tralac Daily News
South African farmers want WTO dispute declared over EU citrus rules (Engineering News)
South African citrus farmers want their government to lodge a complaint against the European Union at the World Trade Organisation over the European bloc’s citrus black spot regulations which they say threaten thousands of jobs.
The measures imposed by the EU in June 2022 require enhanced cold treatment for citrus exports due to concerns over False Codling Moth, a pest commonly found in sub-Saharan Africa, and Citrus Black Spot (CBS), a fungal disease which leaves dark spots on fruit. The EU’s plant health rules could cut South Africa’s orange exports to Europe by 20% this year, according to the Citrus Growers Association of Southern Africa (CGA).
South Africa’s citrus industry says its current pest and disease control measures are highly effective and accuses the EU of protectionism.
South African farmers are currently battling electricity and logistics challenges and increased input costs and cannot absorb the additional R2-billion annual cost for CBS risk management, Deon Joubert, the CGA’s special envoy on market access and EU matters, said in a statement. “The CGA calls on the South African government to work with the industry to put a stop to these CBS regulations and fight for South African jobs and revenue. Declaring a WTO dispute is truly a matter of urgency,” Joubert said.
Namibia: African exports reached N$4.9 billion in June (Windhoek Observer)
Namibia exported goods worth N$4.9 billion to African markets in June. At the same time, the country sourced goods from the rest of Africa worth N$4.9 billion, the Namibia Statistic Agency said. In terms of regional composition, the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) emerged as the largest export market during the month of June, contributing 38.8 percent to total exports.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ranked second with a market share of 23.7 percent while the European Union and the South African Development Community excluding SACU accounted for 20.7 percent and 17 percent, respectively. Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) absorbed 15.8 percent of Namibia’s total exports.
On the demand side SACU maintained its position as the largest source of Namibia’s imports with a share of 47.2 percent of the total import bill followed by the OECD market with a contribution of 22.3 percent while (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) came third in the list with a share of 14.3 percent. European Union (EU) and COMESA markets had a share of 13.6 percent and 1.0 percent, respectively.
Namibia’s trade by mode of transport revealed that in June, vast goods were exported via air transport, accounting for 40.9 percent of total exports, followed by sea transport with 34.1 percent and road transport with 25 percent. From the demand side, road transport was the most frequent mode of transport accounting for 59.6 percent of total imports followed by sea transport with 33.8 percent and Air transport with 6.6 percent.
The government is faced with a difficult balancing act of increasing agricultural production and achieving food security by reducing fertiliser prices, while at the same time maintaining attractive producer prices for farmers by protecting them from losses due to low market prices caused by the influx of cheap imported produce.
While the reduction in fertiliser prices from Sh3,500 to Sh2,500 per 50kg bag will reduce production costs, farmers have expressed fears that the entry of cheap maize under the East African Community (EAC) Common Market Protocol ahead of this season’s harvest will destabilise prices and expose them to losses.
Farmers are opposed to allowing market forces of supply and demand to determine maize prices, arguing that the arrival of cheap produce will disadvantage them as they struggle to break even. “The cost of production in the other EAC member states — Tanzania and Uganda — is lower and they harvest their produce before us, allowing them to enjoy favourable market prices,” said Mr Jackson Kosgei in Moiben, Uasin Gishu County.
The Phase 2 of the AfCFTA agreement has been agreed and approved with the various protocols fashioned to promote fair trade and competition among businesses in the Free Trade Area. The agreed protocols, namely intellectual property rights (IPRs), investment and competition policy are expected to enhance competition within the free trade area for improved market efficiency, inclusive growth, and the structural transformation of the African economies, among other objectives.
Breaking the subject down to the public on the Eye on Port TV program, West African Regional Director for global research and advocacy institution, CUTS International, Appiah Kusi Adomako says the competition protocol will present tremendous benefits for not only businesses and corporations but the consuming public in Africa. He explained that it will ultimately ensure that businesses compete freely on the basis of highest possible quality of products for lowest possible price.
