Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

IATA urges South Africa to prioritise country’s aviation sector (Engineering News)

The global representative body for the airline industry, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), on Tuesday called on the new South African Government to continue to prioritise aviation sector development in the country, as a key impetus for economic growth and job creation. (With no party having won a majority in the recent elections, the country now had a new, broad-based, ruling coalition, called the Government of National Unity.) IATA was currently holding its Wings of Change Focus Africa Conference, in Johannesburg.

“South Africa’s aviation industry is poised for significant growth over the next 20 years, adding 345-million additional passenger journeys by 2043,” highlighted IATA Regional VP Africa and the Middle East Kamil Alawadhi. “With aviation generating $6 in economic activity for every $1 spent, this expansion will inject billions into South Africa’s [gross domestic product] and create thousands of new jobs. It is important for the new Government to keep this as a strategic focus. The economic and social benefits of aviation will be maximised with a sharp policy focus on keeping costs low, providing sufficient capacity to grow, monitoring the cost-effectiveness of regulations, and achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

New trade and industry leadership expected to use industrial policy levers to support key sectors (Engineering News)

With industrial policy back in fashion in many economies, business and policy specialists expect new Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Parks Tau to prioritise measures to support key sectors, including those aligned to the emerging green economy. The former Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister and City of Johannesburg Executive Mayor has been appointed to the position in the government of national unity (GNU) together with two deputies, Zuko Godlimpi, also of the African National Congress, and Andrew Whitfield, of the Democratic Alliance.

In welcoming the appointments, Business Unity South Africa (Busa) CEO designate Khulekani Mathe told Engineering News that he expected dtic’s new political leaders to prioritise the enhancement of the country’s industrial policy to support key sectors, while also promoting innovation and ensuring sustainable industrial development. “Given the ongoing challenges posed by economic downturns and global disruptions, Busa emphasises the need for policies that support economic recovery and growth. “This includes measures to attract investment, boost industrial productivity, and enhance trade competitiveness,” Mathe said.

Shaky economy could hamper Mnangagwa’s Brics ambition (The Zimbabwe)

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa says Zimbabwe is now ready to join the Brics grouping as it has a stable currency, but economic analysts argue that the country is yet to meet the basic fundamentals of a stable economy. Brics — short for Brazil, Russia, Inda, China and South Africa — has evolved from a group promoting investments into a geopolitical bloc positioning itself as a counterweight to North America and the European Union. It now also includes Iran, Egypt, Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates.

Zimbabwe, which has been isolated due to a poor human rights record, has been using every opportunity to re-engage, and is eyeing admission to the Brics bloc. Mnangagwa has been pinning hopes of admission to the Brics grouping on the Zimbabwe Gold currency, introduced in April by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) — replacing the Zimbabwe dollar which was continually shedding value against the United States dollar.

“When we apply, the Brics will interrogate our economy and the basis of the approach of which we are applying. We are suffering from the fluctuations of an incurred currency. So one time, you know, the inflation could fly in our face. We decided that we need a currency, a solid currency based on our gold reserves. And, that is what we have done. So our currency is now called ZIG, which is Zimbabwe Gold.” While Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe is ready, economic analyst Professor Gift Mugano said Zimbabwe is yet to meet the fundamentals of a stable economy, with the new currency not yet fully available on the market.

Zim trade deficit falls 24pc (The Herald)

Zimbabwe’s trade deficit decreased by 23,8 percent in May this year to US$151,1 million, according to the latest report from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat). The statistics agency said in May, exports amounted to US$583 million while imports totalled US$734,1 million.

The country now depends on imports for some products it used to produce following the nearly two-decade economic crisis, since the turn of the century, which caused a plunge in production across sectors, hence the trade deficit.

Prices of Kenya’s imported second-hand cars fall as shilling rallies against dollar (The East African)

The Kenyan prices of some popular brands of imported second-hand cars have dropped by double-digits between January and this month, driven by the shilling’s rally against the dollar. Dealers said that prices have been easing since the start of the year, offering relief to price-sensitive Kenyans who opt for the used units.

