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tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Xinhua | Pan Siwei

10 Sep 2019

Profiled EAC trade and regional integration policy events starting today:

EAC experts meeting on the AfCFTA

Extraordinary meeting of the Sectoral Council on Trade, Investment, Finance and Industry

Scoping mission to the Republic of South Sudan

Mauritius-China Free Trade Agreement: update (GoM)

Cabinet has agreed to Mauritius signing the Mauritius-China Free Trade Agreement. The Agreement comprises 17 Chapters encompassing Trade in Goods, Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary Measures, Technical Barriers to Trade, Competition, Intellectual Property, Electronic Commerce, Trade in Services, Investment, Economic Cooperation, among others. Mauritius would benefit from duty free access on the Chinese market on some 8,547 products, representing 96% of the Chinese tariff lines. 88% would be eliminated with immediate effect and the remaining tariffs over a 5 to 7 year period. Mauritius has been granted a Tariff Rate Quota of 50,000 tons of special sugar at an in-quota rate of 15% to be phased in over a period of 8 years.

As regards Trade in Services, Mauritius service providers would have access to more than 40 service sectors, including financial services, telecommunications, ICT, professional services, construction and health services. Mauritius would also be able to establish businesses in China as wholly owned entities or in joint partnership with Chinese operators. As regards the Economic Cooperation Chapter of the Agreement, Mauritius and China have agreed to collaborate in ten areas, including industrial development aimed at improving competitiveness, manufacturing based on innovation and research, exchange of specialists and researchers to disseminate know how and for support in technology and innovation and the setting up of a Renminbi Clearing Centre in Mauritius. Extract from the GoM’s Trade News Digest, June-July (pdf):

In the Mauritius-China FTA, all products considered to be sensitive for Mauritius have been excluded. Mauritius will therefore eliminate tariffs on 148 tariff lines only, representing 2.5% of our tariff lines over a period of five years. The impact on the domestic industry is expected to be marginal. Regarding the impact on finances, it is estimated that tariff elimination on the 2.5% tariff lines on which we have taken commitments would be to the tune of $3m after the transitional period of five years. As regards trade in Services, Mauritius service providers would have access to more than 40 service sectors, including amongst others financial services, telecommunications, ICT, professional services, construction and health services. Mauritius would also be able to establish businesses in China as wholly owned entities or in joint partnership with Chinese operators. We expect to have more investment in the services sector from China in view of the predictability and legal security which the agreement will provide to investors.

Regarding the Economic Cooperation chapter of the Agreement, Mauritius and China have agreed to collaborate in 10 areas, including industrial development to increase competitiveness; to develop manufacturing based on innovation and research; to conduct exchange of specialists; to have an exchange of researchers for disseminating know how and for support in technology and innovation and the setting up of a Renminbi Clearing Centre in Mauritius.

AfCFTA updates:

  1.  Cabinet has agreed to Mauritius ratifying the Agreement establishing the AfCFTA. The AfCFTA would enable Mauritian operators to have preferential market access opportunities in the Western, Northern and Central African regions and further provide an incentive for foreign investors to use Mauritius as a manufacturing hub to target the African market.

  2. Ethiopia needs 15 years to implement Africa free trade deal. Minister of Trade and Industry Fetlework Gebregziabher: “Lifting the trade tariff at once will not be useful for our country. Therefore, we have taken a stand to negotiate at least 15 years before lifting the tariff gradually. We are working with other countries, which have similar interests to extend the period of lifting the tariff.” [Ethiopia to host the 2020 World Economic Forum on Africa]

Kenya launches bid to host 2021 UNWTO General Assembly (Kenya Broadcasting Corporation)

Kenya will this week submit a bid to host the 24th edition of the United Nations World Tourism Organization General Assembly slated for the year 2021. Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary, Najib Balala, says Kenya would be leveraging on successes in hosting other global meetings in pitching for the five-day bi-annual meeting. Morocco and Philippines are the other countries that have expressed interest in hosting the conference. [Japanese multinational Ishida picks Kenya as hub]

Tanzanian Minister orders hotline at border posts to report mistreatment (The Citizen)

Cross border traders in Uganda and Tanzania will now be able to report any mistreatment to the Tanzania Trade Development Authority or directly to the Minister of Industry and Trade, through a hotline to be placed at all border posts. The new development was revealed yesterday by the Minister of Trade and Industry Innocent Bashungwa during the climax of the Tanzania-Uganda Business Forum that brought together over 1,400 participants from both countries. The move comes just two days after President John Magufuli and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni faulted public servants for drawing back business between the two countries, pointing out same challenges at border posts. In case a trader is mishandled or mistreated by government officers at the borders between Uganda and Tanzania, he or she will have a chance to raise the matter for further action. “I will be the coordinator of the hotline,” said Mr Bashungwa during the event, which involved 312 participants from Uganda. “Soon I will disclose the service number,” he said in a direct effort to confront negative bureacracy.

