tralac Daily News
THE SOUTH African Poultry Association (Sapa) yesterday welcomed the recommendation for the renewal of anti-dumping duties on imports of bone-in chicken from the European Union.Earlier this week, Import and Export Control (Itac) recommended the renewal of anti-dumping duties on poultry imports from Germany, the Netherlands and the UK in terms of the Customs and Excise Act, 1964.Itac made an amendment to Part 1 of Schedule No 2, by the deletion as well as substitution of various items in order to maintain the anti-dumping duties on frozen bone-in portions of the species Gallus domesticus originating or imported from these countries.The imports regulatory body found that dumping by the three countries had continued in spite of anti-dumping duties of between 3.86 and 73.33 percent imposed in 2015.
“The poultry industry faces the prospect of renewed dumping, with damage to the local industry, slower transformation and a loss of jobs if the duties are not renewed,” Breitenbach said. “This would be disastrous, with loss of revenue, profits and market share when the industry was already under severe pressure.”
South Africa’s largest food retailer, Shoprite, says that its liquor business was severely impacted by Covid-19 lockdown regulations, being unable to trade for 144 days over the past financial year. Despite this setback, the Shoprite Group increased total merchandise sales from continuing operations by 8.1% to approximately R168 billion for the 53 weeks ended 4 July 2021.
“Growth was significantly impacted by the mandated liquor trade closures forming part of Covid-19 lockdown regulations. In total, our LiquorShop business was closed for 144 days over the 53 weeks – 79 days during the first half and 65 days during the second half,” it said.
SA’s localisation plan, which intends to reduce imports at least 20% to promote local content on the expectation of netting the country an estimated R200bn, is distressing news for the AfCFTA. It is a plan forged under pressure to produce a strategy for economic recovery, and ignores the implications for one of the most historically significant global trade agreements of our time. This merits a range of sober questions which discussions of the plan must carefully examine and address.
Transforming the N3 freight corridor (SAnews)
Gauteng MEC for Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure, Jacob Mamabolo, has emphasised the importance of securing the N3 as a Smart Freight Corridor. “While this initiative is still at its early stage, our success to secure the N3 as a Smart Freight Corridor will serve as a benchmark and a standard for replication and expansion to other corridors,” the MEC said on Thursday.
The MEC joined the workshop under the theme, ‘Securing and Restoring the N3 as a Smart Freight Mobility Corridor’, as envisaged in the Growing Gauteng Together Through Smart Mobility Plan. The plan looks at taking advantage of the province’s current standing as a gateway to Africa in order to position it as the freight and logistics hub for the country and the continent.
With support from IFC, Kenya’s Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Authority today launched a one-stop-shop web portal to boost communication, transparency, and service provision for current and potential investors in special economic zones, a pillar of the country’s industrial policy. The web portal, found at www.sezauthority.go.ke, will help the SEZ Authority adapt its investor outreach, retention, and after-care strategies to an interactive online platform, supporting investment, growth, and job creation in Kenya. SEZs are demarcated areas with unique rules of business. They provide private firms with quality, cost-effective, reliable infrastructure, efficient customs services, regulatory predictability, and even fiscal incentives. Kenya has about ten SEZs. Through SEZs, Kenya aims to boost competitiveness by ensuring regulatory and administrative predictability, quality industrial infrastructure, and market access.
“Special Economic Zones are a key pillar for Kenya’s industrialization agenda, value addition, and platform to leverage and catalyze private sector investment,” said Hon. Betty Maina, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development. “We will work hand in hand with the SEZ Authority to boost the private sector’s contribution to GDP and scale-up investment generation, especially in manufacturing.”
Somalia launches cross-border trade portal (The East African)
Somalia has set up a trade information portal to facilitate cross-border trade and provide businesses with a transparent environment. The portal, launched on Wednesday, is the government’s latest move to improve cross-border trade and facilitate Somalia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by complying with the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. Abdulkadir Sharif Shekhuna, the state minister at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said the portal, https://stip.gov.so/, which provides a unified source for all cross-border trade information, will lower costs and simplify trade procedures for Somali importers and exporters.
Updated: Nigeria’s GDP grows further by 5.01% in Q2 2021 (Nairametrics)
Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 5.01% (year-on-year) in real terms in the second quarter of 2021, marking three consecutive quarters of growth following the negative growth rates recorded in the second and third quarters of 2020. This is according to the recently published GDP report, released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The steady recovery observed since the end of 2020, with the gradual return of commercial activity as well as local and international travel, accounted for the significant increase in growth performance relative to the second quarter of 2020 when nationwide restrictions took effect.