A 2017 Landcruiser Prado TX for instance now goes for Ksh4.5 million ($0.036 million) compared to Ksh5.3 million ($0.0424m) at the start of the year, or a 17.7 percent drop, while a used 2017 Subaru Outback is now retailing at Ksh2.5 million ($ 0.02m), down from Ksh3 million ($0.024m) in January-a 16.6 percent drop. The price drops offer relief to Kenyans who had been forced to shelve purchases of second-hand cars last year when prices skyrocketed amid the shilling’s woes against the dollar.

The dollar is the currency used in Kenya to pay for imported goods, including motor vehicles, fuel, and furniture and a strengthening of the shilling has the impact of lowering the cost of the imports.

Prices of cooking oil, mobile phones, diapers to go up as EAC gazettes new taxes (Citizen Digital)

The cost of basic goods like cooking oil, diapers and electronics like phones and television sets is about to rise after the East African Community approved measures on import duty rates in the region. The East African Community (EAC) has published a gazette notice itemizing the approved measures on import duty rates in the EAC External Tariff (EAC CET).

Kenya has imposed a 10% import duty on crude palm oil which means the price of cooking fat and margarine for the next year. Other refined oils which have been slapped with higher taxes are; Refined soybean oil, RDB Palm Olein, Sunflower oil, and refined corn oil which Kenya has imposed a duty rate of 25% for one year.

The timing of the notice comes at a dicey time when the Kenyan government which dropped its controversial Finance Bill after intense protests led by the youth.

pdf EAC Gazette No. 18 of 30th June 2024 (Regarding Customs matters) (1.91 MB)

Kenya Reduces Importation Rates for Mitumba From Ksh51 to Ksh26 Under New EAC Directive (Kenyans.co.ke)

Kenya will have the most favourable terms to import worn clothes popularly known as Mitumba among all East African Community (EAC) countries. Initially, the importation of Mitumba was subjected to a CET rate of 35 per cent or USD0.4/Kg or whichever is higher. “Kenya to stay application of the EAC CET rate and apply a duty rate of 35 per cent or USD0.20/Kg whichever is higher for one year,” the Gazette explained Kenya’s new directive on worn-out clothes.

According to EAC, the new rates will be applicable for the 2024/25 financial year before being subjected to another revision. Other EAC countries have placed uniform CET rates for traders wanting to venture in the Mitumba industry. “Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania to stay application of the EAC CET rate of 35% or USD0.40 / Kg whichever is higher and apply a duty rate of 35 per cent for one year,” the Gazette notice read in part.

Kenya Agoa exports dip denies traders dollar boon (Nation)

Kenya’s export earnings to the US under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) dipped a marginal 1.65 per cent last year, new data shows, hit by an overall drop in shipments of apparel products and denying traders gains during a period when the shilling had substantially weakened against the dollar.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in a newly published report said that Kenya exported products worth Sh65.77 billion ($510million) to the US under the Agoa scheme in 2023, bucking a growth trend from the previous year when Washington took up goods worth Sh66.88bllion ($517million) from the East Africa nation.

“Kenya, Madagascar, and Lesotho were significant suppliers of apparel under Agoa in 2023,” USTR said in its report, noting that overall US apparel imports from all Agoa-eligible countries, however, fell to $1.1 billion (Sh141.88 billion) in 2023 from $1.4 billion (Sh180.57billion) in 2021. The dip in Agoa fortunes means that Kenyans missed a dollar windfall through 2023 when the shilling plummeted to record levels against the greenback.

AGOA: Nigeria’s goods import soar to $47.5b (The Guardian Nigeria)

Nigeria has emerged the largest source of imports under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), with a total of $3.8 billion in the first half of 2024, as the major supplier of crude oil under the Act. This is an improvement from $3.6 billion in 2023 and up from $1.2 billion in 2021. This was contained in the 2024 biennial report on the implementation of the AGOA, released by the office of the United States Trade Representative yesterday.

