tralac Daily News
COFFEE will be the first Tanzania's product to trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) market in July this year, the Minister for Investment, Industry and Trade, Dr Ashatu Kijaji has said.
Recently, the government announced that from July 1st, this year, it will start exporting ten types of products to the AfCFTA market for the country to benefit from an integrated African market of over 1.3 billion people.
"We already have the first product that we will export first and that is coffee and we will not send it in raw form, we will send the finished product," said the Minister in Dar es Salaam yesterday when she was speaking to members of the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) at the meeting that was also attended by the Minister for Finance and Planning, Dr Mwigulu Nchemba.
South Africa’s diplomatic missions across the globe stand ready to mobilise R2 trillion by 2028, with a particular focus on increasing intra-Africa trade, which stands at 17% of total trade.
This is according to the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Alvin Botes, who participated in the debate on President Cyril Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Tuesday.
“Mr President, because of your leadership, in 2021, we exported more to Africa -- R385 billion -- than to the European Union's R355 billion.”
Cemac: Prices of exported commodities fell by 13.4% in Q4 2022 (Business in Cameroon)
The prices of commodities exported by Cemac countries fell 13.4% in Q4 2022, after rising 6.9% and 0.5% respectively in the second and third quarters.
The situation is the result of “the sharp decline in the global prices of oil and natural gas" during the period, Beac points out in its Composite Commodity Price Index (ICCPB). In detail, the quarterly document says, global prices for energy products fell by 18.8%, after a rise of 2.9% in Q3. In Q4, gas fell by 35.5% and a barrel of oil by 11.6%.
According to Beac, this price contraction is related to the increase in European natural gas stocks, supported by the reduction in gas consumption by households and industries, which are turning to renewable energies; the slowdown in global growth; concerns about a global recession; and the maintenance of pandemic restrictions in China.
Madagascar launches safeguard investigation on concentrated milk (World Trade Organization)
On 14 February 2023, Madagascar notified the WTO’s Committee on Safeguards that it initiated on 11 February 2023 a safeguard investigation on concentrated milk and that it imposed a provisional measure.
In the notification Madagascar indicated, among other things, as follows (provisional English translation):
"Interested parties should make themselves known to the ANMCC, the authority in charge of the investigation, within 30 days from the date of the initiation of the investigation.
Nigeria not ready for AfCFTA, can’t facilitate trade, says Amiwero (Guardian Nigeria)
Former member of the Presidential Committee on Destination Inspection and Ministerial Committee on Fiscal Policy and Import Clearance Procedure, Lucky Amiwero, has lamented Nigeria’s shoddy approach for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), as it lacks key tools of international process of trade facilitation.
He said the components that make up an efficient port, which are also tools for trade facilitation, such as consistency; transparency and predictability are missing in the country’s maritime sector.
Amiwero said time of clearing containers cannot be predicted as well as with the berthing of ships, which he said, is not consistent and transparent. He also pointed out multiple agencies and many charges at the ports, adding that after the 2006 reform, the port has been bedeviled by a lot of exploitative tendencies from every agency in the port.
The African Development Bank and the African Union Commission will host a joint event to present the inaugural Africa’s Macroeconomic Performance and Outlook report at the 36th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The report, published by the African Development Bank Group, offers policymakers, global investors, researchers, and other development partners, up-to-date, evidence-based assessments of the continent’s recent macroeconomic performance.
When: Friday, 17 February 2023. 8:00 AM EAT (GMT+3)
Where: African Union Commission, Medium Conference Hall, and online
Logistics operators see opportunities in AfCFTA despite slow takeoff (Guardian Nigeria)
Notwithstanding the slow pace of implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA), logistics executives have expressed optimism about the benefits inherent in the trade deal.
Indeed, three major issues are believed to be affecting the AfCFTA in its initial phase. First, the negotiation on the Rules of Origin seems endless. Several members were unwilling to ratify all the articles of agreement. Many African countries earn most of their trade revenue from exports to non-African countries.
In 2022, rules of origin were resolved for 87.7 per cent of the goods covered by AfCFTA, including about 3,800 tariff lines. Secondly, the AfCFTA suffers as does the African Union (AU) in general, from a lack of popular perception about its advantages across the board. African businesses in particular are not fully aware about the advantages of the AfCFTA.
China-Africa Digital Trade Services Hub In Hunan (Maritime Gateway)
China’s Hunan province has unveiled a China-Africa Digital Services Hub that focuses on cross-border communications support and data-sharing between Chinese companies working in Africa.
The China-Africa economic and trade digitalization service based in Changsha, the provincial capital, aims to support Chinese companies’ trade with Africa. China’s central Hunan province has been among the most ambitious in launching new services and facilities to promote trade with African countries. The base mainly serves Chinese companies in Africa and provides related digital information services. It will also promote the innovative application of new business forms such as cross-border e-commerce, China-Africa economic and trade data statistical analysis, and other digital products related to telecommunications, Internet, software and information technology services. The base can provide campsite communication support equipment services for enterprises in need and build cross-border interconnection routes for African branches of Chinese-funded enterprises.
DDG González: “WTO reform is about promoting resilient, sustainable and inclusive trade” (World Trade Organization)
WTO members must do more to safeguard and expand the role of trade as a tool to create jobs, reduce poverty and increase economic opportunity, WTO Deputy Director-General Anabel González said at a conference hosted by the World Bank and the Peterson Institute for International Economics on 14 February. She called on WTO members to accelerate the pace of work on WTO reform to match the size of the challenges facing the global trading system.