He said, presently a number of competition concerns exist citing examples in the maritime transport sector of Ghana. “For example a shipping company, sets up its own logistics firm in the port as well as a freight forwarding firm in a horizontal integration scheme. A problem that can arise is when they decide to give rebates to customers for using their services, driving away competition.”
African nations need to adopt new approaches to realize the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and accelerate the continent’s development, a UN official said Thursday. Ozonnia Ojielo, the UN resident coordinator in Rwanda, told a development policy dialogue in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, that Africa needs to build integrated, diversified and resilient economies more than ever before.
“AfCFTA is a game-changer but translating it into reality requires preparedness and readiness supported by accompanying measures to ensure that countries make the most of this agreement. This is where we all have a role to play,” Ojielo said. “It is not about time to think outside the box. It is time to think without the box.” Ojielo highlighted a range of potential benefits of the AfCFTA, such as providing productive employment and poverty reduction, which he said are some of the urgent challenges that the continent has to address. “But without preparedness, no benefit can be realized,” he warned.
The Chief Executive of the Namibian Ports Authority (Namport), Andrew Kanime stated that the Africa Continental Free Trade Area would boost intra-African trade which is currently not sustainable. Kanime made this statement during the nineteenth Dr Theo-Ben Gurirab lecture series on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA) held in Swakopmund on Thursday.
“The lion-share of African states trade with countries from outside the continent and this is detrimental to the growing African population,” he said. According to Kanime, a mere 15% of trade is intra-African and this is due to several trade barriers that make it difficult to trade among each other.
“It costs US$6000 to move a container from Walvis Bay to Ivory Coast, which is just around the corner. It first has to be shipped to Singapore before being transferred to Ivory Coast. However, from Walvis Bay to China it would only cost US$1400, meaning it is more than four times more expensive to trade with another African country,” said Kanime.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has warned Nigeria and other African countries to prepare for higher food prices. Speaking at a media briefing on Thursday, Isobel Coleman, USAID’s deputy administrator for policy and programming, attributed the development to Russia’s recent decision to abandon the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
Coleman said the impact of the hike in food prices would be more felt in developing countries that were import-dependent, and had conventionally relied on grain imports from Ukraine. She said just in the last few weeks since pulling out of the initiative, the government of Ukraine estimated that Putin’s missiles and drone attacks have destroyed 180,000 metric tons of Ukrainian grains sitting in storage. According to her, the grain is sufficient to feed almost 12 million people for a month.
“It is very, very important to keep in mind is that countries that import grains, those grains are global commodities and they are priced globally. And taking off from the market one of the world’s largest breadbaskets – Ukraine – by doing that, Russia is increasing global food prices,” Coleman said.
China isn’t the only Asian country expanding its trade with Africa (Atlantic Council)
When it comes to Asia-Africa trade, many think of China first. But Beijing is not the only country growing ties. Take South Korea, traditionally a minor partner to the continent. In recent years, Seoul has accelerated trade, investment, and development initiatives—expanding trading volumes significantly. For African economies, this means another potential partner—and an alternative source of financing—as the continent seeks jobs for its growing population. In 2022, year-over-year growth of bilateral trade volumes was 29 percent, totaling over $20 billion.
While China has historically accounted for the largest share of trade growth between Africa and Asia, trade has also grown rapidly with other major economies in Asia. India has emerged as a particularly important partner. Since 2000, India-Africa trade has grown more than twenty-fold to over $97 billion in bilateral trading volumes, now exceeding that with the United States.
African trade patterns with these other partners are similar. As is the case for China, countries like India and South Korea mostly import raw materials (especially fuels and commodities) from Africa, while exporting more manufactured goods. But there are key differences. Unlike with China, these trade relationships with Africa are also considerably more balanced. Africa’s $47 billion trade deficit with China in 2022 (16.7 percent of total trade volume) far exceeded its $4.5 billion (4.6 percent) and $1.7 billion (9.6 percent) deficits with India and South Korea, respectively.