Wednesday, September 28, 2022
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Desiderio Consultants Ltd. is a think tank and a network of independent professional international development consultants established to promote and influence customs & trade-related policies in African nations to achieve trade facilitation reforms aimed at improving international and regional trade
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AfCFTA success to be determined by effects of complementary policies

A new policy brief from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), an independent think tank that conducts research on global challenges, including on trade and investment matters, offers an overview of the current status of negotiations of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and of results achieved so far. The brief notes that the importance of AfCFTA will be determined not only by the change in trade rules that the Agreement currently brings, but also by how this framework will interact with complementary policies and actions to be adopted or in course of adoption, such as those aimed at implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (whose provisions, among others, are mirrored by the Annex 4 on Trade Facilitation of the AfCFTA Protocol on Trade in Goods) or at supporting a co-ordinated approach to investment facilitation.

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Implementation of trade facilitation measures remains weak in Sub-Saharan Africa

Trade facilitation measures are key in offsetting some of the time and cost increases experienced by firms and consumers against a backdrop of continued supply chain disruptions. Based on the analysis of its Trade Facilitation Indicators (TFIs), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) assesses in a new trade policy paper titled “Trade facilitation reforms worldwide- state of play in 2022”, the progress and challenges in trade facilitation reforms on a global scale, including as these relate to the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.

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WCO Council approves Railway Guidance to facilitate railway transport

Nowadays, a growing proportion of goods is being transported across borders by rail, a trend that has been accelerated by COVID-19. As explained in this post published in 2020 by UNESCAP, the United Nation Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, international railway transport has a distinctive advantage with respect to other types of transport due to its reduced capacity to spread the virus. This essentially happens because railway transport uses less manpower (which justifies reduced quarantine checks on trains), differently, for example, from road transport, where congestion at border crossings exposes truck crews to frequent human interactions.

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Lesotho operationalises international trade single window

After a long gestation process, the Lesotho National Single Window (LNSW) is finally operational. Since 27 June 2022, traders in the country are allowed – upon registration - to apply for and quickly obtain certificates, licenses and permits required for customs clearing purposes without the need to visit in person the different regulatory agencies responsible for their issuance.

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EU Parliament report expresses concerns on the EU’s trade policy towards Africa

The recently published Report on the future of EU-Africa trade relations of the Committee on International Trade of the European Union (EU) Parliament accuses the EU’s trade policy towards Africa of being too fragmented, noting that Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) concluded or negotiated in the last decade have primarily served the EU interests and that the objectives of reducing poverty, diversifying value chains and promoting regional integration in Africa, basically, have not been achieved.

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