“WTO reform is urgently needed to prevent that power replaces rules in global trade relations,” DDG González said, adding that “the cost of the resulting economic fragmentation would be massive, possibly 5% or more of long-term world GDP if the world economy were to split into two self-contained blocs”.
DDG González said that economic resilience calls for diversification, not decoupling. “We need better transparency and monitoring to map concentrated trade relationships, we need greater policy dialogue to chart coordinated solutions, and we need to continue opening and facilitating trade to bring alternative supply sources into the global economy,” she said.
A proposed free-trade agreement between China and a group of South American nations, which includes Argentina and Brazil, will benefit all sides economically, but will further increase competition between Washington and Beijing in the so-called backyard of the United States, according to analysts.
New leftist Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said that the proposed deal between China and the Southern Common Market (Mercosur), which also includes Uruguay and Paraguay as full members, will modernise and open up the South American trade bloc to other regions.
A possible agreement can be discussed after a similar free-trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union is finalised, added Lula, who returned for a third term as president in January.
UN launches 2023 Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade (Trade Finance Global)
The fifth UN Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation 2023 has been launched by the five United Nations Regional Commissions and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
The 2023 edition consists of 60 measures, including two new sets of measures on “Trade Facilitation for E-Commerce” and “Wildlife Trade Facilitation”, on cross-border e-commerce and the application of electronic CITES permits and certificates.
The preliminary results of the 2023 Survey will be published in July at untfsurvey.org, followed by the final results in the form of a Global Report and five Regional Reports.
The tensions between the U.S. and China over alleged spy balloons shot down over North America have some of the top trade associations representing companies reliant on Chinese manufacturing to urge their members to diversify their supply chains.
The National Retail Federation, the American Footwear and Apparel Association, and the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals tell CNBC that the rising tensions with China due to the spy balloons have resulted in new concerns from their member companies, already dealing in recent years with tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden, and Covid shutdowns under the “Zero Covid” policy.
“The ongoing tensions with the U.S.-China trade relationship continue to highlight the need for supply chain diversification,” said Jon Gold, vice president of supply chain and customs policy of the National Retail Federation. “From the tariffs to Covid-19 to additional challenges, retailers are looking for opportunities to diversify their sourcing to ensure they have resilient supply chains to meet consumer needs.”
Event on decarbonization standards to promote transparency and coherence in steel sector (World Trade Organization)
The WTO’s “Trade Forum on Decarbonization Standards: Promoting coherence and transparency in the steel sector” will bring together over 20 speakers from the public and private sectors in an event on 9 March. The full programme and registration are now available online.
The event will promote multi-stakeholder dialogue on the role of coherent and transparent standards in accelerating the global scale-up of low-carbon steelmaking technologies and avoiding trade frictions. It will bring together WTO members, industry, standards bodies, international organizations and academic experts to share perspectives on challenges and opportunities around decarbonization standards and the potential role of the WTO in promoting trade-related international cooperation, with a focus on the iron and steel supply chain.
It will feature a Leaders' Conversation with Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Mr Aditya Mittal, chief executive officer of Arcelor Mittal; and Princess Abze Djigma, Special Envoy of the President of Burkina Faso for Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Change.
U.S. Finding Challenges in Increasing Resilience of Global Supply Chains (Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.)
The U.S. has been actively engaging in efforts with other countries to strengthen global supply chains but is running into a number of related challenges, a recent Government Accountability Office report states.
The COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine have both disrupted global supply chains and highlighted their vulnerabilities. In response, GAO states, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the departments of Commerce and State have expanded their diplomatic engagement on strengthening supply chains. These efforts have included initiating over a dozen dialogues, working groups, and forums to coordinate on supply chain resilience (e.g., through the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, and the Summit on Global Supply Chain Resilience) as well as bilateral coordination with allies and partners (including Canada, Mexico, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and Singapore) to develop supply chain principles and plans.
However, the report adds, USTR, DOC, and State have encountered the following challenges in coordinating supply chain resilience engagements with others.
EU-Indonesia FTA negotiations see progress (Vietnam Plus)
Indonesia and the European Union (EU) have made significant progress in the 13th round of negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), including the completion of the chapter related to good regulatory practice (GRP) and the geographical indication section in the chapter related to intellectual property rights.
In a statement released on February 13, the Indonesian Trade Ministry's Director of Bilateral Negotiations, Johni Martha, said that the GRP chapter is the second chapter to be agreed upon by the two sides after the chapter related to hygiene and plant quarantine.
Johni said that the 13th round of negotiations was very important as both sides showed their willingness to push forward the negotiations.
World economy faces growing headwind of services-trade barriers (Economic Times)
The world economy’s recovery from the consequences of the Covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine is increasingly hampered by governments slapping more restrictions on services trade.
According to an OECD index, the average increase in new measures across all sectors was five times higher in 2022 than in 2021. Audio-visual, computer and physical infrastructure services were particularly affected.
“Continued efforts to remove barriers to trade in services are essential to facilitate a strong and sustained economic recovery to strengthen resilience to future shocks and promote a more sustainable trading system,” OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann said.