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 Video guest: Erich Schaitza



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Thursday, 28 July 2016

The consulate general of the Kingdom of the Netherlands' latest #cocreateSA initiative will see South African tech SMEs partner with Dutch innovators to tackle business challenges, during the Open Design Festival in Cape Town next month. #CocreateSA is a platform designed by the consulate to foster partnerships between the countries. The challenge taking place next month will be called #cocreate2ACCELERATE. "South Africa and the Netherlands are both innovation hubs," says Dutch consul-general Bonnie Horbach. "The companies participating in #cocreate2ACCELERATE are some of the most innovative in their field.

Revenues generated by Mauritius from textile exports to Britain will decline by about 10 percent this year as a result of the British vote to leave the European Union, the country's export association said on Monday. The EU is Mauritius' largest trading partner. The Indian Ocean island nation earns an annual average of 25.55 billion rupees ($722.77 million) from goods shipments to the bloc. Britain remains the largest buyer of Mauritian goods within the EU, accounting for 18 percent of total exports to the bloc. Textiles are Mauritius' top export to the UK, followed by seafood and sugar.

Despite Zimbabwe signing a trade agreement giving it duty free access to the European Union (EU) market in 2009, government is yet to implement the deal because of the headaches it is facing in improving local standard of goods to match international standards. Zimbabwe signed an Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU in 2009, along with Mauritius, Madagascar and the Seychelles. The agreement was ratified three years later in 2012, giving the country's products duty and quota-free access to the vast European market.

Back in 2014, Jamaica voluntarily suspended mango exports to the United Kingdom after there was a spike in pest contamination detections. However, it looks as if these exports will now resume, as according to a release from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, chief technical director in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Dermon Spence was quoted as saying that Jamaica would phase in mango exports to the UK by the end of the year. Spence was speaking at a fresh produce forum organised by JAMPRO UK and the Fresh Produce Consortium in London, England last week.

In several Jamaican parishes, particularly those of St. James, Portland and St. Mary, the banana industry is rebounding and generating employment. According to Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, strategies implemented by the Banana Board resulted in the production of 55,000 tonnes of the fruit in 2015, a three per cent increase over the previous year. He said Jamaica earned US$160 million from export of the fruit, and in the last year it recorded a 51 per cent increase in bananas being sold in overseas markets, such as the Cayman Islands, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

Britain's vote to leave the European Union is raising concern among Pacific nations, which include a number of former British colonies, about the outlook for some of their major exports. EU trade preferences prop up the price of Fijian sugar and permit duty-free imports of other Pacific agricultural goods, including palm oil, coffee, coconuts, and fish and caviar. Pacific shipments to the EU amounted to 1.3 billion euros ($1.43 billion) last year and are particularly important to the region's larger economies. The U.K. is Fiji's second largest merchandise export market, after Australia, and EU shipments account for close to 6% of Papua New Guinea's gross domestic product.

The European Union will be directing more funds to the government for Post TC Winston Rehabilitation works. This was confirmed to FBC News by Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation for the Pacific, Christoph Wagner. “For us this is an opportunity to help Fiji very quickly so first we redirect assisting funds and have worked with partners like with the Pacific Community and then we will mobilize additional funds and some of these went through humanitarian aid which also came in quickly and other is also more in longer terms.

The Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation for the Pacific, Christoph Wagner, urged Pacific leaders to continue spearheading international work on climate change mitigation and adaptation, based on the success of the high-ambition coalition in the lead-up to Paris Agreement last November. Wagner made the call at the 4th Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) Leaders' Summit in Honiara, Solomon Islands this week. Wagner explained EU's ongoing work to implement the Paris Agreement on mitigation - in order to reach the EU 40% reduction goal of green-house gas emissions by 2030.

Dr. Ekwow Spio Garbrah, the Minister of Trade and Industry, has revealed the cabinet’s intention to sign the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU). He says, “It is because the EPA agreement itself which the European Union signed with ECOWAS as a group required all members to sign to become valid.” Although Gambia and Nigeria refuses to sign the agreement, Dr. Spio Garbrah explains that Ghana may suffer severe sanctions that will impact on processing companies especially Pioneer foods and Cocoa processing companies that trade with the EU. With that the cabinet has decided to sign the interim agreement so Ghanaian exporters can continue to enjoy special privileges.

East African Business Council (EABC), a regional business lobby have called for the speedy conclusion of the ongoing East African Community (EAC)-European Union (EU) trade talks. EABC Executive Director Lillian Awinja told Xinhua here that the delay in signing the agreement is causing anxiety among the EAC business community. "We are concerned that if the agreement is not reached before the Oct. 1 deadline, Kenyan exports into the EU will begin to pay import duty," Awinja said during the Financial Services Sector Forum that took place as part of the UNCTAD 14.

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