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EDITO
Sunday, 19 November 2017

The maximum volume of rice that private traders can ship in annually will remain at 805,200 tons until 2020, with the tariff also kept at 35%, the order signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on April 27 showed. The Philippines, one of the world’s top rice importers, is supposed to lift the import restriction by July 1 this year under an agreement with the World Trade Organization (WTO). It was not immediately clear if Manila needs to seek another waiver from the trade body from its obligation to open up the domestic rice market. In 2014, Manila won WTO approval for a waiver but, as part of the agreement, it pledged to increase the annual import volume from 350,000 tons and reduce the rice tariff from 40%. Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol, who believes the Philippines could be self-sufficient in rice production by 2020, had been pushing for a two-year extension of the restriction, saying local farmers are not ready to compete with cheap imports.

Civil Society organizations have called on government not to completely remove taxes on imported rice. This follows a proposal by government through the Ministry of Finance to remove taxes on imported rice so as to cater for the food insecurity situation in the country. The same idea is being hatched in South Sudan too. The Office of the Prime Minister is already distributing food items including rice, maize flour and beans in different parts of the country. But CSOs led by the food Rights Alliance (FRA) said whereas the idea is good for now, it is not good in the long term. FRA executive director, Agnes Kirabo, said the exemption will be for one year and yet Ugandan rice matures in a space of 90 days

While trade and investment in Africa may decline when the UK leaves the European Union, the long-term effects are expected to be net positive for the continent’s exporters, according to Ecobank Transnational Inc. In the longer term, capital flows are especially likely to increase between the UK and English-speaking countries such as Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria, said Edward George, the head of research at Africa’s most geographically diverse lender. While increased exports of agricultural and mineral products will partly depend on whether the UK develops as a hub for processing, transporting and consuming those products, the biggest opportunities may lie in digital-service and financial-technology collaboration, he said in a phone interview.

Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec highlighted Slovenia's interest in enhancing cooperation with African countries as he delivered the opening address at the Africa Day conference in Brdo pri Kranju on Thursday.

The East Africa Community (EAC) has asked the European Union not to punish Kenyan agricultural products exported to Europe. A heads of states summit in Dar es Salaam resolved to petition the EU on behalf of Kenya and agreed to dispatch Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, the new EAC chairman to present Kenya's case. President Museveni, the new chairman of EAC, said his first assignment is to harmonise the organisation's position on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) that allows countries in the region to export their agricultural products to Europe without attracting tax. Mr Museveni told the 18th Ordinary Summit of EAC Heads of States in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Saturday that the EAC was committed to solving the stalemate surrounding the EPAs once and for all.