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Proposal to update EU export controls on dual-use goods gains support
“The countries’ support is a victory for the Commission. The EU executive has struggled to convince sceptical member states and tech firms that there is a need to update the bloc’s export control rules by adding on human rights safeguards and restrictions on how firms sell surveillance software to foreign countries. … With backing from some of the biggest member states, the Commission’s proposal is now more likely to secure approval from a majority of EU governments. … The legislation can only go into effect after member states, the European Parliament and the Commission agree on a compromise in three-way negotiations. The Parliament approved an identical version of the bill last month, but talks with the other two institutions have not yet started.”

EU-Mercosur FTA negotiations resume
“‘It’s very open as to whether there will be a successful conclusion at this stage,’ [EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan] said. ‘There are a lot of areas where we are not making as much progress as we should, and we’re not receiving the type of offers from the Mercosur countries that we would have expected, particularly in relation to industrial products.’”

Switzerland seeks to speed up trade negotiations with Mercosur
“A trade agreement with Mercosur, which includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, should give Swiss exporters access to this market of 260 million consumers, but the agricultural sector will have to accept some changes. The government took this into account when last November it unveiled sensitive plans for agricultural reform, including more competition and less protectionism. This strategy is opposed by the [Swiss Farmers’ Union], which argues the plan contains no measures to mitigate the ‘huge losses that farming families will suffer.’”

Middle East

Turkey to revise FTA with Jordan 
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu “stressed that the Turkish government would revise the Jordanian-Turkish Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to facilitate the entry of Jordanian exports to Turkey. The minister noted his country’s keenness on utilising Aqaba Port as a regional hub for Turkish exports to various markets, including Africa.”
[Jordan Times]

Iran to withdraw from JCPOA if benefits remain elusive
“Under the deal with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States, Iran agreed to restrict its nuclear program in return for the removal of sanctions that have crippled its economy. Despite that, big banks have continued to stay away for fear of falling foul of remaining US sanctions – something that has hampered Iran’s efforts to rebuild foreign trade and lure investment.”
[Tasnim News Agency]


Kenya looks for ways to bridge trade deficit with Morocco
“Kenya’s exports to Morocco include tea, mate, fruits, nuts, vegetable textiles and telecommunication equipment among others. On the other hand, Kenya’s imports include fertilizers, petroleum oils, synthetic fibres, textiles, medicaments and television receivers among others.”
[Capital FM]

Rwanda to remove imported packaging materials list of tax-exempt goods
“Almost ten years since the Government banned polythene bags over environmental concerns, only a handful of investors ventured into manufacturing alternative packaging materials such as sacks, boxes, paper bags, and plastics. The gap left all the needs for packaging sourced from abroad, especially China and Kenya, with flour sacks, generic grocery bags, and others used in commodity retail constituting the bigger portion of the imports.”
[All Africa]