tralac Daily News

News

tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News
Photo Credit: Reuters

Country focus 

The SA economy shrank by 7% in 2020 (Creamer Media’s Engineering News)

The South African economy contracted by 7% during 2020, as expected given the unprecedented impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on economies worldwide. Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) on Tuesday released the 2020 fourth quarter and full year GDP results.

Business support crucial to save jobs: President Ramaphosa (South African News)

President Cyril Ramaphosa says every effort must be made to support local businesses that were severely affected by COVID-19 in a bid to save jobs and create new ones. “We have to save existing jobs and stimulate the economy for new ones to be created,” President Ramaphosa said on Tuesday at the 9th annual Proudly South African Buy Local Summit & Expo.

SABS tasked to eliminate technical barriers to trade (Creamer Media’s Engineering News)

The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has taken part in a virtual seminar with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to discuss the national regulatory organisation’s responsibilities around the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement’s Transparency Framework.  The seminar discusses the national regulatory organisation’s responsibilities in the drafting of policies, regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures.

 Malawi to support Botswana's candidate for SADC role (Malawi24)

President Lazarus Chakwera has accepted President of Botswana Mokgweetsi Masisi’s request for Malawi to support Botswana’s candidate for the Executive Secretary position at the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Chakwera announced the decision today during a joint press conference with Masisi at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe.

Kenya's ban on Uganda, Tanzania maize threatens EAC treaty (Independent)

There are questions lingering as to why Kenya abruptly banned Uganda’s maize exports to the country disregarding all EAC protocols. The last related incident was in 2018 when 600 metric tonnes worth about Shs 180 billion was returned by Kenya claiming it had traces of aflatoxin among other standard issues. The ban was communicated by Kenya’s Agriculture and Food Authority to the Commissioner Customs at Kenya Revenue Authority.

Ghana begins exploiting AfCFTA free trade opportunities (GhanaWeb)

Despite initial worries as to Ghana’s readiness to take an active part in Africa’s new single market, less than two months after the commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement on January 1, corporate Ghana has begun exploiting the preferential trade terms that it offers. With deliberate documentary support from the government, two Ghanaian companies have already executed their first duty-free exports to other African countries and imports from within Africa have been received by Ghana on duty-free terms as well.

 


News from Africa and Africa’s international trade relations

Rules Of Origin May Make Or Break AfCFTA -Mene (Leadership Newspapers)

Secretary-general of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat  Wamkele Mene, has said the Rules of Origin – the criteria needed to determine the nationality of a product – could make or break the AfCFTA if not appropriately designed and enforced to support preferential trade liberalisation.

AfAA launches African arbitration tool (ICLG)

The African Arbitration Association (AfAA) has launched an online tool that provides an overview of arbitration legislation and international arbitrators in Africa. The African Arbitration Atlas went online in January and allows users to search for legislation and arbitral institutions by country or see which countries use the UNCITRAL model law, or are signatories of the New York Convention, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes or Organisation pour l'Harmonisation en Afrique du Droit des Affaires (OHADA) – the West and Central African regional organisation that provides a legal and dispute resolution framework.

EAC States Eager to Get DRC on Board, Eye Market of 87 Million People (AllAfrica)

The East African Community member states are eyeing the Democratic Republic of Congo market of 86.7 million people and are eager to have the vast country join the bloc. In what was seen as fast-tracking of the DRC application of June 2019, the recently concluded EAC heads of state summit directed the Council of Ministers to undertake the verification mission to Kinshasa and report to the next summit, while the application of Somalia that has been pending since 2012, was again pushed to the back burner.

Gambia: GRA Boss Advocates for Free Movement of Goods in Sub-Region (AllAfrica)

Commissioner General of The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA)has renewed his call for member states to open up and endeavour to honour the ECOWAS protocols that have been signed by ECOWAS member states. Yankuba Darboe was speaking recently during a courtesy called by GRA board of directors and top management on Gam Petroleum as part of its ongoing field visits.

Engineering firm to tackle Africa's water infrastructure shortfall (ESI Africa)

The United Nations warns that the world could face a 40% shortfall in water supply by 2030, with Africa – which already suffers from greater levels of water stress than other regions – likely to bear the brunt. The economic impact of the shortfall in water infrastructure and supply is already severe. Sub-Saharan Africa currently loses an estimated 5% of its annual gross domestic product (GDP) due to poor access to clean drinking water and sanitation, 5 to 25% of its GDP to droughts and floods in affected countries and 40 billion hours of otherwise productive time annually, collecting water.

Experts to reflect on sustainable industrialization in Africa (New Business Ethiopia)

The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) will hold its fifty-third session and the Conference of the African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, from 17 March to 23 March 2021 in hybrid form focusing on sustainable industrialization in Africa. In the wake of the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus and related disruptions, some participants, led by Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe, will attend from Addis Ababa while the majority will participate virtually.

 


Global economy

Global Trade Outlook for 2021 (Hellenic Shipping News)

After an already sluggish trade in 2019 global recovery was expected in 2020. High hopes and early market optimism were devastated by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the largest black swan event since the second WWII. 2020 as a whole and Q2 of 2020 proved to be the worst year and the worst quarter for global trade on record. COVID-19 will be the most significant factor affecting the global economy in 2021, however, a number of additional factors have to be taken into consideration.

Weak outlook for Foreign Direct Investment in 2021 (The New Times)

Global foreign direct investment (FDI) dropped in 2020 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, falling 42 per cent from $1.5 trillion in 2019 to an estimated $859 billion, according to the latest report published by UNCTAD Investment Trends Monitor.

Trade in the New Digital World (Lexology)

This article describes how digitization of information and development of new tools and equipment is expanding to improve efficiency, productivity, safety and almost every aspect of the movement of goods. The focus is on how international organizations, national governments and upgraded trade agreements are improving the ability to adopt innovative technologies.


First meeting held to advance work on trade and environmental sustainability
 (World Trade Organization)

The first meeting of WTO members taking part in a new initiative aimed at advancing work on trade and environmental sustainability took place virtually on 5 March. Participants outlined their views on what the priority issues for discussion should be and what concrete outcomes could be delivered at the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) and beyond.

UNCTAD Review Highlights Trade-Climate Readiness Opportunities (IISD Reporting Services)

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has released its 2021 Trade and Environment Review. This edition focuses on ways that developing countries can enhance the resilience of their trade to climate change through economic diversification and adaptation actions.

EU says it agrees post-Brexit WTO agriculture quotas with U.S. (Yahoo Finance)

The European Union and the United States have concluded negotiations to adjust the EU's World Trade Organization agricultural quotas following Britain's exit from the bloc, the European Commission said on Monday.The agreement, covering billions of euros of trade, including beef, poultry, rice, dairy produce, fruit, vegetables and wine, was the result of two years of negotiations. The idea is to keep the previous import quota volumes unchanged and to share them between the European Union and Britain.

India, South Africa oppose plurilateral initiative for e-commerce at WTO (Business Line)

India and South Africa have opposed an on-going joint initiative at the WTO by some countries, including influential members such as the US, the EU, Canada and Australia, to frame a pact on e-commerce rules. The two said that the urgent need is to build capacity in digital skills and digital infrastructure, rather than negotiating binding rules.