Indonesia, 12 cross-region countries agree to keep supply chains open

Top diplomats from 13 countries of a cross-regional network, including Indonesia, Singapore and Canada, have agreed on key principles of keeping transportation links and supply chains open to cushion the impacts of COVID-19 on global trade and economy.

Facilitated by Canada, the informal network called the International Coordination Group on COVID-19 (ICGC) consists primarily of half of the G20 countries — Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, South Korea, Turkey and the United Kingdom — with the addition of Morocco, Peru and Singapore. It was recently established to look for a shared commitment to “promote and protect free trade” and other selected measures to tackle COVID-19.

The fresh declaration was made by foreign ministries of ICGC in a Friday evening teleconference, after it was deliberated at a recent senior officials meeting.

Going forward, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said, any future cooperation “must be action-oriented” which would bring tangible benefits to the general public worldwide.

The declaration, despite its nature as a non-legally binding political declaration, aims at bolstering international norms and actions in handling the COVID-19 pandemic and to manage its social economic impacts. It identified a number of areas for concrete collaborative actions, outlining commitments to maintain an open flow of trade and investment, facilitate repatriation of stranded travelers, and to look for efforts to restore the post-pandemic global economy.

“We will continue to promote and protect free trade,”  the ministers said in the declaration, as quoted from a press statement on Saturday. “[…] and we agree that emergency measures designed to tackle COVID-19, if deemed necessary, must be targeted, proportionate, transparent and temporary, and that they do not create unnecessary barriers to trade or disruption to global supply chains, and are consistent with WTO [World Trade Organization] rules.”

Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said on Facebook on Saturday that the ICGC ministers had reiterated the importance of maintaining global connectivity, “such as transport and supply chain links, which will help all our economies recover more quickly when the pandemic eventually subsides”.

The WTO had sounded the alarm on Wednesday that global trade could plummet by a third this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, warning the deepest recession “of our lifetimes” could be on the horizon.

North America and Asia would be hardest-hit and could see their exports plunge by 40 and 36 percent respectively, while Europe and South America could see declines of more than 30 percent, the WTO said. Keeping markets open to international trade and investment would help economies recover more quickly, we will see a much faster recovery than if each country goes it alone.

Following the declaration, the ICGC would now strongly advocate for other countries to take similar steps, with South Korea leading a conversation on best practices for emerging from the COVID-19 crisis.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a global challenge. Maintaining strong coordination with our international partners is critical to mitigate the repercussions of the ongoing challenges we face,” Canada’s Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne said in a statement. “Keeping people, goods and services moving is key in both addressing these issues and ensuring the transition to a strong recovery.”

Source: Article by Dian Septiari, The Jakarta Post, 19 April 2020

Bali Package has grievous implications for Africa’s people

Africa Trade Network, comments that: “Whatever the expectations with which African countries came to Bali, they are leaving virtually empty-handed. There is hardly anything of substance in the just adopted Bali package that addresses Africa’s developmental imperatives….We will expect our States to wake up, go back to the drawing board, take the negotiations seriously as having grievous implications for their people…”

Read Africa Trade Network’s conclusions in full.

 

Indonesia paves the way for ATA System implementation

ATA-Carnet_sourceAs part of Indonesia’s move towards globalization, Indonesian Customs, jointly with ICC Indonesia and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is preparing the implementation of the ATA System in Indonesia.

They aim to announce Indonesia’s ratification of the Convention on the temporary admission of goods (the so-called Istanbul Convention) at the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference, being held in Bali in December, as well as to implement the ATA Carnet System for the temporary duty and tax-free import and export of goods in Indonesia in early 2014.

Indonesia features among the 10 priority target countries where businessmen from countries already operating the system would like to be able to use their ATA Carnets. To meet these expectations, Indonesian governmental authorities and business organizations invited Ms Lee Ju Song, Director of ICC Asia, to conduct a two-day workshop and series of meetings in Jakarta on 1-5 July 2013 to understand the technical intricacies of the ATA System operation. They benefited from very practical and technical training, as well as from guidance on steps they should take to finalize their affiliation to the ATA Chain.

The ATA Carnet System – celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2013 – is jointly administered by the World Customs Organization, holding the international conventions on the temporary admission of goods, and the ICC World Chambers Federation (WCF), acting as the administrator of the ATA International Guarantee Chain. This chain comprises the chambers of commerce and other similar business organizations appointed in their respective countries to guarantee and issue Carnets.

ATA Carnets remove the need for exporters to provide Customs authorities with the otherwise necessary guarantees required for goods to cross borders. In the 73 countries where they are currently accepted, Carnets allow all kinds of goods to be temporarily transported. This usually pertains to professional equipment, commercial samples and material for trade fairs and exhibitions. Some examples of note include: a prototype solar car, World Cup yachts, Giorgio Armani apparel, McLaren Grand Prix cars, Munich Symphony Orchestra instruments, Australian Olympic horses, Harley Davidson motorcycles and equipment for the Bolshoi Ballet, Cirque du Soleil, BBC and CNN. More than 175,000 ATA Carnets are issued yearly for thousands of customs transactions worth over US$ 25 billion. Source: International Chamber of Commerce

 

Ready for a cock-fight?

Brazil has taken the first legal step at the World Trade Organisation to challenge South Africa’s use of anti-dumping measures on shipments of Brazilian poultry meat, the global trade body said in a statement on Friday. Brazil has “requested consultations” with South Africa over South Africa’s accusation that Brazilian imports were “dumped”, or sold at an unfairly low price that damaged South Africa’s own poultry sales, the WTO said. If the consultations fail to resolve the issue, in 60 days’ time Brazil could ask the WTO to set up a panel to adjudicate.

The statement did not give any more details, but South Africa’s International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) has imposed anti-dumping duties on frozen chickens and chicken meat imported from Brazil after investigating suspected dumping in 2008-2010. In 2010, Brazil accounted for 94.2% of South Africa’s total 26,916 tonnes of boneless chicken imports and 44.6% of the total 29,039 tonnes of whole chicken imports, ITAC’s investigation report said in January.

After calculating the extent of the unfair competition, South Africa put a provisional anti-dumping duty of 62.93% on whole chickens and 46.59% on boneless cuts from Brazil, except for boneless cuts from Aurora Alimentos, which would incur a duty of 6.26%.  The dispute is the first between Brazil and any African country and only the fourth brought against South Africa at the WTO.

All of the previous three cases, brought by India, Indonesia and Turkey, also concerned South Africa’s use of anti-dumping measures to protect its market from unwanted imports. None of those three disputes advanced to the panel stage. India and Turkey did not press their cases and Indonesia withdrew its challenge after South Africa withdrew its anti-dumping measures. Source: News24