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tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: EIF Benin

02 Jul 2019

Underway, in Niamey: 9th Session of African Ministers of Trade in preparation for the Extra-Ordinary Summit scheduled for 7 July. The summit will also be preceded by the Civil Society Forum (tomorrow) and the Business Forum (Saturday).

Starting today, in Johannesburg: OSISA’s Southern Africa’s Debt Conundrum conference. The conference objectives include improving the understanding of ‘new’ debt issues and setting up a platform/network for collaboration (pdf).

Featured trade policy commentary, by Ann Linde, Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Trade: Taking gender in trade more seriously

Call for papers: African Economic Conference 2019 (2-4 December, Sharm el-Sheikh). The theme of this year’s conference: Jobs, entrepreneurship and capacity development for African youths.


Inequalities in the Least Developed Countries: some lessons from Africa (SAJE/UNU-WIDER)

This special issue comprises six papers analysing different dimensions of inequalities in African countries. Three papers deal with the trend in inequality in consumption in Mozambique, with multidimensional poverty in four sub‐Saharan countries, and with the relationship between living conditions and subjective well‐being in African countries. The other three are focused on gender issues and are focused on Mozambique, dealing with gender inequalities in the access to contract farming arrangements as well as to employment out of subsistence agriculture, or with the effect of women’s empowerment on children’s health. This introduction (by Carlos Gradín and Finn Tarp) provides a short overview of how they contribute to a better understanding of inequalities in low‐income countries. [Mozambique Institutional Diagnostic launch workshop]

Kenya’s exports to Asia down 20.9% y-o-y in Q1 (Xinhua)

Kenya’s exports to Asia fell by 20.9% on a yearly basis to 40.9 billion Kenyan shillings ($409m) in the first quarter of 2019, latest data showed. The drop in earnings from tea exports to Pakistan was the main reason for the overall decline in total exports to Far East Asia, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement on Monday. Notable declines in exports to Asia were recorded in the value of total exports to Pakistan and India which registered declines of 29.9% and 50.8% respectively, while value of total exports to China and Japan increased during the quarter under review, said KNBS. Imports from Asia accounted for 61.2% of Kenya’s total imports during the period under review. Reductions in value of imports from China, India, Japan and Malaysia which registered declines of 12.4%, 22.9%, 11.1% 25.1% respectively, contributed to the decline in imports from the region during the quarter, said KNBS. The east African nation’s exports to the European Union rose 6.6%, to 40.1 billion Kenyan shillings from January to March, boosted by increased shipment of agricultural produce. Kenya’s exports to Africa were valued at 53.4 billion Kenyan shillings in the first quarter while imports from Africa amounted to 52.6 billion Kenyan shillings. [KNBS downloads: Quarterly Balance of Payments Report First Quarter; Quarterly Gross Domestic Product Report First Quarter, 2019]

Egypt reports 6.6% rise in exports to international groups in 2018 (Ahram)

Egyptian exports to international groups in which Egypt is a member hit $28.7bn in 2018 against $26.9bn in 2017, marking a 6.6% rise. In a bulletin on Tuesday, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics said that these international groups are the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, the Sahel and Sahara Group, COMESA, the Group of 15 and the Arab Free Trade Zone. Egypt’s exports to the Arab free trade zone topped the list at $9.4bn in 2018. Exports to ESCWA came in second, recording $7.9bn in 2018, while COMESA came in last with exports registering $1.9bn.

Nigeria and the AfCFTA: ACCI President says Nigeria’s interest is duly protected (The Tide)

The President of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Adetokunbo Kayode, says Nigeria’s interest in the AfCTA agreement is duly protected. Kayode told newsmen in Moscow that Nigeria should not delay further in signing the agreement as it had little or nothing to worry about. “Nigeria can never be oppressed economically in Africa. In fact, Nigeria may be taken as an oppressor and we have no reason playing last in this game, many of us feel worried and concerned. And nobody should give the impression that Nigeria cannot compete when the AfCFTA agreement is signed; we can compete favourably. The reason for the delay in signing was because there was some laxity about consultations, especially with the private sector. I agree there was no consultation by government initially with the private sector but that issue has been resolved.” [Dr Babafemi Badejo: Nigeria shouldn’t lead from behind]

Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics: Nigerian Capital Importation, Q1 2019. By origin: UK, USA, South Africa dominate

Kenya: How growing poverty is fanning anger at foreign traders (Standard)

The traders in Gikomba have co-existed for ages,” says, Scholastica Odhiambo, an Economics lecturer from Maseno University. The Chagga, an enterprising community from Tanzania, is perhaps the most conspicuous foreigners in Gikomba Market. Yet they are as old as the market itself. They deal mostly in second-hand clothes and are known for their aggressive marketing strategies. The way they have won the hearts of customers is not any different from the way their Tanzanian compatriots - artist Diamond Platnumz and a host of other Bongo musicians - have taken over the Kenyan air-waves through songs. But, unlike the Chinese, there is no evidence that the Chagga have undercut their local competitors by pricing their wares relatively lower. It is not really that the Ugandans and Tanzanians are taking away from Kenyans, it is the country that is not baking enough national cake for everyone in the party, and when it has baked a bigger cake it has failed in distributing it evenly.

