Vol.44, Issue No. 29 January 2010

WTO members differ over impact of bailouts on trade

Wealthy members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) blocked calls by developing nations to examine the possible protectionist impact of bailouts and financial stimulus packages. Developing nations believe that bailouts can have an unfair protectionist effect by assisting industries in states that can afford them, typically high-income countries and some major emerging economies such as China. More>>

Zambia records K179bn trade surplus

Zambia recorded a trade surplus of K179 billion in December 2009. This signifies that the country exported more in December 2009 than it imported in value terms. This came to light during a Central Statistical Office (CSO) monthly bulletin in Lusaka. CSO Director Efreda Chulu disclosed that Zambia’s major export products in December 2009 were from the intermediate goods category accounting for 80.7 percent comprising mainly Copper cathodes and sections of refined copper and articles of cobalt. More>>

Zimbabwe farm invasions ‘threaten food production

Zimbabwe’s Commercial Farmers’ Union criticised the government for failing to halt farm invasions across the country and prevent “crimes against humanity” by President Robert Mugabe’s followers. In a statement, the CFU, which represents the country’s remaining white farmers accused the coalition government set up eleven months ago by Mr Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, prime minister, of failing “to stop a few extremists from openly threatening, physically attacking and illegally evicting commercial farmers and their workers. More>>

WTO launches discussion forum for World Trade Report 2010

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has launched a discussion forum ahead of the publication of the organisation’s flagship annual publication, the World Trade Report, in July. The yearly report aims to deepen our understanding of key issues facing the multilateral trading system. The theme of the 2010 World Trade Report is “Trade in Natural Resources: Challenges in Global Governance”. Trade in natural resources represents an important and growing share of global trade, which in 2008 accounted for roughly 24% of world merchandise trade in dollar values. More>>

Ecowas, NGOs Trace Root of African Poverty

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and two civil society organisations have blamed continued poverty scourge and underdevelopment of most African countries on inadequate competition law and policy. ECOWAS, Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International and Consumer Empowerment Organisation of Nigerian (CEON) made this observation at a regional training workshop on competition law enforcement in Abuja, Nigeria. They noted that adequate competition policy and law are momentum to economic development of any economy. More>>

Business pleads for 2010 Doha deal amid uncertainty

Global business leaders on Thursday appealed to governments to make good on their commitment to conclude the stalled Doha trade liberalisation talks this year and boost a world economic recovery. Trade negotiators were sceptical, however, of the political will to overcome the impasse between the United States and key emerging nations that thwarted a deal in 2008 before the financial crisis plunged much of the world into recession. Among the political hurdles are the US mid-term congressional elections in November and a Brazilian presidential election. At the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Swiss resort of Davos, the International Business Council (IBC) called for world leaders to follow through on their pledge to clinch a trade deal in 2010 made at last September’s Pittsburgh G20 summit. More>>

New trade platform to boost EAC ties with US

The East African Community (EAC) is set to boost business ties with the United States in a new trade platform that is to be launched in February. Operating under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (Tifa), the arrangement will help EAC member countries to utilise existing trade opportunities such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). According to Peter Kiguta, EAC Director-General in charge of Trade and Customs, the signing of Tifa has been necessitated by the absence of a formal platform where the EAC can engage the US. More>>

Climate talks will not derail Doha debate

As the global economy recovers, Union Commerce and Industry Minister from India Mr Anand Sharma on Saturday asserted that he does not expect contentious Climate Change talks under the United Nations framework to delay the conclusion of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO’s) Doha Round of world trade talks. “The climate change talks should not delay” or hamper the forward movement of the on-going WTO talks, which were recently ‘reenergised’ by the New Delhi Ministerial level meeting, he said. India is confident of “successfully concluding” the new trade agreements of the Doha Round in 2010, he added. More>>

Regional ties key to Africa’s economic growth – World Bank

Closer regional integration and additional investment in energy, irrigation and transport could help solidify economic growth on the African continent following the devastating effects of the global economic downturn, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said ahead of an eight-day tour of Africa starting on Monday. “We need policies and investments that would expand Africa’s share of global and intra-African trade by fostering regional integration and building crucial infrastructure in energy, transport and irrigation needed to promote agriculture, manufacturing and industrialisation on the continent and for helping countries adapt to climate change,” he said. More>>