According to the report, total two-way goods trade with sub-Saharan Africa totaled $47.5 billion in 2023, a 6.2 per cent increase from $44.7 billion in 2021. U.S. goods exports were $18.2 billion in 2023, up 10.4 per cent from $16.5 billion in 2021. U.S. goods imports were $29.3 billion in 2023, up 3.8 per cent from $28.2 billion in 2021.

U.S. goods imports under AGOA (including GSP) totaled $9.7 billion in 2023, up from $6.8 billion in 2021 but down from $10.2 billion in 2022. This upward trend in imports the report said, was mainly driven by increased imports of crude oil. South Africa was the second-largest AGOA exporter in 2023, behind Nigeria with $3.6 billion in 2023, followed by Kenya ($510 million), Ghana ($340 million), Madagascar ($339 million) and Angola ($260 million).

While Nigeria is one of the eligible countries under AGOA, the report raised concerns over the country’s continuous import prohibitions to protect certain sectors of the economy, despite these efforts being widely viewed as ineffective and contributing to food insecurity, corruption, and exacerbating poverty.

pdf 2024 Biennial Report on Implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (USTR) (985 KB)

Northern Corridor states push for shorter Tanzania freights route (The East African)

Countries backing the Northern Corridor—a regional road connectivity project—are seeking to woo Tanzania to allow cargo headed to Burundi, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to pass through its borders to shorten transit time and ease costs in a bid to boost the attractiveness of the Mombasa port. The Northern Corridor, a network of 1,700 km long interconnected highways, starts from the port of Mombasa and serves Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Eastern DRC.

A meeting of ministers of transport from the six-member countries of the Northern Corridor last week ordered the secretariat Northern Corridor Transit and Coordination Authority (NCTTCA) to initiate talks with Tanzania over the proposal. If successful, Northern Corridor trucks that have traditionally had to take the longer route from Mombasa through Uganda to Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will take the shorter way through Tanzania, cutting about 400 kilometres of the travel distance.

The council of ministers, chaired by Uganda’s Minister of Works and Transport Katumba Wamala, said using the route, which passes through Taveta into Holili in Tanzania, will “not only reduce costs of transit transport but also increase Mombasa Port throughput.”

The route is currently not being used by transporters because Tanzania, which is also seeking to boost the throughput at the Dar es Salaam port and the Central Corridor, has not geofenced it, preventing its use by cargo trucks destined for other countries. The East African Community (EAC) customs union requires that trucks ferrying imported commodities be tracked using the Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System Currently, truckers that opt for the short Taveta-Holili route have to deposit a “bond” for the cargo at the Mombasa port, submit it at the border, wait for its cancellation, then institute another one for Tanzania, a process that normally takes at least three days.

Report on the implementation of the Investment Policy Review of The Gambia (UNCTAD)

The Investment Policy Review (IPR) of the Gambia was published in 2017. It provided an analysis of the investment strategic, legal and institutional framework and recommendations to enhance it. It also developed a strategy to promote foreign direct investment (FDI) in priority sectors.

The IPR provides concrete and tailored recommendations with the aim of improving an economy’s or region’s investment climate, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and national development goals. Reports to assess the implementation of the recommendations are produced a few years after the publication of the IPR at the request of the beneficiary country. They aim to identify additional technical assistance needs and suggest recommendations to assist countries in strengthening further their investment framework and business environment.

In 2023, the Government of the Gambia requested UNCTAD to assess the implementation of the IPR recommendations and chart a way forward to further improve the investment and business environment.

Trade Policy Review: Mozambique (WTO)

During 2017-23, Mozambique continued to depend heavily on imported food, agricultural inputs, and refined petroleum products, whereas its export basket was dominated by coal, aluminium, and natural gas. Mozambique remained a net importer of services throughout that period. Aggregate two-way trade flows ranged between 92.8% and 137.7% of GDP, partly on account of Mozambique’s position as a regional gateway to international markets. Mozambique also continued to attract significant foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows, which were mostly driven by large extractive industry projects (natural gas, coal, and minerals).

During the review period, Mozambique revised its tariff and customs clearance legislation and continued to develop its Electronic Single Window (JUE) for foreign trade. The authorities also eliminated the compulsory use of customs brokers and discontinued preshipment inspection, albeit without formally revoking the legal basis for the latter. Notwithstanding the significant improvements made to import, export, and transit formalities, further trade facilitation efforts could focus on increasing transparency and making all trade-related registration, licensing, and authorization procedures executable electronically.

