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Europe

EU-Vietnam deal seen as stepping stone for agreement with ASEAN
“The college of commissioners adopted the EU-Vietnam trade and investment agreement on Wednesday (17 October). Now the deal has to be ratified by the Council and the European Parliament. The successful conclusion of the negotiations followed member states’ green light to sign trade and investment pacts with Singapore on Thursday.”
[Euractiv]

EU offering temporary UK-wide customs arrangement in Brexit agreement
“By offering to put a temporary U.K.-wide customs arrangement into the Withdrawal Agreement — effectively keeping the entire U.K. in a customs union with the EU until the new trade and customs deal is ready — London can claim legal certainty that should a future trade and customs deal not be ready at the end of the transition period (planned on December 31, 2020), Northern Ireland would not fall into a separate customs zone to the rest of the U.K.”
[Politico]

EU, UK among next U.S. trade agreement targets
“Negotiations will begin no earlier than Jan. 14, 2019, with the EU and Japan, while talks with the UK will begin “as soon as it is ready” after it exits from the EU on March 29, 2019.”
[Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg]

Middle East

Abu Dhabi unveils standardized digital solution for trade, customs, logistics
“MAMAR utilizes existing features from Abu Dhabi Customs’ e-services and the Maqta Port Community System (mPCS) , creating a fully integrated system following international messaging standards that allow seamless handling of import, export, and transhipment transactions, as well as the payment of customs duties for all types of cargo, whether via land, air, or sea.”
[Saudi Gazette]

Foreign companies soon able to apply for Saudi port shipping agent licences
“The move follows plans to privatise the kingdom’s ports and could prove particularly attractive to Gulf-based shipping operators.”
[Zawya]

Africa

China-Africa trade volume to grow as trade war escalates
“‘We believe that countries like Kenya and Nigeria will benefit because China will look to import more from Africa; some agricultural products from Kenya, some oil products from Nigeria,’ Ling noted.”
[Mubasher]