LCCI, stakeholders kick against continued export of raw products (The Guardian Nigeria)
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has stated that exportation of primary products to the global community without value addition by way of processing, will not generate the desired level of foreign exchange needed to achieve economic diversification and accelerate economic growth. The president, LCCI, Mrs. Toki Mabogunje, at a seminar on Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), noted that Nigeria’s non-oil export sector is dominated by export of raw materials and primary products over the years, saying that Nigeria could generate more foreign exchange earnings if these primary products were processed into value-added commodities before exportation.
The Assistant Director, Research and Advocacy, LCCI, Sunnie Omeize-Michael, represented the president at the event. Themed, “AfCFTA: The Road Map for Exporters Successful Participation”, Mabogunje said the event was part of the public engagement series of the Chamber aimed at facilitating discussions among stakeholders on the appropriate steps towards maximum utilisation of the trade agreement.
Let localisation lead in post-pandemic recovery – agribusiness expert (Business and Financial Times)
The ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) induced economic crisis means that Ghana and the rest of Africa must prioritise becoming locally sufficient in key sectors such as agribusiness and manufacturing in post-recovery efforts, says Chairperson of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) Agribusiness Sector, Fatima Alimohamed.
Ghana, just like many other African countries, experienced a significant reduction in economic growth as GDP grew 0.4 percent last year against 6.5 percent in 2019 due to the pandemic’s impact. But Ms. Alimohamed says the key lessons from the ongoing global crisis is the glaring need for the continent’s economies to be domestically efficient in food production and manufacturing critical goods and services.
Commonwealth helps The Gambia grow and diversify exports (The Commonwealth)
This week, The Gambia with the support of The Commonwealth Secretariat launched its new five-year export strategy aimed at growing dynamic and sustainable economic growth in the country.
At a launch ceremony held on Tuesday 24th of August in Banjul, the Hon. Seedy Keita, Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment for The Gambia, acknowledged the Commonwealth’s role in providing technical assistance to support the development of the strategy. “This Strategy is expected to improve the country’s trade balance and its ranking in exports. Despite the country’s small-scale production, it is envisaged that the Strategy will provide support to diversify the economy, which will improve The Gambia’s access to the international markets,” he said. The new strategy is crucial for the exports sector as currently The Gambia experiences trade deficits as imports exceed exports. In 2019 alone, The Gambia’s total export of goods amounted to 1.573 billion dalasi (GMD), while its total import of goods stood at GMD31.076 billion.
Why paytech is the key to unlocking Africa’s new free trade zone (World Economic Forum)
Optimistic, the world holds its breath for the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) as it seeks to redefine African markets. It will create uniform rules to guide trade, dispute settlement, investments, competition and intellectual property rights across the continent. However, with the AfCFTA signed, implementation is the next critical hurdle. In the words of its Secretary-General Wamkele Mene: “We have completed the easiest part – that is for 55 countries to negotiate a single set of rules. The most difficult part is implementation.” Payment has always been
Access AfCFTA through Ghana (Business & Financial Times)
Government is engaging the European Union (EU) and other major economic and trade partners across the world to consider Ghana as an investment destination to access the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the Special Advisor on AfCFTA at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Anthony Nyame Baafi, has said. According to him, Ghana remains the best venue on the African continent to invest due to opportunities provided by the political and economic stability enjoyed in the country.
Ministers responsible for gender and women affairs will this week meet to review progress on the implementation of regional programmes aimed at advancing gender equality and equity in southern Africa.
According to a draft agenda, the meeting to be held in a virtual format on 26 August will deliberate on a wide range of issues including the approval of the Draft Regional Gender Based Violence (GBV) Training Guidelines and progress towards the signing of the revised SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.
The revised SADC Protocol on Gender and Development provides for the empowerment of women, elimination of discrimination and attainment of gender equality and equity through enactment of gender-responsive legislation and implementation of policies, programmes and projects.
Minister for Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, who is now the Chairman of the Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa, (MOWCA) has revealed that plans exist for the establishment of a development bank dedicated to the maritime industry of West and Central Africa to see to the financing of maritime infrastructure. He said, to improve resources available for the everyday running of the Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa, he has begun embarking on diplomatic calls to various member countries to live up to their financial obligations to the organization.
The Chairman of MOWCA said the ultimate aim shared among the leadership of the organization is to transform this subregional organization into an arm of the African Union so as to promote the operationalization of action plans and policies.
Chinese enterprises are becoming a significant force behind Africa’s development, boosting its economic development and improving people’s livelihoods in the region, said a report released Thursday by the China-Africa Business Council (CABC). With rapidly increasing investment in recent decades, Chinese enterprises have facilitated trade and investment in Africa. They have also assisted the region with the COVID-19 fight and poverty reduction, said the report on Chinese Investment in Africa. Investments by Chinese enterprises in Africa’s infrastructure, manufacturing, and agricultural processing, among others, have helped host countries accumulate foreign reserves, promote technology transfer, and eliminate supply constraints, it said.
The global Covid-19 pandemic should not dampen investor appetite in Africa. The continent remains an investment destination of choice despite the challenges, panelists at an opening session of the 2021 Africa Singapore Business Forum heard today. Trade between Singapore and Africa has been growing steadily over the past five years, with Singapore being among the top 10 investors in Africa. More than 100 Singaporean companies are currently operating across 50 African countries in the oil and gas, consumer, digital, agri-business and trade sectors.
Talking with Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies, African Development Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina spoke about the global recession and disruption in African markets that Covid-19 had caused. But he voiced optimism about opportunities for investment. “You cannot ignore African markets…Africa is open to investors,” Adesina said, stressing that “the challenges are the opportunities.”
The digital and industrial revolution, Africa’s new free trade area agreement and green growth were also discussed during the session, as were other sectors offering good investment potential. Shanmugaratnam highlighted small and medium-sized enterprises as an overlooked sector because of the perceived risk associated with them. “Africa is at the cusp of a connectivity revolution…it’s a huge opportunity,” he said. He gave the example of an innovative pilot platform that Singapore had signed with the Bank of Ghana, which links small and medium-sized enterprises with creditors and provides free exchange of information.
Leading South African business executives recently shared their insights with the BRICS Business Forum hosted virtually by India. The purpose of the forum was to host discussions and expand relations in key areas of cooperation and develop joint recommendations for strengthening trade and economic relations within BRICS against the backdrop of pressing socio-economic difficulties that emanated as a result of COVID-19. Chairperson of the BRICS Business Council South Africa Chapter, Ms Busi Mabuza says that “the pandemic could have decimated our global food supply chains. Sub-Saharan Africa escaped catastrophic impact through a combination of two factors: good fortune in the form of better rains last year and prompt public policy responses. We are not yet out of the woods.”
“When the pandemic hit our shores in March 2020, there were legitimate fears that agricultural production would be disrupted, food insecurity would grow resulting in tens of millions more people consequently falling into extreme poverty. This fear was expressed by many including the World Bank. It’s important we contextualize this reasonable apprehension. Ours is a continent that is a net importer of agricultural and food products whilst South Africa continues to work to gain greater market access especially into China, Russia and India for our numerous high value agricultural products," she said, adding that “due to the initial uncertainty of how coronavirus was transmitted, major food exporting and importing countries (including some of our BRICS partners) understandably decided to impose bans on various food products including grain exports. South Africa also initially closed her ports,” Mabuza said.
WTO report shows food safety dominates new trade concerns (Food Safety News)
Almost half of the new trade issues discussed in a WTO committee in 2020 mentioned food safety, according to a report on the meeting. Of the 36 new specific trade concerns (STCs) raised in the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Committee, 16 referred to food safety measures. More than a third were due to other areas, such as certification, inspection and approval procedures. Those remaining referred to plant and animal health. The 36 STCs is the most since 2003. An additional 17 previously raised STCs were also debated.
In the early stages of the pandemic, a few emergency measures imposed restrictions on the import, and sometimes transit, of live animals and animal products, or certain species. While a few other bans came at a later stage, most have been lifted. Many notices involved acceptance of electronic copies or scanned certificates.
The development path a least developed country (LDC) follows to achieve the eligibility criteria for graduation has important implications for the challenges and vulnerabilities they face after graduation, as well as the means they have at their disposal to address them. The dynamics that drive LDCs to achieve graduation also impacts their performance on graduation. UNCTAD maintains that a country’s development process continues indefinitely beyond graduation, and its subsequent success critically depends on the foundations it was able to build during graduation. How graduation is achieved is thus as important as when it is achieved.
Realising the benefit of a global carbon tariff (East Asia Forum)
Taxing the carbon content of imports, if done right, can contribute to cutting global emissions and slowing climate change. The European Union has made the first such proposal, and its potential for good or for harm can be seen in relation to how it might work in Asia — the bloc’s major trading partner and a region with very high stakes on global warming. The proposal will enhance the wellbeing of people and the health of the planet if its implementation contributes to lowering the high carbon intensity of international trade in Asia. But it will turn into an economically costly project if it degenerates into a protectionist trade war between regions.
The starting point for worrying about international trade in the context of climate change is that calculations of country responsibility for global emissions usually leave out the roughly one-fifth of effluents that are embedded in traded goods. Accounting for these would be timely as the divergence between consumption and production-based emissions has been rising.