tralac Daily News
COMESA will soon launch an Online Platform for Trade in Services that will be used to facilitate speedy and efficient negotiations and provide digital communication, thanks to the African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank) which has helped develop the platform.
Since Wednesday this week, officials from the 21 COMESA Member States, who deal with trade in services matters have been attending a training in Lusaka, Zambia (and online), on how to use the platform.
The forum also presented an opportunity to validate two studies that have been conducted to assess the status of trade in business services and construction services in the region, to facilitate negotiations in those two sub-sectors. Also participating in the training were COMESA Secretariat staff that handle trade matters and information, communication technology.
In its report tracking trends in South Africa’s agricultural sector, Absa Agribusiness has raised concern that the sector increasingly runs the risk of losing access to lucrative export markets, boding badly for the citrus industry’s R30 billion export revenue.
“Over the last year, we’ve seen markets being affected by increased protocols, hampering oranges and export revenue … we have similar concerns about citrus black spot (disease),” Marlene Louw, senior agricultural economist at Absa said.
She added that with fertiliser and chemical costs having risen significantly over the past year, farmers’ spraying programmes may be compromised, increasing the likelihood of a higher prevalence of citrus black spot, which will affect long-term access to the European market.
The industry suffered a blow last year, when the EU’s Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed voted in a new requirement which forces southern African countries, including South Africa, to implement extreme cold treatment to tackle false codling moth (FCM).
If EU authorities continue to enforce the cold-treatment laws, South Africa’s citrus industry looks to incur hundreds of millions of rand in additional costs.
Nigeria has failed to benefit from multibillion-dollar agricultural items exported from West Africa due to non-certification of its farm produce such as yam, mangoes, shrimps, garlic, ginger and others.
Industry stakeholder and Director, Operations, Cargolux Airlines, Kingsley Nwokoma, told THISDAY that because Nigeria does not have the certifications for farm produce it is losing huge revenue in foreign exchange projected to be over $1 billion per annum.
“Most of the superstores in Europe have started selling most African farm produce and before they will buy your produce the must make sure you meet their safety conditions. We have what they call traceability. They follow you to your farm and make sure you abide by the stringent conditions to ensure that what you produce meet their health standard. This is because if anyone comes to their stores and buys those produce and get killed they will be sued and they pay huge compensations. So the food is traced to the farms. The superstores know the fertilizer you must use and they will follow you up to harvest. Unfortunately, we lack this process,” Nwokoma who is also the President of the Association of Foreign Airlines and Representatives in Nigeria (AFRAN), said.
Nigeria: Pantami inaugurates Digital Economy Community of Practice (Daily Post Nigeria)
Minister of Communication, Isa Ali Pantami on Thursday inaugurated a Digital Economy Community of Practice, DECoP.
The inauguration was done in conjunction with the Policy Innovation Centre (PIC) of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) in Abuja.
Speaking at the event, the minister said that the digital economy centre has been doing well building and consolidating Nigeria’s economy.
He also used the opportunity to point out that the rejection of the 5% excise duty was necessary to avoid jeopardising the growth and development the sector has recorded.
Trade representatives nominated by government in different parts of the world must get involved in gathering market intelligence to support exporters, Uganda National Bureau of Standards has said.
Speaking during the Trade Representatives’ Forum in Kampala yesterday, Mr David Livingstone Ebiru, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) executive director, said for a long time Ugandan exporters have been trading blindly without having in-depth knowledge of markets they trade in, which makes many of them fail to meet standards and specifications of consumers.
Therefore, he said: “Going forward our trade representatives must be able to participate in doing market research, so that they give us information”, especially in the area of standards and other requirements for Ugandans to trade comfortably.
Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said Wednesday that she considers Morocco among the attractive countries for the diversification of value chains.
Speaking at the Annual Conference on Economic Policy of the National Association for Business Economists, she recommended the use of diversified supply chains, instead of focusing on the relocation of industries.