Enact Enforceable Local Content Laws to Build Capacity (MarketForces Africa)

Dr Ernest Azudialu-Obiejesi, Chairman of Nestoil Limited has called for the enactment of Local Content Laws that are enforceable to build and protect local capacity. Azudialu-Obiejesi made the call on Monday during a panel session on “Exportation of Local Capacity: Maximising Regional Opportunities’’ at the ongoing Nigerian oil and Gas conference in Abuja.

“The Nigeria Content Development and Management Board (NCDMB) has done quite well but we still have setbacks due to how these laws are enforced,” he said. Azudialu-Obiejesi said that effective implementation of laws was necessary to grow local capacity, while projects should be awarded to companies with proven capacity. He called for a change in the implementation of the Nigerian content policy that allowed contracts to be awarded to companies with lowest bid in spite of apparent lack of capacity to deliver the jobs.

According to him, if a country has enough capacity to make it a net exporter to African countries, it is paramount to address the factors limiting growth in country. “We can export the capacity in the oil and gas industry to other countries but exporting them means that we need to ensure that we will have those companies that are in Nigeria already developed. “The countries are expected to entrench all those capacities in terms of human resources, experiences, capital and equipment for export,’’ he said.

Stakeholders Join Forces to advance Ethiopia’s AfCFTA Implementation Strategy (UNECA)

The Ethiopian Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration (MoTRI) in collaboration with the Policy Studies Institute (PSI) with support from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) organized a National Forum for the development of National African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Implementation Strategy. The event gathered over 70 participants from various sectors, including private industries, government representatives, academia, youth, women, and developmental partners.

In his opening remarks, Gebremeskel Chala, Minister of MoTRI reiterated the government’s commitment to fostering open minds for ideas and open markets for trade. He also expressed appreciation for PSI’s involvement and ECA’s assistance in developing the Ethiopia National AfCFTA Implementation Strategy. The Minister highlighted that the forum, with its wide-ranging stakeholder representation, is a crucial step towards establishing a successful National AfCFTA implementation Strategy.

Representing the ECA, Stephen Karingi, Director of Regional Integration and Trade Division (RITD) expressed appreciation to Global Affairs Canada (GAC) for their unwavering support in advancing Africa’s integration agenda, including the support provided to Ethiopia in developing its National AfCFTA Implementation Strategy. He noted that consultative and inclusive forums have proven to be the most effective format, based on experiences with other AfCFTA State Parties in developing their national strategies.

Tunisia working to speed up integration on African continent (African Manager)

“Since March 2023, Tunisia has set up a national committee in charge of monitoring the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) negotiations and implementing the necessary conditions for its operationalisation,” said Minister of Trade and Export Development Kalthoum Ben Rejeb on Monday during a meeting with AfCFTA Secretary-General Wamkele Mene. She added that this initiative demonstrates “Tunisia’s commitment to accelerate its integration at the African level”.

She noted that customs services and chambers of commerce have adopted the AfCFTA certificate of origin, adding that 93 export transactions have so far been carried out under this framework. Ben Rejeb also highlighted initiatives taken by Tunisia to strengthen its continental integration, including the creation of the African Centre for Digital Trade. She noted that Tunisia is proposing to host the headquarters of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO).

Among the projects requiring financial and technical support from the AfCFTA Secretariat and other African donors, she mentioned the Tunisia-Libya continental trade corridor towards sub-Saharan African countries, which was officially launched in August 2023. This trade corridor was part of the discussions with the AfCFTA Secretary General as “a project of national and strategic priority”.

Free Trade Agreement: U.S., Morocco committed to enhancing Partnership (MAP)

During the opening session of the event, attended by Morocco’s ambassador to the U.S., Youssef Amrani, and a host of American officials, the emphasis was put on the means to be implemented in order to further develop trade relations between Morocco and the United States and to give more dynamism to the free trade agreement, mainly in the sectors of agriculture, textiles, investment, and automobile.

