7.2% next year.
The challenge for Ethiopia’s new leader: unleash the economy (Bloomberg)
Hailemariam said he last year introduced a proposal to the ruling coalition’s 180-member decision-making council to partially liberalize all but the financial sector of the economy, including the state telecommunications monopoly EthioTelecom. While the debate isn’t finished, Hailemariam said he’s laid the foundations for partial liberalization. “I am sure Abiy is going to complete it,” he said in an interview in the capital, Addis Ababa. Two weeks into office, Abiy told local business leaders that what he described as a foreign-currency crisis could last two decades. Hailemariam said he expects the problem to last “maybe a decade or a decade and a half as experience shows elsewhere,” citing China at an earlier stage of its development. “It is export-led industrialization that helps to bring more foreign currency and on the other hand helps the forex problem to be resolved,” he said. “Our structural transformation into industrial development, especially in manufacturing, has been a little bit delayed.” [Ethiopia to take stake in Port of Djibouti, its trade gateway]
Profiled papers prepared for the OECD’s Best practice roundtables on competition policy (4-8 June, Paris):
(i) Blockchain technology and competition policy: issues paper by the Secretariat (pdf). The OECD is currently developing work on how to: a) facilitate the efficient adoption of blockchain technology by governments; b) help governments identify effective policy responses to the risks and opportunities arising from use of blockchain by business; and c) help governments to prevent the misuse of blockchain for illicit activities. In this Hearing, the Competition Committee will consider whether the rise of blockchain technology is relevant to the work of competition authorities, and if so how. Below we set out a number of potential topics for discussion, and pose a number of questions to aid the discussion.
(ii) Competition assessment in light of digitalisation: a synthesis (pdf). This document assesses potential areas of focus for competition assessment of regulations in light of digitalisation. The purpose is to identify fruitful priorities for such reviews at a time of major technical change. The paper draws on findings from a survey conducted in the summer of 2017, initial survey analysis from the fall of 2017, a G20 discussion on competition and digitalisation in October 2017 and examples discussed at an OECD Workshop on Regulation and Competition in Light of Digitalisation on 31 January, 2018.
Today’s Quick Links:
Tighten entry points to check counterfeits, China tells Africa
SA envoy targets $1tn Nigeria-South Africa trade volume
Nigeria’s Manufacturing Index expands for 13th consecutive month
Why the GCC states think Africa is worth fighting over
Regional Economic Outlook Update: Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan
Kenyan businessmen urged to trade with Dubai
Mauritius to host First Session of the Joint Commission with Madagascar (14-16 May)
Why Australian small businesses are outsourcing to South Africa