“World Trade Organization members should diversify their supply chains to business-friendly developing countries that have not fully enjoyed the benefits of global trade,” she stressed, noting that this would help improve global public perception of trade and reduce the need for countries to use subsidies to encourage relocation.
The geographic location of Mozambique is attractive for international movement of people and goods but exerts pressure on all entities operating at borders. This therefore calls for effective and efficient coordination between public bodies and the private sector at the borders to improve fiscal control, public security, as well as facilitating trade and migratory transit.
This was said by Mr. Fernando Alage, Deputy Director General of Customs, Mozambique Revenue Authority, when he opened a workshop on the country’s Coordinated Border Management (CBM) National Strategy held in Maputo from 27th March to 30th March 2023. The workshop was aimed to enhance coordination and cooperation among Government ministries, departments and agencies, as well as representatives of private sector organisations that have a role in facilitating cross-border trade and the clearance of travelers.
At the end of the workshop, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat handed over the CBM National Strategy document to Mozambique, which became the first SADC Member State to develop the strategy which is supported by the European Union (EU)-funded Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP) and is implemented by the Secretariat. The TFP seeks to ensure that trade flows within SADC Region and with the outside world are increased along the North-South Corridor NSC, supports the implementation of the World Trade Organisation Trade Facilitation Agreement and the SADC CBM Guidelines on selected border posts along the corridor.
US promises more support for Tanzania’s development (The Citizen)
Dar es Salaam. Impressed by widening democratic space in Tanzania, the US yesterday pledged to support long-term economic development in the country.
US Vice President Kamala Harris said in Dar es Salaam that Washington was looking forward to fostering bilateral relations with Tanzania in key areas such as economic growth, good governance and democracy, mitigation of the impact of climate change, as well as regional and global integration.
In support of bilateral engagement between the two countries, the US intends to provide $560 million (sh1.3 trillion) in assistance in the 2023/24 financial year.
Free movement deemed essential to trade (China Daily)
African countries have been called upon to promote the free movement of people across their borders to boost intra-African trade, especially at this critical moment in the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.
While concluding a two-day review of a report by the African Union Commission on Wednesday in Kenya's capital Nairobi, experts asked African countries to ratify the Free Movement of Persons Protocol adopted by AU member states in 2018.
While giving his comments on the AU's Policy Report, titled "The Free Movement of Persons for Trade: Towards an Accelerated Ratification of the AU Free Movement of Persons Protocol in Support of the implementation of the AfCFTA", Stephen Karingi, a director at the UN Economic Commission for Africa, said the slow ratification of the protocol can be attributed to a lack of appreciation of the benefits of free movement of persons, lack of awareness of the protocol and lack of political will.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is striving for the usage of local currencies in trade among countries in the continent, an official said Thursday.
Cross-border trading among countries in the Economic Community of West African States is already happening through the use of local currencies instead of the use of U.S. dollars, said Wamkele Mene, secretary general of the AfCFTA Secretariat, on the sidelines of a trade forum in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.
"We now want to expand to other regional blocs including the East African Community which is in talks with the African Export-Import Bank," Mene said.
Russia – South Africa Bilateral Trade Up 16.4% In 2022 (Russia Briefing)
Bilateral trade between Russia and South Africa, both BRICS nations, was up 16.4% in 2022 compared to the previous year and reached US$ 1.3 billion, Russian Natural Resources Minister Alexander Kozlov said during a meeting of the Russia-South Africa Intergovernmental Commission.
The potential for cooperation between the countries is much greater and there are underlying conditions for boosting trade volumes, Kozlov said.
“Undoubtedly, the unprecedented sanctions against Russia have a negative impact on opportunities for trade growth. Under these conditions, it is necessary to come up with new forms of cooperation in the financial sector. I expect that in the very near future we will be able to carry out practical work in this direction and build an effective system of settlements,” the minister said. The BRICS has been working on developing a BRICS currency trade basket made up of their own currencies.
