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Europe

Why Boris Johnson’s Brexit trade deal is not so different to no deal

As the days tick away to the end of the post-Brexit transition period in December it’s all starting to feel very 2019.

The U.K. government is preparing for the possibility of miles-long lorry queues in the southeast of England at the start of 2021; truckers heading for continental Europe may need a permit to enter the county of Kent; drug companies have been advised to stockpile six weeks’ worth of supplies in case their imports get caught in the snarl-up.

The reason? Though Boris Johnson averted no-deal last year by securing a Brexit Withdrawal Agreement that covered the terms of Britain’s exit from the European Union, his proposed economic relationship with the EU really isn’t that different — in terms of the practical potential for short-term disruption — from a clean-break no-deal.

Leaving the EU’s customs union and single market — as the U.K. intends to do in any scenario — means controls on goods traveling in either direction.

The government has already postponed plans for a fully-functioning set of customs controls for goods entering the U.K. to July 2021. Portrayed as a way to give businesses more time to prepare, it was also an acknowledgment that the border wouldn’t be ready in time and that traffic flow would have to be prioritized to avoid major disruption.

However, much also depends on how well-prepared businesses themselves will be for the limited number of checks that will take place when entering the U.K. — and the far more significant checks planned on the other side of the Channel.

[Politico]

Britain seeks to smooth post-Brexit Northern Ireland trade disruption

Britain announced a 200 million pound scheme to help smooth post-Brexit trade disruption for businesses in Northern Ireland when European Union freedom of movement rules cease to apply at the end of the year.

Northern Ireland has Britain’s only land border with the EU, making it a focal point for complex questions about how a new system of cross-border trade will work when more than 45 years of market integration with mainland Europe ends.

Senior minister Michael Gove is to set out the new Trader Support Service during a visit to Northern Ireland on Friday (August 7), promising a free end-to-end service to deal with import and safety and security declarations on behalf of traders.

“It is a unique service that will ensure that businesses of all sizes can have import processes dealt with on their behalf, at no cost,” Gove said in a statement ahead of the visit.

An additional 155 million pounds will be invested in the technology needed to make it work.

The support scheme is due to start in September and will help traders navigate the paperwork required under the terms of Britain’s exit, which mean Northern Ireland is subject to both British and EU customs regulations.

The complex arrangement threatened to derail exit negotiations last year, with Brussels concerned that goods should not flow unchecked into the bloc via Britain.

Both sides agreed a compromise that avoids the need for a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland – something many feared could have threatened the peace deal that ended decades of sectarian violence in the region.

[Reuters]

UK and Japan rush to secure trade deal: what is in it?

After weeks of high-speed online negotiations, the UK and Japan are seeking to conclude a post-Brexit free trade deal before the end of the weekend.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss “will hail this as the first major trade deal signed by Britain since Brexit”, the Financial Times reports.

The negotiations, which began in June, “have taken place remotely at breakneck speed”, says The Times. “While the UK’s discussions with the US and EU have been taking place in rounds, talks with Japan have been constant”.

The new agreement is largely based on Japan’s trade deal with the EU, “which created the world’s largest free trade zone when it came into effect last year”, says The Times.

Britain has benefited from the provisions of that agreement during the Brexit transition period, but that comes to an end on 31 December.

“If Britain and the EU failed to secure a trade deal, it would mean Japanese companies based in the UK face tariffs for imported parts from continental Europe,” the Daily Express reports.

One priority for negotiators has been to “formulate trade rules to protect famous products on either side, including Scotch and Kobe beef”, says The Brussels Times. The goal is to “prevent the sale of cheaper knock-off alternatives” and preserve national pride.

A more significant point of contention, says the Express, is “Tokyo’s demands for cuts in car export tariffs”.

“Japan would like to keep the same low export tariffs for cars and car parts it had with the EU,” the Brussels Times reports. “The UK, however, would like to install its own tariffs, which are higher.”

[The Week]

Middle East

Dubai retains rank among world’s top five shipping centers

Dubai has retained its position as the only city in the Middle East to rank among the world’s top five destinations for maritime industry for the third consecutive year, according to a global shipping industry index.

The latest recognition once again underscores the competitiveness, attractiveness and inclusiveness of Dubai’s local maritime environment, which can be compared to the best in the world.

