September 2016
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Monday, 26 September 2016

The European Commission has adopted the proposal to the Council on the signing of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) with Cuba.The Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement opens new avenues to support Cuba's process of economic and social modernisation, to foster sustainable development, democracy and human rights, as well as to seek common solutions to global challenges. At the same time, the High Representative Federica Mogherini transmitted a proposal to the Council to formally repeal the EU's 1996 Common Position on Cuba.

President Museveni has asked ambassadors, in France, to market Africa to Europe. "Africa's purchasing power is now at $8 trillion with a population of 1.2 billion. Remind Europeans that Africa is a growing market and they should, therefore, take interest in it," Mr Museveni said. The president made these remarks at the start of a two-day visit to France, on which he has been accompanied by Education minister, Janet Museveni, also his wife. The two were received by French ambassador to Uganda, Ms Sophie Makame, Uganda's Minister of State for International Affairs, Mr Okello Oryem and Uganda's Ambassador to France, Ms. Nimisha Madhvani.

64 Dutch firms are planning to showcase their innovations at the upcoming Eldoret Agribusiness Trade Fair in Kenya, demonstrating Dutch investors growing interest in the country. "This is good for the country as we only had 14 companies participating last year," said Elizabeth Kiamba, the agricultural officer at the embassy of the Netherlands. The companies will be exhibiting products derived from potato farming, aquaculture, dairy farming, horticulture and staples. The agribusiness trade fair, which has been going on for the past 11 years, will be held from September 22 to 27 at the University of Eldoret. The hosts expect to double farmer attendance from 15,000 last year.

Barbados is beginning to feel the impact of the vote by Britons to leave the European Union (EU), with tourism’s private sector reporting a fall in financial returns. While not providing figures, Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) Sue Springer yesterday revealed that British visitors to Barbados were spending less since the vote, due to the sliding value of the pound sterling. Addressing the association’s quarterly general meeting at the Hilton Barbados Resort, Springer explained that while arrivals from the island’s primary source market have not declined, there was evidence of cut backs in spend.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Soothing concerns of a trade collapse when Britain exits the European Union, a high-ranking British diplomat said yesterday that annual trade between South Africa and the United Kingdom valued at about £10-billion (R180-billion) was not only expected to be maintained, but that Britain hoped it would increase. At an information session on the implications of the Brexit referendum and the UK’s business and trade posture going forward, High Commissioner to South Africa Dame Judith Macgregor assured a gathering at the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber that the referendum would have no immediate effect on trade between the two countries.

Parliament unanimously endorsed Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), sending yet another strong signal of Kenya’s resolve to conclude the decade-old negotiations with Europe. A copy of the EPA that MPs ratified Tuesday will be submitted to the European Union as proof of Kenya’s commitment to boost free trade with the 27-member bloc. “The minister will have 10 days to notify the EU council of the ratified agreement to save our exports from duties once we hit the October deadline,” National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale said.

The East African Community (EAC) member countries' decision to extend the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union may have consequences in the due course, the EU has said. The EU head of delegation to Uganda, Ambassador Kristian Schmidt, in a statement issued to this newspaper last week, said: "There are no immediate effects but there may be consequences in due course that only the EPA can prevent." EAC heads of State during their 17th Summit that sat in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania recently agreed to push the signing of the EPAs with the EU for another three-months (January 2017) until a harmonised regional position has been arrived at.

The European Parliament has approved an agreement granting duty-free access to the European Union market for products from Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho, and improved market access for South Africa. A press release from Delegation of the European Union to Botswana says the agreement that Members of European Parliament (MEPs) approved, on Wednesday, by 417 votes to 216, with 66 abstentions "will help our African partner states to reduce poverty and can also facilitate their smooth and gradual integration into the world economy."

Thursday, 22 September 2016

SA has told the European Commission and EU trade partners that Brexit should not reduce access to European markets for South African products. With the timing and terms of Britain’s exit from the EU still to be negotiated SA is positioning itself. Until Brexit, SA will continue trading with the UK in terms of its trade agreement with the EU. But Brexit will require SA to negotiate a separate trade agreement with the UK. The main element of the economic partnership agreement signed last year between the EU and several Southern African states, including SA, was to determine a number of tariff quotas on products such as sugar and wine, which provided greater access for South African products

Just over one month (at the time of writing) has passed since the UK voted to withdraw its membership from the European Union. There remains much to do ahead of the final withdrawal once Article 50 has been triggered, and a significant degree of uncertainty still exists. The impact of the announcement has been felt in sub-Saharan African, with many expecting that there will be noticeable consequences for trade into and out of Africa. The immediate aftermath of the referendum saw great volatility in African markets, the South African Rand plummeted in value the day following the announcement of the result.

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