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Desiderio Consultants Ltd. è una think tank ed una rete di consulenti internazionali per lo sviluppo indipendenti costituita per promuovere ed influenzare politiche doganali e commerciali nei Paesi Africani, al fine di raggiungere riforme di facilitazione del commercio che favoriscano la crescita degli scambi commerciali a livello internazionale e regionale
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Notizie

Direction of African trade flows expected to significantly change with AfCFTA, new research paper notes

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A paper from the Research Centre for International Economics (FIW) of the Austrian Institute of Economic Research analyses trade flows between Africa and other third countries and territories, examining the dynamics that will characterize such flows following the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

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Milestones and status of AfCFTA summarized in a knowledge booklet

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As 2023 draws to a close, the AfCFTA Secretariat has made available on the AfCFTA Website the AfCFTA knowledge booklet, a publication that summarizes the progress made since the launch of the new Continental Free Trade Area, the key milestones, its main achievements and other aspects related to the acceleration of its implementation, i.e. the theme to which the year 2023 has been dedicated. As of November 2023, the agreement reached 47 ratifying State Parties, following the 47th deposit of the instrument of ratification by the Republic of Mozambique. Among the topics that deserve to be mentioned the following ones are particularly important:

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New regulation on deforestation creates additional barriers for African countries to export agricultural commodities to the EU

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Yesterday we commented the 30th Trade Monitoring Report on G20 trade measures of the World Trade Organization (WTO), explaining how most of restrictions to trade recently introduced by G20 countries (including the European Union), have been justified under the guise of measures aimed at protecting the environment. After the disputed Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), a new duty applicable in the EU on imports of selected goods due to the carbon emissions produced during their production which has already caused the reaction of countries like India, it is now the turn of the new EUDR - European Union Deforestation-free Regulation, (Regulation (EU) 2023/1115), in effect since June 2023, but with most of its provisions applicable only from end of December 2024. The new EU regulation is creating panic among African countries that produce agricultural commodities, including the Ethiopian coffee exporters, due to the strict due diligence rules that EU importers are called to observe in selecting their suppliers, which expose them to a risk to incur in sanctions up to 4% of their total annual Union-wide turnover, with possible confiscation of goods and exclusions up to 12 months from public procurement processes and from access to public funding, including tendering procedures, grants and concessions.

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Investment in Research and Development grows almost everywhere, and in Africa?

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The 20th edition of ‘The EU Industrial Research & Development (R&D) Investment Scoreboard’ published by the European Commission shows that in 2022 there was a peak in investment in Research and Development (R&D) by companies worldwide, totalling EUR 1,249.7 billion (EUR 141 billion more than in 2021). The report explains that to drive such investments are mainly European and Japanese companies, while US and Chinese companies invested less compared to the previous year (Figure 1). The report also notes that the top 50 Scoreboard companies (23 US, 10 EU, 5 Chinese, and 5 Japanese) invested EUR 488 billion in 2022, accounting for 39.1% of total R&D investment worldwide, whereas the top 10 account for 17.7% of the total. This shows that companies that mostly invest in R&D are big companies, a trend which has persisted over the past two decades, with four sectors (ICT producers, ICT services, health and automotive), that have been responsible for more than three quarters of R&D investment. The EU has maintained a lead position in automotive R&D investment as well as in more traditional sectors, while the US has invested heavily in ICT-related sectors and health. On the other hand, China had a substantial number of newcomers with fast growing R&D investments in the ICT and health sectors, reaching the second rank in the Scoreboard in terms of number of companies and – slightly ahead of the EU – in total R&D investment.

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WTO: in G-20 economies trade restrictions outpace trade-facilitating measures

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The 30th Trade Monitoring Report on G20 trade measures of the World Trade Organization (WTO) shows that between mid-May and mid-October 2023 (review period), G20 economies introduced more trade-restrictive than trade-facilitating measures on goods. The members of the G20 are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, the European Union and since September 2023, the African Union. However, with the exception of South Africa, the WTO report still does not cover African countries, given the too recent admission of the African Union (AU) to the group. It will be interesting to read the next edition of the report to understand what is the ratio trade restriction/trade facilitation in Africa, which is likely to raise the average at the G20 country level. Speaking about this average, the WTO notes that for the first time, since 2015, the average number of new trade restrictions introduced per month by G20 economies, reached a level that was superior trade-facilitating measures (9.8, compared to 8.8).

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