New Delhi (PTI): India on Friday came out with a 'dynamic and responsive' foreign trade policy with the objective of raising the country's outward shipments to USD 2 trillion by 2030, making Indian Rupee a global currency and incentivising e-commerce exports.
The approach of Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2023 is to move from 'incentive to remission' based regime; encourage collaboration between exporters, states, districts and Indian Missions; reduce transaction cost; and develop more export hubs.
India is likely to cross USD 765 billion merchandise and services exports in financial year 2022-23 which ends on Friday. The total exports were USD 676 billion in previous fiscal year.
Unlike the practice of 5-year FTPs, this time the government has come out with a dynamic and responsive trade policy without any end date, and will be updated as per the emerging global scenario.
Public Forum 2023 to examine how trade can contribute to a greener, more sustainable future (World Trade Organization)
The WTO’s annual Public Forum, to be held from 12 to 15 September 2023, will focus this year on how trade can contribute to a greener, more sustainable future. The Forum will examine in particular how the services sector, digitalisation and inclusive trade policies can support global environmental goals and help combat the climate crisis.
Titled “It is Time for Action”, the Public Forum will cover three main topics: “The role of the services sector in sustainable trade,” “Inclusive policies for the advancement of green trade,” and “Digitalisation as a tool for the greening of supply chains.”
Sessions at the Public Forum are organised by representatives from civil society, academia, business, government and international organisations. A call for proposals and registration are due to open in early May 2023.
The UK will join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a vast free trade area of 11 countries spanning the Indo-Pacific, the Prime Minister has announced today [Friday 31March].
The historic agreement follows two years of intense negotiations by the Department for Business and Trade and puts the UK at the heart of a dynamic group of economies, as the first European member and first new member since CPTPP was created. We would not have been able to join as a member of the EU, demonstrating how the UK is seizing the opportunities of our new post-Brexit trade freedoms to drive jobs and growth across the country.
The bloc is home to more 500 million people and will be worth 15% of global GDP once the UK joins. It is estimated that joining will boost the UK economy by £1.8 billion in the long run, with wages also forecast to rise by £800 million compared to 2019 levels.
Union Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday urged G20 member countries to find common solutions to address gaps in the global trading system. He was speaking at the closing of the three-day 1st G20 Trade and Investment Working Group (TIWG) meeting which was held in Mumbai.
“TIWG has an important role in formulating concrete outcomes for inclusive growth that drive trade and investment across [the] Global South, and not among G20 member countries only,” Mr Goyal said.
Advocating for equitable distribution of the benefits of global trade by and among all countries, including developing and least-developed countries (LDCs), he said there must be progress towards a new world that is driven by collaboration, sustainable growth and a solutions-oriented mindset.
Bangladesh highlighted how it has rightly utilized the EU's EBA trade facility, which has directly contributed to socioeconomic development and transformed the lives of millions
The European Union (EU) has reiterated its commitment to supporting Bangladesh for a sustainable and smooth transition in its graduation from the least-developed country (LDC) status.
Expressing the view during meetings held in Brussels on Wednesday, the members of the European Parliament and senior officials of the European Commission commended Bangladesh on its development trajectory and reiterated the EU's commitment to supporting Bangladesh for a sustainable and smooth transition in its LDC graduation, reads a press release issued Thursday.
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economies must strengthen their positions in global value chains to bolster resilience against new challenges, including future pandemics, geopolitical instability, and climate change, says an Asian Development Bank (ADB) report released on Thursday.
The report ASEAN and Global Value Chains: Locking in Resilience and Sustainability surveys the challenges and opportunities facing global value chains in Southeast
Asia as countries seek to build greater resilience and promote sustainability and green development, according to Xinhua “As ASEAN countries continue their recovery from COVID-19, we must ensure that economic revitalisation happens in a greener and more sustainable way,” ADB.