#Germany, #Ecommerce; #DigitalEconomy; #SustainableDevelopmentGains
Germany, Nov 29 (Canadian-Media): Contribution will support developing countries to reap inclusive and sustainable development gains from e-commerce and the digital economy, UNCTAD reports said.
UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi and Germany’s ambassador Michael von Ungern-Sternberg signed an agreement on 29 November to support developing countries that are trailing in the digital economy.
Under the agreement, Germany will contribute €1.6m (US$1.76m) over three years to UNCTAD’s work programme on e-commerce and the digital economy.
“With billions of people still below the first rung of the digital ladder, the climb to prosperity is becoming more challenging than ever,” Dr. Kituyi said.
“More support is needed if we are ever to close the digital divide. I therefore very much welcome Germany’s contribution,” he added.
Germany’s ambassador Michael von Ungern-Sternberg and UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi. Image credit: UNCTAD
Ambassador Von Ungern-Sternberg said: “We highly value UNCTAD's work and expertise in the area of e-commerce and the digital economy. With the arrangement we sign today, Germany supports UNCTAD's efforts in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.”
The funding from Germany’s Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development will support follow-up activities for the eTrade Readiness Assessments that UNCTAD has carried out in over 20 least developed countries.
It will also support the eTrade for all platform and its recently launched eTrade for Women initiative, amongst other activities.
The partnership with Germany is an important step in UNCTAD’s quest to help ensure that the evolving digital economy delivers for all, not just a few people.
#UNCTAD; #BorderlineProject; #HelpWomen; #CostEffectiveTradeProcedures
UNCTAD, Nov 29 (Canadian-Media): The project "Borderline" helps women across the world to be equipped with information on trade procedures with cost-effective business costs and expand opportunities, UNCTAD reported.
Women engaging in informal cross-border trade often lack access to information on trade rules and customs procedures and suffer from weak entrepreneurial capacity.
As a result, they use informal crossing paths that may expose them to violence, harassment, bribes, high fines and confiscation of their merchandise if caught by border authorities.
Their businesses remain a subsistence activity, leaving them unable to transition to profitable and sustainable ones.
UNCTAD’s project dubbed “Borderline” that is being implemented in six border districts of Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia is helping the women overcome these challenges.
Getting it right
Under the project, UNCTAD has trained 150 women on how to conduct their businesses the right way.
The training sessions delivered in close collaboration with border agencies comprised two components: one-day border sessions on cross-border trade rules, traders’ rights and obligations and potential benefits of business formalization; and five-day training sessions on the development of entrepreneurial skills based on the Empretec methodology.
Empretec is UNCTAD’s flagship capacity-building programme designed to unleash personal entrepreneurial potential.
The first border workshop took place at the Nakonde/Tunduma border between Zambia and Tanzania on 11 November, followed by additional training sessions in Kyela, Tanzania; Karonga, Malawi; and Chipata, Zambia.
The trainees mostly comprised women informal and small-scale traders from the border districts of the three target countries, as well as representatives of cross-border trade associations.
“This training is very helpful. We now know more about cross-border trade issues and will be crossing the border with courage and confidence,” said Jane Phiri, a cross-border trader from Chipata, Zambia.
The workshops emphasized the importance of continuous dialogue between informal traders and border officials. “Informal traders should look at us as partners. We are not their enemies,” said Davis Mwanza, acting assistant commissioner at the Zambia Revenue Office.
As Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia belong to different regional economic communities, women traders often feel lost and unable to identify specific trade rules regulating their transactions.
They are also unlikely to know about trade regimes put in place to simplify their transactions.
Once again, lack of information and the fear of dealing with customs authorities would keep them on the informal path.
Dick Busega from the Tanzania Immigration Department urged the women informal traders to change their routines. “Using the official crossing is safer and cheaper than informal paths.
Procedures are not complicated. We simplify them and show a good deal of flexibility,” he told trainees in Kyela.
The training sessions also covered other benefits of formalizing cross-border trade, such as better visibility, access to finance and social protection.
Many traders cited low profits to sustain their businesses after paying taxes as their main concern and reason for trading informally.
“If I buy my product for 6,000 Malawian kwacha (US$8) and sell it in Tanzania for an equivalent of 10,000 Malawian kwacha ($14), I can’t afford to pay any taxes. This would make my business unsustainable,” said Esther Pili, a Tanzanian clothes trader.
Applying entrepreneurial skills, including the ability to identify a profitable product, could help the traders overcome such challenges. “The best solution would be to shift to a different product that offers a higher profit margin,” said Deogratius Aeneas Dimosso from the Tanzania Revenue Authority.
“Informal traders often don’t know how to compare their costs and benefits. We teach them basic book-keeping principles,” said Benedict Lema, national Empretec master trainer, who co-delivered training sessions in Kyela, Tanzania and Karonga, Malawi.
Ready to go formal
Most women traders expressed their resolve to formalize their businesses as a result of the knowledge they gained from the workshops. They also called for the training of their colleagues, “Such training opportunities should be available to everyone,” they said.
Experiences from the border training sessions will be reviewed at a regional workshop in the Tanzanian capital, Dar es Salaam, on 4 and 5 December, the final activity under the “Borderline” project.