The International Shipping Centre Development (ISCD) Index ranked Dubai ahead of Rotterdam, Hamburg, Athens, New York, New Jersey and Tokyo.

Singapore has retained the top spot as international shipping center for the seventh consecutive year.

“For the third year in a row, Dubai has succeeded to maintain its position among the world’s top five destinations for maritime shipping. The latest accolade is the outcome of the unwavering support provided by the wise leadership, in addition to the joint efforts undertaken by the public and private sectors to enhance the components of the maritime sector, to match the best in the world,” said Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of Dubai Ports, Customs and Free Zone and Chairman, Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA).

In a report that was recently issued by Baltic Exchange, and Xinhua, Dubai’s continuing status as a global hub for maritime shipping and logistics was revealed.

“This milestone reflects the success of well-defined strategies that are aimed at constantly enhancing operational efficiency and safety. The modern ports with high absorptive capacity emerge as an important competitive advantage and a fundamental pillar for attracting marine investments to the emirate, which is today considered one of the most important business centers in the world,” said Sulayem.

[Khaleej Times]

Saudi Customs eases restrictions for trucks from GCC states

The Saudi Customs has relaxed coronavirus precautionary measures and restrictions for the movement of trucks coming from other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.

All the trucks carrying goods destined for Saudi Arabia will be allowed to enter through its land ports, according to a circular issued by Saudi Customs to officials of all entry points, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The only condition for the entry is that drivers shall be subjected to medical checks for coronavirus. This relaxation is in line with the approval of the recommendation of the Council of Political and Security Affairs by the highest authorities with regard to easing the pandemic restrictions.

It is noteworthy that the Saudi Customs had introduced a number of controls and restrictions on freight traffic through the land ports in implementation of the recommendations of the concerned committee after the outbreak of the pandemic. However, there were exemptions for trucks, carrying essential goods such as foodstuffs, medicine, and medical and relief supplies.

[Saudi Gazette]

Dubai Trade launches ‘ZADI’ unified platform to support food security, facilitate food import in Dubai

Dubai Trade DP World, UAE Region’s single window platform for cross-border trade has announced the launch of ZADI, a unified food import platform aimed at facilitating the import and re-export of food shipments throughout Dubai ports.

The first-of-its-kind platform in the Middle East is part of Dubai Trade’s plan to be the leading integrated platform in all import and re-export services. It also aligns with the UAE plan for the post-COVID-19 era that will ensure the country’s robust recovery and development.

Initiated by the Dubai City Makers of the General Secretariat of the Executive Council of Dubai, and through a synergy of efforts between DP World-UAE Region, Dubai Municipality, Dubai Customs and Dubai Trade; the platform is positioned to help over 18,000 companies in Dubai execute 360,000 transactions annually via its streamlined process.

Typically, Dubai Customs conduct security and customs inspections at Jebel Ali Port and Dubai Municipality teams check food safety and quality. The new system enables customers to submit their requests for both food or customs inspection via one unified platform which reduces their operational costs in addition to saving time and effort.

[Zawya]

 

Africa

Egypt reviews standards of local products

Minister of Trade and Industry Nevin Gamea ordered the review of the minimum percentage of local components required to consider a product as “Made in Egypt,” Al Shorouk news website reported.

Manufacturers, under law number 27 of 1994, have to use at least 25% of their components from local sources for their commodities to be considered Egyptian.

In July, the government launched an initiative that aims to encourage the purchase of local products. The initiative is set to increase consumer spending by EGP 125 billion.

[Arab Finance]

Tagerly launched as first drop shipping platform in Egypt

The Tagerly drop shipping platform has been fully launched in Egypt to help people start online wholesale businesses and sell online without the need for big capital.

The platform’s users have no requirement to buy products, own a warehouse to store goods, or even deal with delivery companies.

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has hit global economies hard, with a worldwide recession widely anticipated whose effects are expected to extend for years to come.

In light of these economic conditions, many people are looking for new ways to earn money and increase their income, by selling online through Facebook and other social media platforms.

Traditionally, any step in this direction has required capital to buy large quantities of products for resale at wholesale prices, with storage requirements also needed. This has come in addition to other logistical issues, such as product delivering requirements and collecting payments from customers.

Through a series of simple steps, Tagerly allows users to create an account and then choose the method of collecting profits, either in the form of a bank transfer or through electronic payment methods.

[MENA FN]