World Tariff Profiles: latest edition is posted (WTO/ ITC/UNCTAD)

Tariff data are presented in comparative tables and in one-page profiles for over 170 countries and customs territories. Statistics on non-tariff measures by country and by product group complement the data on tariffs. A new table containing import and export profiles indicates the value of imports and exports for each country and customs territory and the average tariffs applied to these products. The special topic of this year’s World Tariff Profiles is Aligning trade and tariff policies with sustainable development. The chapter provides statistics on tariffs applied to technological goods that may assist countries in fulfilling certain Sustainable Development Goals. [Various downloads are available here]

WCO Council maps the road ahead during its annual sessions (WCO)

The Council (27-29 June) endorsed an E-Commerce package and agreed to continue developing additional technical specifications. To further enhance Customs-Post cooperation, the Council adopted the “Joint WCO UPU Guidelines on exchange of electronic advance data between Posts and Customs.” An implementation strategy, an action plan and a capacity building mechanism aimed at ensuring the widespread adoption and implementation of the Framework of Standards were also adopted. In addition, the Council adopted the new WCO Strategic Plan for 2019/2022 with its nine priority areas, namely coordinated border management, security and safety, the Revised Kyoto Convention, e-commerce, the Harmonized System, the Capacity Building Strategy, performance measurement, integrity, and digital Customs and data analysis.

Taking another look at policy research on China’s accession to the WTO (World Bank)

Recent work on China’s accession to the WTO pays little attention to the wave of reforms in China in the 1980s and 1990s. These reforms created the preconditions for accession and strongly influenced its outcomes. The preeminence of processing trade at the time of accession sharply reduced the impact of accession-related tariff reductions on exports and set the stage for China’s increases in domestic value added and reduction in China’s involvement in global production sharing since that time. The assessment in this paper (pdf), based on export data and simulation results on the ex ante accession-related effects on export volumes in the literature, finds that the accession must have increased China’s real export growth by at most 6 percentage points between 1997 and 2005. This effect is substantial, but not as large as suggested by the difference between the pre- and post-accession export growth rates in the four years before and after accession. This is because the influence of cyclical fluctuations related to the Asian financial crisis and the US dot-com crash dampened export growth in the period before accession in 2001 and accelerated it afterward.

China and the world: Inside the dynamics of a changing relationship (McKinsey Global Institute)

The MGI’s new China-World Exposure Index shows that the world’s relative exposure to China has increased, while China’s to the world has fallen. Accompanying this shifting exposure are the signs of stresses in the relationship. It examines the state of China’s integration with the world on eight dimensions, concluding that while China has achieved scale this has not always translated into global integration. The research establishes evidence of a shift in the mutual exposure of China to the rest of the world, and vice versa, and estimates the value that could be at stake from more or less engagement. Finally, the research offers thoughts about how businesses could respond to a new era of uncertainty. Extract (pdf): Resource-rich countries are highly exposed to Chinese demand. Countries that export natural resources are highly exposed to Chinese demand.For example, Chinese imports now account for 15% of production in South Africa, compared with only 2% in the period from 2003 to 2007. Similarly, Chinese imports now account for 16% of gross output in Australia, compared with just 4% in the earlier period. Iron ore alone accounts for 48% of Australia’s exports to China (minerals and metals in total represent 84% of exports), and 21 of Australia’s mining and quarrying output is exported to China. [WEF: Have we reached peak integration between China and the world?]

E-commerce as a potential new engine for growth in Asia (IMF)

The use of e-commerce around the world has accelerated in recent years, with Asia, led by China, spearheading the rise. Using cross-country enterprise survey data, this paper shows that firms engaged in e-commerce have higher productivity and generate a larger share of their revenues from exports than other firms. This is particularly true in Asia, where firms have 30% higher productivity and generate about 50% more of their revenues from exports.

ICC declaration: Next Century of Global Business

Issued upon conclusion of the world business organization’s Centenary Summit (last week in Paris), the declaration endorses Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change findings on the urgent need to keep the global temperature increase below 1.5 degrees Celsius, and underscores the urgent need for policy frameworks that support alignment of business operations with this target. Extract (pdf): While many business models face increasing disruption from the rapid acceleration of digital technologies, trust in the transparent and responsible use of these services is eroding. To maximise the benefits of the digital economy, we will collaborate with governments to create policy environments conducive to a thriving digital ecosystem and promote a multistakeholder governance model for a secure, resilient and open Internet. We will also support the human-centric evolution of emerging technologies. It is clear in the 21st century that the capitalist model must also enable these transformations, and we will support private sector leaders to meet the calls of shareholders, governments and the public for a more inclusive and responsible capitalism.

Working on a warmer planet: The impact of heat stress on labour productivity and decent work (ILO)

The sector expected to be worst affected, globally, is agriculture. 940 million people around the world work in the agricultural sector. It is projected to account for 60% of global working hours lost due to heat stress by the year 2030. The construction sector will also be severely impacted with an estimated 19% of global working hours lost by the same date. Other sectors especially at risk are environmental goods and services, refuse collection, emergency, repair work, transport, tourism, sports and some forms of industrial work. The impact will be unequally distributed around the world (pdf). The regions losing the most working hours are expected to be southern Asia and western Africa, where approximately 5% of working hours are expected to be lost in 2030, corresponding to around 43 million and 9 million jobs, respectively.

Today’s Quick Links:

ECA, TradeMark East Africa partner towards the implementation of AfCFTA

South Africa, Liberia to establish joint trade commission

Kenya, South Sudan agree to deepen trade ties

The future of African Gold: developing the West African gold economy

In Senegal, old clothes get a new life for profit

Reuters: Zambia, Zimbabwe to start building Batoka power plant next year

From cocoa to cannabis: Nigerian farmers seek fortunes inside forbidden farms

World Bank: Liberia Domestic Revenue Mobilization Policy Notes

OECD: Realising regional potentials through better market integration in China (pdf)

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