August 2016
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 Video guest: Arancha González



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Thursday, 25 August 2016

The outcome of the Brexit referendum on June 23, 2016 has set the UK on a path to leave the European Union (EU) that will also result in an end to its membership of the bloc’s Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) the free trade deals between the European Union (EU) and the 79 countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group. According to experts, while Brexit will have consequences for the UK, its impact on the ACP countries could be far reaching. Precisely how and in what ways was the subject of a brainstorming session of leading experts organized by the Ramphal Institute on July 15.

The training aimed at strengthening the Competitiveness of Ghana-Based Exporters through Effective Export Quality Management Systems was organized in collaboration with the European Union, the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group and the Technical barriers to trade (TBT). “Being fast and developing new products and services in time and at reasonable costs is key,” Wolfgang Wiegel, EQMS Specialist from the Project Team told the beneficiaries at the Seminar in Accra, late July. He added: “The secret is to concentrate more on processes rather than production: allying quality, accessible costs and efficient delivery.”

Wednesday, 03 August 2016

“European Development Fund through EDF11, New Zealand Government and Australian Centre of Institute in Agriculture Research recognise the Livestock Sector in Vanuatu, (which explains why they are) putting in a lot of resources especially with cattle. “(Neighbour countries in the) region are following Vanuatu’s Livestock Sector development closely, and even the World Animal Health (is focused on how the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock are implementing the initiative)”.

Kenya plans a new round of talks next month in an attempt to convince the other members of East African Community (EAC) to sign the EPA deal with Europe. The agreement is meant to see local goods continue enjoying duty-free access to European market. Kenyan officials Tuesday downplayed fears that the EAC trade bloc will miss the October 1 deadline set by the European Union secretariat, in what would introduce duty and quotas on Kenyan exports to Europe, making them uncompetitive. This came after Tanzania recently said it would not sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union that grants regional goods duty-free access to Europe, citing Britain’s exit from EU.

Tuesday, 02 August 2016

German investment fund DEG has bought an additional 5.4 per cent stake in Nairobi-based reinsurance company Zep–Re for Sh1.4 billion. The German Investment and Development Corporation (DEG) said the deal has increased its stake to 14.93 per cent. New shares were created for the additional stake with new cash injected in the re-insurance firm. “This capital will assist the company to build on its operational results realised in 2015 which saw a 10.6 per cent growth in our business underwritten from $125 million in 2014 to $138.8 million in 2015,” Zep-Re managing director Rajni Varia said.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

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.