Chair of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government reviews integration projects with ECOWAS Commission and Institutions

The Chair of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government and President of Niger, H.E Mahamadou Issoufou, met with the senior management of the ECOWAS Commission and Institutions in a bid to advance, in all ramifications, the course and implementation of regional integration projects. Conferring with the President of the ECOWAS Commission and Heads of Institutions on the 5th of September 2019 in Abuja, Nigeria, President Issoufou stressed the importance of meeting with those responsible for the effective implementation of the decisions taken at Summits of Heads of State and Government. On the issue of monetary union, he stated that the harmonization and strengthening of the regional macroeconomic framework, particularly with the ECOWAS single currency project, remains a priority. “The creation of the single currency in 2020 will be an important instrument for achieving the economic and political integration of our Region”. He added, while remarking that all Member States are strongly committed to achieving macroeconomic convergence in order to ensure the viability and credibility of the future monetary zone.The Chair of the Authority also highlighted key areas deserving the full attention of the regional organisation. These included agriculture, free movement of goods and persons, the increment of intra-Community trade, regional education and health programmes as well as social and human development seeing that human capital is the basis of all economic and social development.

African Green Revolution Forum: updates

  1. Rwanda wins bid to host continental agriculture body. Rwanda will host the African Green Revolution Forum next year and also serve as the seat of the organization going forward, a statement from AGRF Partners Group says. The group made the announcement on 6 September in Accra, Ghana during the 2019 AGRF. The statement revealed that the move followed a competitive bidding process.

    AGRF has taken place in eight different countries over the last decade, ensuring that awareness, models, lessons, and the political will required to drive an inclusive agricultural transformation in Africa grow steadily across the continent. At the end of its first decade, the statement said, the AGRF will now adjust its approach and adopt a “home and away” model where the Forum will alternate between hosting the event in Rwanda in even years and different host countries across the continent in alternate years. The move will add the Republic of Rwanda to the AGRF Partners Group to help shape and drive the AGRF’s long-term vision, deepen relationships with service providers to streamline organizational logistics and unlock partnerships with several new institutions looking to grow with the forum.

  2. pdf African Green Revolution Forum: Declaration (772 KB) . Climate change is the defining issue of our time, threatening to wipe out the hard-worn development gains across the continent. With the population projected to double to 2.4 billion by 2050, Africa needs to feed a rapidly growing population in the face of climate variability and extreme weather events. Adaptation and resilience are key accelerators and enablers to achieving development results and are a core part of the foundations on which development gains stand. The current commitment and actions in support of adaptation and resilience are insufficient. An urgent, massive and coordinated push is urgently needed – across the continent – to increase the resilience of livelihoods among smallholder farmers and rural communities.

    We, the participants of the African Green Revolution Forum – 2019 in Accra, Ghana, including African Heads of State, ministers, and representatives of farmer organizations, private agribusinesses, financial institutions, academics, development partners, NGOs, and civil society…

  3. AGRF secures $500m for young ‘agripreneurs’. A $500m commitment to developing agriculture opportunities for young Africans, a “Deal Room” that delivered some $200m in new investments, billions to support digital infrastructure crucial for powering innovative farmer services, significant actions on climate change adaptation, and the launch of a major food trade coalition: These are among the highlights of the 2019 African Green Revolution Forum which attracted some 2800 participants from across Africa and around the world last week for three days of intensive consultations in Accra. This year’s AGRF featured a vibrant Agribusiness Deal Room that was a hub of activity, securing the Forum as a prime venue for connecting innovators with critically needed capital. Private and public sector stakeholders executed commitments worth over $200m to develop and strengthen several value chains in Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda and Eswatini. Companies involved included Dangote Farms Ltd. of Nigeria, Press Agriculture Ltd of Malawi, Pearl Dairies Ltd. of Uganda, and Fresh Ltd. of Mozambique and Eswatini. In addition, a Unilever-IDH partnership committed $28.6m towards investments in SMEs working in variety of food-related endeavors. Some 17 country delegations presented investment opportunities worth in excess of $2bn. The proposed investments, coupled with support from various stakeholders, is anticipated to impact more than 15,000 smallholder farmers and create seven million jobs.


The IMF’s World Trade Uncertainty Index: new index tracks trade uncertainty across the globe

We construct the World Trade Uncertainty Index for 143 countries starting in 1996. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first effort to create a trade uncertainty index for a large set of advanced and developing economies. Existing measures of trade uncertainty focus either on the United States (the trade component of Economic Policy Uncertainty index by Scott Baker, Nicholas Bloom, and Steven Davis), or on the global economy as a whole (the index of BlackRock), or on a set of 44 countries (indexes by Sandile Hlatshwayo). Our new index is based on the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) country reports. These reports follow a standardized process and structure, which helps to mitigate concerns about accuracy, ideological bias, and consistency. Moreover, this single, highly reputable source has a specific topical focus for coverage—economic and political developments. These factors make our index comparable across countries.

To construct the index, we tally the number of times “uncertainty” is mentioned in the reports in proximity to a word related to trade. Specifically, for each country and quarter, we search EIU reports for the words “uncertain,” “uncertainty,” and “uncertainties” appearing near the following words: protectionism, North American Free Trade Agreement, tariff, trade, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and World Trade Organization. To make the WTU index comparable across countries, we scale the raw counts by the total number of words in each report. An increase in the index indicates that trade uncertainty is rising, and vice versa.

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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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