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Europe

What is a ‘Canada-style’ trade deal?

The UK prime minister met the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, in Downing Street in January to express his openness to a Canada-style deal, says The Times.

Canada’s free trade deal with the EU is known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and took seven years to negotiate. It came into effect in 2017, and will be fully implemented within seven years.

According to the BBC, the deal eliminates 98% of all tariffs on goods traded between Canada and the EU. The agreement does not fully remove regulatory barriers, however, as Canada is not a member of the single market – so Canadian products are still subject to border checks.

As the Daily Express notes, Brexiteers “have argued the model is attractive to the UK due to the lack of obligations in return for EU market access”.

The Canada deal would mean border checks between the UK and EU, and only covers trade, not the service sector – a huge part of the UK’s economy.

The Treasury’s own analysis has estimated that Britain’s economy would be 4.9% smaller under a Canada-style deal after 15 years than it would be if it had remained in the EU.

And a CETA-style deal with the UK could be controversial in Europe, as Canada’s agreement was when it was signed. The BBC reports that Canada’s deal was opposed across the EU27 amid fears that it would “erode labour laws, not enforce environmental standards and allow multinational companies to dictate public policy”.

[The Week Business]

Michel Barnier: Brexit checks between Britain and Northern Ireland ‘indispensable’

Speaking at Queen’s University Belfast, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator pushed back against Boris Johnson’s repeated claims there will be no checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea after Brexit.

Barnier insisted the Northern Ireland protocol Johnson signed up to in October “makes frictionless trade impossible. It makes checks indispensable.”

He said: “I understand the fears of negative economic fallout expressed by some about these checks. But Brexit unfortunately has consequences that we must manage.”

Barnier argued that the EU will never compromise on the security of the single market, and said that as a result “there will be no possibility for frictionless trade” between the EU and the U.K. after Brexit.

The agreement effectively keeps Northern Ireland in the customs union while allowing it to benefit from new trade deals signed by the EU. It means goods that go to Northern Ireland and could cross the border in the Republic of Ireland must be checked to ensure they comply with EU rules.

Meanwhile, Barnier also warned that if the U.K. refuses to play ball on competition rules it could lose EU market access. “Aligning with our standards may have a price. But the return is access to our Single Market,” he said.

[Politico]

Middle East

UPS helps simplify international shipping for SMB customers in the Middle East with website upgrade

UPS has launched a significant upgrade to its shipping website, www.ups.com, by making the process of creating an international shipment smarter and easier for its small and medium business (SMB) customers in 116 countries, including 36 countries in the Indian subcontinent, Middle East and Africa (ISMEA).

“With SMEs contributing over 40% of GDP in emerging economies, there is no doubt about the huge potential this sizable and fast-growing segment possesses,” said Jean-Francois Condamine, president, High Growth and Emerging Markets at UPS. “At UPS, we are committed to enabling and supporting their growth. By making the shipping process more intuitive, we want to show businesses – especially smaller ones – that selling across borders can be as straightforward as shipping at home. Our smart upgrade is designed to help businesses competing in today’s ever-growing online markets avoid surprises that can jeopardize a sale, or a customer relationship.”

In the past year, UPS has launched several new services aimed at making exporting easier and more accessible for businesses of all sizes. These include a Saturday pick-up service for export packages for US customers to 179 countries worldwide and the launch of UPS® Worldwide Economy, a cost-effective cross-border shipping service designed to provide small and medium-sized businesses flexibility, visibility and affordability. The company also announced plans to deploy UPS My Choice® for Business in 29 countries in 2020. Benefits include advance delivery notifications, including day-before and day-of delivery notifications and estimated time of delivery within two, three, and four-hour windows for the majority of postal codes.

[Logistics Middle East]

UAE, Saudi cross-border logistics gets smoother with new guarantee system

World road transport organization IRU has successfully completed a cross-border TIR transport operation involving the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

TIR is a globally applicable international customs transit and guarantee system created and administered by IRU under UN mandate since 1949.

IRU said in a press statement that the TIR transport operation from Dubai in the UAE to Jordan’s capital Amman via Saudi Arabia was successfully concluded in four days instead of usual seven days – when done without the TIR guarantee – with the support of national guaranteeing associations and customs authorities.

Trucks operating under a TIR carnet (temporary export-import document) use one single international guarantee from a journey’s start to finish, even for intermodal transports.

‘This historical moment is the starting point of a new journey, providing an important border crossing solution for transport and logistics operators in the Gulf region,’ the statement said.

The Governor of Saudi Customs, Ahmed AlHakbani said in the statement that the start of TIR operations in the kingdom represents an important step for Saudi customs towards the harmonization and facilitation of customs transit procedures between TIR contracting parties.

Currently, more than 70 Contracting Parties use TIR, with approximately one million TIR carnets issued every year to over 10,000 transport and logistics companies and 80,000 trucks operating under the system across the world on a monthly basis.

[Zawya]

Dubai Customs launches Cross Border e-Commerce platform

Dubai Customs has officially launched its Cross Border e-Commerce platform to help the emirate become a global hub for e-commerce and encourage e-commerce companies set their businesses in Dubai.

Launched as part of Dubai Customs’ participation in the 3rd UAE Customs Week 2020, the new blockchain based project was piloted in September 2019, and comprises two phases.

The first one was the blockchain platform to facilitate e-commerce export transactions through couriers and was completed last September. The second one will facilitate e-commerce import, declaration consolidation and automated refunds, and reduce fees and charges in addition to onboarding of Logistics companies on platform.

Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World Group Chairman and CEO and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, said, “We are building today on the exceptional successes achieved by Dubai. The Cross Border e-Commerce is one of many projects that Dubai Customs have embarked on to boost the trade of the UAE and Dubai following the directives and vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, of crossing the AED 2 trillion mark in Dubai external trade by 2025. I am confident this new platform will attract new direct investments into the country.”

“The platform will eliminate declaration submission time and reduce cost of e-commerce transactions and identify and certify e-commerce companies in order to serve them better. It will also provide 100% visibility to all stakeholders on e-commerce transactions and regulate goods return by linking trader and customs system to accept returns. The new project will also help reduce clients’ time and effort,” he added.

[MENA FN]

 

Africa

DP World expands Rwanda’s consumer goods portfolio

Following the inauguration of the Kigali Logistics Platform last October, DP World has expanded the portfolio of Rwanda’s imports and exports for fresh produce and various perishable goods through the opening of the country’s first full-fledged cold storage.

The Kigali Logistics Platform serves as a key gateway to the heart of Africa through several road links, connecting Rwanda to neighboring landlocked countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, and Uganda. The Platform also enjoys connectivity with the Port of Mombasa in Kenya and Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania, securing two key trade gateways to the sea.

The opening of the new 500-square-metre facility is expected to pave the way for growth in Rwanda’s agricultural sector by benefitting farmers who have been expanding their produce beyond tea and coffee to export a range of fruits and vegetables to the international market. DP World’s cold supply chain provides end-to-end transport, reducing cost and delivery time and helping Rwandan importers and exporters.

Jean-Bosco Songa, a vegetable exporter using DP World’s new facilities, stated, “We believe that the new cold storage facility will dynamically assist Rwanda in promoting its exports of perishable goods to meet market demand while facilitating the entry of new customers for our businesses by land and sea, where we were limited to air freight facilities in the past.”

[Emirates News Agency]