Unfriendly Trade Policies Hinder Progress

Daily, millions of women in Africa are engaged in one form of trade or another, either within their countries or across national borders. They buy and sell everything, from agricultural produce to manufactured products. It is mostly women who conduct cross-border trade, delivering goods and services, reports the World Bank. Informal trade from women also account for between 20% and 75% of total employment in most countries, according to the interagency network. For example, within the Southern African Development Community region, informal cross-border trade, mostly in processed and unprocessed food, constitutes between 30% and 40% of the total trade volume annually. However, in many occasions, women are not treated equally which still significantly hinders trade liberalization in Africa. Read more:

 

 

 

Partner Story: Challenges Facing Long Distance Trucking Industry in East Africa Community

Despite recent economic growth in the East African Community (EAC), freedom to trade across borders remains stifled. The main trade barriers are extraneous transportation costs, particularly caused by corruption, bureaucratic time delays, and poor border infrastructure. If costs do not decrease soon, East African GDP growth will stall. To transport a 20-ton container from Mombasa to Nairobi costs $1,300, while a similar container from Mombasa to Kampala and Kigali costs $3,400 and $6,500 respectively. This is more than double the $1,200 one would incur to ship the same goods from Japan to Mombasa. What are blocking EAC’s way to prosperity? How long would EAC still have to wait to realize true freedom to trade regionally? Read more:

Froman, Vilsack, Farm Advisors Talk TPP

Farm groups and Republicans have stepped up pressure on the Obama administration to insist that Tokyo eliminate all of its agricultural tariffs. Under criticism for being too soft on Japan, Der Slot Book of Ra uberzeugt damit durch eine Mischung aus klassischen. Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman are scheduled to meet with the Agricultural Advisory Committee (APAC). The meeting will likely revert more focus on the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a result, although the topic is the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Read more: 

India Should Declare Unilateral Free Trade

Indian politics has been controlled by interest groups for years, particularly agricultural. As a result, the Indian government continues to miss opportunities for true gains in trade. For years, agriculture has been subsidized by the Indian government, at a price borne by the taxpayer. If subsidies ended, Indian citizens could be relieved from unnecessary tax burdens. Furthermore, agricultural prices could still remain low for consumers in India if the government moves toward unilateral trade. Easing access to Western markets that also subsidize their agriculture would give the Indian consumer the lower price at the expense of other countries. Read more:

Guest Blog: The Australian View of the TPP and the RCEP

Many Australians support the United States in its endeavor to advance Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. To Australia, the TPP is seen as a framework setting exercise for Asia’s economic relations. Supporters also favor Chinese participation in the TPP, hoping China will enhance its integration in the Asia-Pacific while American trade pivots to Asia. However many argue that Washington is its own worst enemy in the project.They claim that Americans cannot expect other TPP partners to go further on investment rules, government procurement, and intellectual property rights protections without agreeing to revisit U.S. market access barriers. If the United States fails to revisit such barriers Australia may turn towards its fallback options, one of which is the ASEAN + 6 Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) project. Read more: 

Status Quo Bias and the Difficulty of Reforming the International Economic Law System

“The more things stay the same, the harder they are to change.” Today, there are thousands of treaties that address problems with the international investment system dating back to the end of the colonial era. Meanwhile, anti-dumping laws purport to address “unfair” pricing for imports already deterred by anti-trust laws. There also remains the Export-Import Bank, established in 1934, which has been declared to serve no necessary domestic policy purpose. These and other obsolete trade policies are propped by vested interests and entrenched by their worldwide reach. Rather than elongating issues, let us seize the opportunity to propose multilateral reforms that will advance prosperity. Read more:

Single Visa System Gets Major Boost

A current project by the World Bank to promote intra-regional trade in Africa will create Univisa, a single visa system for countries who are members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The project will begin harmonizing visa requirements for the Kavango Zambezi Trans-frontier Conservation Area (Kaza) countries in Africa, starting with Zambia and Zimbabwe. In addition to a four stage implementation process, the World Bank plans to host high-level consultation, modernization, and advocacy events to ensure travel time between cities and bureaucracy decrease as well. The World Bank expects the plan to strengthen the tourism sector in Kaza countries, contributing to new jobs and a more prosperous economy. Read More: 

It’s Now Time for a Free Trade Zone in Canada: James Moore

According to Industry Minister James Moore, it is easier for a foreign investor to do business in Canada than it is for a domestic firm to access its own marketplace. The aggregate cost of regional protectionist policies in Canada is tens of billions of dollars a year. The stifling business atmosphere can be observed through the restrictions on moving products, burdening job elimination, and limited consumer choice. For this reason, Moore has dedicated himself to creating a true free trade zone in Canada. On board with his efforts, Canada’s federal government is working to increase trade transparency with the construction of an International Trade Barriers Index. The index will serve as a reference to all the protectionist rules and regulations of Canada’s different provinces. Read more:

S.Africa’s Intention to Impose Export Taxes Raises Concern

In South Africa the government plans to impose an export tax on key mining resources such as platinum group metals and iron ore. Although the aim is to increase the declining prices of these resources, the tax will pose a casino online destabilizing expense. Already policy shifts have characterized the industry with uncertainty, steering away investment and innovation. Increasing the distribution costs will only slow the development of the mining industry, and in consequence, put many out of work. Read more:

Iran, Qatar Mulling Establishment of Joint Free Trade Zone

Iran and Qatar begin are currently in the workings of a joint free trade zone. Already, the two Persian Gulf countries signed protocols to increase mutual cooperation in politics, economics, defense, security, and culture. In a recent trip, Iranian officials visited Qatar’s free economic zones, just after Qatari officials became acquainted with the economic and trade capacities of Iran’s Persian Gulf Qeshm Island. Both foreign ministers share a mutual enthusiasm for the new ties. Read more: