Tap into $22 trillion e-commerce trade Kituyi urges developing countries

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By EA Trade Reporter and Agencies

Developing countries should grasp the rapidly growing opportunity of electronic commerce – e-commerce – worth around $22.1 trillion.

According to the UN Conference and Trade Secretary General Dr Mukhisa Kituyi, e-commerce was worth that much in 2015, up 38 per cent from 2013 and developing countries risk falling quickly behind.

UNCTAD on Monday launched a new e-commerce initiative, called “eTrade for All”, that brings international organizations, donors and businesses under one umbrella, easing developing country access to cutting-edge technical assistance and giving donors more options for funding.

He said by providing new opportunities and new markets, online commerce can help generate economic opportunities, including jobs but lamented that while more than 70 per cent of people are shopping online in Denmark, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom, the story is different in most developing countries. In Bangladesh,Ghana and Indonesia where just two per cent or less of the population buy online.

“A huge divide is opening between countries that are exploiting those opportunities and those that are not,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said, ahead of the initiative’s launch at UNCTAD 14.


Some developing countries lose billions of dollars to misinvoicing

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By Agencies

Some commodity dependent developing countries are losing as much as 67 per cent of their exports worth billions of dollars to trade misinvoicing reveals a new study by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The study which for the first time analyses this issue for specific commodities and countries says trade misinvoicing is thought to be one of the largest drivers of illicit financial flows from developing countries, so that the countries lose precious foreign exchange earnings, tax, and income that might otherwise be spent on development.

Released during UNCTAD's Global Commodities Forum, the study uses data from up to two decades covering exports of commodities such as cocoa, copper, gold, and oil from Chile, Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zambia.

"This research provides new detail on the magnitude of this issue, made even worse by the fact that some developing countries depend on just a handful of commodities for their health and education budgets," said UNCTAD's Secretary-General, Mukhisa Kituyi..

Commodity exports may account for up to 90 percent of a developing country's total export earnings, he said, adding that the study generated fresh lines of enquiry to understand the problem of illicit trade flows.


Trade slowdown threatens global development

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By Agencies

The slowdown in global trade and lack of productive investment are intensifying deep divides, protectionism, and even xenophobia said  United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the opening of the fourteenth United Nations Conference on Trade Development (UNCTAD) in Nairobi, Kenya.

The conference, UNCTAD 14, was opened Sunday by Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta in the presence of Mr. Ban and UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi.

"There are worrying signs that people around the world are increasingly unhappy with the state of the global economy," said Mr. Ban, who noted high inequality, stagnant incomes, not enough jobs - especially for youth - and too little cause for optimism.

"The global trade slowdown and a lack of productive investment have sharpened the deep divides between those who have benefited from globalization, and those who continue to feel left behind," he said. "And rather than working to change the economic model for the better, many actual and would-be leaders are instead embracing protectionism and even xenophobia."

Linking UNCTAD's mission to bring "prosperity for all" to the Sustainable Development Goals agreed by the United Nations' member States in 2015, Mr. Ban told delegates: "You can count on the UNCTAD secretariat and the entire UN system to support your efforts and implement your vision."

President Kenyatta said that making decisions on development aspirations were "meaningless without action."


EU seeks WTO consultations with Russia on light commercial vehicles

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By Agencies

The European Union has requested consultations with the Russian Federation in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) concerning anti-dumping duties imposed on imports of light commercial vehicles (LCVs) from Germany and Italy.

The EU believes the anti-dumping duties are incompatible with WTO law, both on procedural and on substantive grounds.

WTO consultations will give the EU and Russia the opportunity to find a negotiated solution. If the consultations are not successful, after 60 days the EU can ask the WTO to establish a panel to rule on the case.

The duties of 23 per cent to 29.6 per cent imposed on European LCVs are significantly hampering access to the Russian market.

The trade restrictions are incompatible with WTO law and mean that exports of LCVs from Germany and Italy have not benefited from the concessions made by Russia in relation to its WTO accession in 2012.


EU-Africa summit eyes increased trade, investment ties but EPA talks yet to conclude

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By Agencies

EU and African leaders meeting in Brussels last week pledged to deepen trade and investment ties between their two continents, with both sides calling for a “fundamental shift” in cooperation.

The 2-3 April gathering brought together over 60 heads of state, making it the EU’s largest ever summit.

“We are convinced that trade and investment and closer economic integration on each of our continents will accelerate growth,” they said last week in a joint declaration.

To achieve this, they said, would require the development of more productive supply capacity, building up markets, and the implementation of  infrastructure and governance reforms in Africa.

Increasing cooperation in trade, investment, and empowerment, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after the first day of talks, would be key to ensuring that “African problems can be solved by Africans themselves.”


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