“The exceptional dynamic triggered during the twenty years of implementation of our FTA is rich in progress and substantial achievements,” stressed the minister. He insisted on the need to redouble efforts to “fully capitalize on our cooperation and complete all outstanding issues to achieve even more fruitful and mutually beneficial outcomes.”

In this sense, he raised a series of priority issues linked to access for Moroccan products to the American market and vice versa, addressing several aspects related to overcoming non-tariff barriers. He also touched upon several structuring aspects of trade between the two countries, notably cooperation in the fields of agriculture, textile, automobile and investment. Agriculture is an essential aspect of this cooperation, recalled the minister, adding that access for Moroccan agricultural products to the American market remains below Morocco’s ambitions and its export potential.

Sustainable development solution to poverty, workers’ agitations, climate change - Prof. Na-Alla (Tribune Onilne)

The pursuit of sustainable development is a powerful elixir capable of solving many socioeconomic challenges such as poverty, hunger, workers agitation for a living wage, climate change impact, insecurity and many others, faced by the human society, said the out-gone Vice Chancellor of the University of Abuja, Professor Abdul-Rasheed Na-Alla.

He also noted that government at all levels, institutions of higher learning and private sector organisations must align with the United Nations outlined sustainable development goals, in an effort to tackle the multi-faceted challenges that faces Nigeria as a nation.

Prof. Na-Alla said this when he addressed newsmen as that sideline of the University of Abuja Centre for Sustainable Development banquet and award ceremony held at the Armed Forces Officers Mess and Suites in Abuja.

“Poverty is biting harder in our country today and we are all experiencing it in one way or the other. The idea of sustainable development goals put together by the United Nations is targeting to mobilise governments and everyone towards finding solutions to all the challenges that are fighting the progress, development and prosperity of the human society. “If we are not intentional and serious about finding solutions to the challenges that are worsening hunger, poverty, insecurity, diseases, agitations by workers and many other groups, we all will suffer the consequences.

‘EAC varying agriculture sector rules complicating investments’ (IPP)

EACH member country in the East African Community and in the wider context has its unique set of rules and regulations, making investment navigation a formidable enterprise, a diplomat has declared. Bart Pauwels, the agricultural counsellor for Kenya and Tanzania in the local mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, made this observation at a round table discussion here on recent Budget measures, with key stakeholders in the horticulture industry.

While contributors cited key challenges faced by foreign companies operating here, they affirmed that Tanzania has obtained upwards of euro 8.4m from exporting high-quality horticultural seeds.

“Foreign companies often encounter challenges that are vastly different from those they face at home,” the diplomat noted, indicating that to address these issues, the Dutch government via its foreign missions makes efforts to smooth out business operations for companies operating outside.

“Our primary goals are to keep companies informed about relevant policies and to connect them with essential stakeholders,” he stated, asserting that this approach facilitates easier business operations and promotes mutual growth. Local experts underscored the critical role of collaboration between governments and institutions in solving problems faced by foreign companies, by fostering strong relationships.

ECOWAS Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway Development Project reviews the Interim Report on the Trade and Transport Facilitation Study in Lomé (ECOWAS)

The Directorate of Transport of the ECOWAS Commission, in close collaboration with the Directorates of Trade, Customs & Taxation and Free Movement coordinated a technical workshop to review and validate the Interim Report on the Trade and Transport Facilitation Study of the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway in Lomé, Togo from June 27 to 29, 2024.

As part of the implementation of the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway Development Project, the ECOWAS Commission commissioned a consultant to develop a comprehensive Trade and Transport Facilitation framework to guide the operations of the Corridor Highway in terms of cross-border trade, customs, movement of goods, vehicles and persons along the Corridor.

The framework is expected to reflect existing International, Continental and Regional on texts on Trade and Transport facilitation to provide a simplified corridor-wide trade, transport and transit system that will ensure a seamless and free-flowing corridor with very minimal or no stops from beginning to end. It covers specific provisions for corridor connectivity, transit regimes, preferred trader schemes, cross-border vehicle insurance, integrated border management, ICT connectivity and information sharing on customs, immigration and corridor facilitation areas at National and Regional levels.

The Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway is part of the greater Dakar-Lagos Corridor which is a catalyst for Regional Integration and Sustainable Development and is one of the flagship priority development programmes of ECOWAS.

SADC and India sign Memorandum of Understanding on Economic Cooperation (SADC)

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Government of the Republic of India on 02 July 2024 signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Economic Cooperation.

The MoU establishes a framework for strengthening economic cooperation between India and SADC, considering the regional priorities of SADC enshrined in the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP 2020-2030) and the SADC Digital Transformation Strategy. Through the MoU, SADC and India will, amongst others, cooperate in the following areas: Industrialization; Human and Social Development: New and Emerging Technologies; Digital Public

Afreximbank Invests in Project to Rejuvenate AfriCaribbean Trade and Cultural Ties (Afreximbank)

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has signed an agreement to avail a Project Preparation Facility in favour of the of Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas to develop and implement an Afro-Caribbean Marketplace. Once implemented, the Afro-Caribbean Marketplace will comprise 90 outlets dedicated to the sale of authentically African and Caribbean products from more than 54 African countries, 20 Caribbean states, 16 islands of the Bahamas and a transshipment hub to be located at the grounds of the former International Bazaar and Royal Oasis Tower and Casino in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island.

When completed, the project is expected to transform Grand Bahama into a major trade and cultural hub, enhance The Bahamas’ strategic position in global maritime networks, foster economic growth, create jobs, and strengthen ties between African and Caribbean nations. The marketplace will boost SME growth, and foster cultural exchange, thereby contributing to the overall economic and social development of The Bahamas. The project preparation facility of US$ 1.86 million will fund essential pre-development activities that will advance the project to bankability, whereupon this is expected to unlock further investments estimated at US$ 50 million.

Afreximbank and the WTO Secretariat harmonize efforts to develop trade in Africa (Afreximbank)

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the World Trade Organization (WTO) to amplify the impact of their strategically aligned joint efforts of promoting global trade leveraging Africa’s unique resource endowment. The MoU will allow the two organizations to pursue a collaborative framework for harmonizing and coordinating their efforts towards deepening key trade development activities on the continent.

Afreximbank and the WTO are part of an inter-agency partnership that is championing transformative change in the cotton industry in Africa’s Cotton-4 plus (C4+) countries, which include Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali as well as Côte d’Ivoire as an observer. The MOU will afford the Bank and the WTO Secretariat the opportunity to expand and deepen their collaboration to support the cotton sector beyond the C4+ countries. Their support will entail development of local and regional value chains of cotton in Africa as well as their integration into the global value chain.

Another area of collaboration under the understanding will be on Trade Finance matters, addressing non-tariff barriers to trade, the digital economy, capacity building, the oceans’ economic and fisheries subsidies, the sports and creative economies and trading in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

Global Trade Update: Special insight – Trade and industrial policy (July 2024) (UNCTAD)

Global trade trends turned positive in the first quarter of 2024, with the value of trade in goods increasing by around 1% quarter-over-quarter and services by about 1.5%.This surge, fueled by positive trade dynamics for the United States and developing countries, particularly large Asian developing economies, is expected to add approximately $250 billion to goods trade and $100 billion to services trade in the first half of 2024 compared to the second half of 2023.Global forecasts for GDP growth remain at around 3% for 2024, with the short-term trade outlook being cautiously optimistic. If positive trends persist, global trade in 2024 could reach almost $32 trillion, yet it is unlikely to surpass its record level seen in 2022.

Trade in developing countries and South-South trade increased by about 2% in both imports and exports during the first quarter. In comparison, developed countries saw flat imports and a modest 1% rise in exports. On an annual basis, however, South-South trade fell by 5% when comparing the first quarter of 2023 to the first quarter of 2024.

pdf Global Trade Update, July 2024 (UNCTAD) (2.61 MB)

Goods trade posts 1% growth in the first quarter of 2024 after 2023 plateau (WTO)

The volume of world merchandise trade turned up in the first quarter of 2024 after remaining flat throughout 2023, according to the latest trade statistics released by the WTO. Merchandise trade as measured by the average of exports and imports was up 1.0% in the first quarter compared to the previous quarter. Trade in the first quarter was also up 1.4% compared to the same period in 2023.