UNCTAD will share with policymakers from the three target countries the findings of the project and present a set of policy recommendations aimed at making cross-border trade a more profitable activity, especially for women, and a tool for overall economic growth and regional integration.
“Because cross-border trade contributes to poverty alleviation, income generation and women's empowerment, our project sought to support women traders in the transition from a subsistence to a sustainable business,” said Simonetta Zarrilli, who leads UNCTAD’s trade and gender work programme.
The project also aimed to provide policymakers with practical ideas to catalyse cross-border trade by simplifying the trade regimes for small-scale traders and better tailoring them to the needs of the traders or by improving facilities at the borders.
#EasternNorthDakota, #10TimesMoreLandAffectedThanFirstThought; #Calgary; #CrudeOilSpill; #KeystonePipeline
Calgary, Nov 18 (Canadian-Media): Almost 10 times the amount of land as first reported have been affected by a crude oil spill from the Keystone pipeline in eastern North Dakota, media reports said.
State regulators have estimated the leak reported on Oct. 29 to have affected about 209,100 square feet (19,426 square meters) of land near Edinburg, North Dakota (N.D.) environmental scientist Bill Suess said.
About 1.2 million litres of oil, along with 536,900 litres of oily water have been recovered late Sunday, Suess said. Some wetlands were affected, but not any sources of drinking water, he said.
berms around the affected area have been put up by TC Energy and contaminated soil from the entire site is being excavated and the oily soil is being stockpiled to be taken to a landfill in Sawyer, N.D., he said.
"We really don't have any risk of anything spreading at this point," Suess said.
Crude began flowing through the $5.2 billion pipeline in 2011 designed to carry crude oil across Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and through N.D., S.D., Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri on the way to refineries in Patoka, Illinois and Cushing, Okla and also includes the proposed to transport the oil from western Canada to terminals on the Gulf Coast.
The proposed Keystone XL pipeline has been criticized and opposed by people who fear it will cause environmental damage.
#UN; #TradeTariffArgumentBetweenChinaUS&world; #UNEconomists
United States, Nov 5 (Canadian-Media): The trade tariff argument between China, United States and the wider world is likely to deteriorate unless a deal is reached, UN economists said on Tuesday.
A cargo ship at the port of Ningbo, China. Credit: IMO
Th data from the first six months of the year reveal that most of the cost of higher US tariffs on China has been passed down to US consumers and firms.
“US consumers are paying for the tariffs …in terms of higher prices,” said Alessandro Nicita, an economist at the UN trade agency, UNCTAD. “Not only final consumers like us, but importers of intermediate products – firms which import parts and components from China.”
Tariffs ‘cost China $35 billion in first half of 2019’But the US-initiated measures – put in place in the middle of last year - have also hit the Asian giant, to the tune of $35 billion.
Its firms have seen exports of these targeted products fall by a quarter over the same period on average, with other competitors – notably Taiwan – picking up some of the slack ($4.2 billion in the first half of 2019).
Other trade winners from the measures include Mexico ($3.5 billion), the European Union ($2.7 billion) and Viet Nam ($2.6 billion) and the positive effects for them “have increased over time”, UNCTAD said.
Korea, Canada and India also benefited, with “substantial” gains ranging from $0.9 billion to $1.5 billion.
Other South East Asian countries scooped up the remainder of the tariff-induced casualties, UNCTAD said, while noting that African countries saw only “minimal” benefits.
Of the $35 billion Chinese export losses in the US market, about $21 billion (or 63 per cent) was diverted to these countries and others, while the remaining $14 billion was either lost or captured by US producers.
Chinese manufacturers bearing costs
The UN agency also noted that there is early evidence that Chinese exporters may have started to bear part of the costs of the tariffs by lowering export prices.
The hardest-hit Chinese manufacturing sector has been computers and other office machinery, and communications equipment, where exports from China have declined by $15 billion.
Other areas that have “dropped substantially” include chemicals, furniture, precision instruments and electrical machinery, the UNCTAD report shows.
It nonetheless underscored the resilience of Chinese firms, which maintained 75 per cent of their exports to the US, despite the “substantial” tariffs imposed.
Trade war is a global warning
“The results of the study serve as a global warning; a lose-lose trade war is not only harming the main contenders, it also compromises the stability of the global economy and future growth,” said UNCTAD’s director of international trade and commodities, Pamela Coke Hamilton. “We hope a potential trade agreement between the US and China can deescalate trade tensions.”
While the UNCTAD report does not consider the impact of Chinese tariffs on US imports, it suggests that the result is “most likely” to be the same: “higher prices for Chinese consumers, losses for US exporters and trade gains for other countries”.
âMexico City, Nov 2 (Canadian-Media): Each foreign tourist who visits the Mexican state of Baja California Sur will be charged a tax equivalent to about $18.50 starting from Nov 9, media reports said.
Tourists to other Mexican cities are taxed indirectly through hotel or airport-use taxes.
But the Baja Sur tax will be charged directly to tourists and will be payable at kiosks located at airports.
The state, which is home to resort cities like Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo and La Paz, said the tax would be used for Infrastructure as well as for social service works.