Most regions contributed positively to the upturn in trade volume, with Europe remaining a notable exception as its exports and imports continued to decline. These are the first quarterly trade volume statistics released by the WTO since its most recent trade forecast was issued on 10 April in the organization’s Global Trade Outlook and Statistics report.

Members advance Sixth Review of SPS Agreement, address trade concerns (WTO)

WTO members made further progress on the Sixth Review of the Operation and Implementation of the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) at a meeting of the SPS Committee on 25-28 June. They also discussed numerous trade concerns and acknowledged the Declaration adopted at the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC13) on enhancing the implementation of special and differential treatment provisions in the SPS Agreement and the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade.

Members discussed 21 proposals for the Sixth Review, covering a wide variety of topics, such as: addressing modern challenges and emerging risks, voluntary third-party assurance programmes, regionalization, technology, transparency, and maximum residue levels. A thematic session discussed the uptake of digital tools, in particular the electronic phytosanitary certificate solution developed by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), with linkages to the work of the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF).

Working group on small business considers future topics for discussion (WTO)

At its meeting on 1 July, the Informal Working Group (IWG) on Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) considered possible topics for discussion in their future work. The Group welcomed Mauritius, Cabo Verde and Maldives as new participants, bringing the total number of WTO members taking part in the initiative to 103.

The Group considered proposals put forward by members on the future workplan of the Group. The proposals address the issue of bridging the gap between trade policy and small businesses, good regulatory practices, supporting women-led MSMEs, low-value shipments, the informal sector, digital trade, and MSME provisions in regional trade agreements. Dedicated discussions will be organized in the coming months to explore these issues.

Local Markets & Food Chains Key to Tackling Global Hunger Crisis—Experts (IPES-Food)

Nearly 30% of the world’s population are facing food insecurity, while 600 million people are projected to be facing hunger by 2030, putting the world’s ‘zero hunger’ goal further away than ever.

The IPES-Food report, Food From Somewhere highlights the need for greater resilience in the face of mounting shocks. In recent times, the pandemic, the invasion of Ukraine, and escalating climate shocks have led to supply chain chaos, volatile food prices, empty shelves, and a surge in hunger levels. It comes as the UN reviews stalling progress towards the global ‘zero hunger’ goal (SDG2), and ahead of the latest comprehensive hunger update from the UN (15 July).

Global industrial food chains have demonstrated particular vulnerability to trade disruptions, climate impacts, and market volatility, while often undermining the livelihoods of small-scale producers, says the report.

Emerging economies will continue driving agricultural markets over the coming decade but with regional shifts projected (OECD)

Emerging economies have increasingly driven global agricultural market developments over the last 20 years and are projected to continue to do so over the next decade, but with regional shifts linked to changing demographics and new economic affluence, according to a report released today by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2024-2033 is the key global reference for medium-term prospects for agricultural commodity markets, and this year’s edition marks the 20th edition of the joint publication.

A notable shift expected over the coming decade is the increasing role of India, Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa and the declining role played by China. While China accounted for 28 percent of growth in global consumption of agriculture and fisheries in the previous decade, its share of additional demand over the coming decade is projected to fall to 11 percent, attributed not only to a declining population and slower income growth but also to a stabilisation of nutrition patterns. 

Well-functioning international agricultural commodity markets will remain important for global food security, as 20 percent of calories are traded and rural livelihoods can benefit from participation in markets and global agrifood value chains.

Quick links

Understanding evolving China-Africa economic relations (WEF)

African governments must bring young people on board for AfCFTA trade pact to succeed (Daily Maverick)

Graça Machel remarks at the Global Agribusiness Forum (Graca Machel Trust)

The Digital Economy Conference usher in a new era: global leaders--China Economic Net (China Economic Net)

Will digital currencies become the norm as the world moves towards a cashless society? (The Conversation)


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