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Discussion on Doha Development Agenda for upcoming 11th WTO Ministerial Conference

On 18th September 2017, African Ministers of Trade gathered at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for discussing on priority issues for the continent in the current Doha Development Round. They also discussed new issues currently being proposed in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), such as e-commerce, transparency and investment facilitation and the meeting was jointly hosted by South Africa’s Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and the African Union Commission.

The meeting also preceded the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC 11), which will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in December. 11th WTO Ministerial Conference will be based on the Doha Development Agenda (DDA). The DDA is the latest trade negotiation round of the WTO, which commenced in November 2001. Its objective is to lower trade barriers around the world to facilitate increased global trade.

At the meeting, Minister Davies had also provided his review and comments on DDA. According to Minister Davies, DDA still remains a level of ambiguity in the WTO and there are number of other proposals on subjects under consideration in the WTO, such as domestic support, which moves away from the principles agreed to under the DDA.

The Informal Meeting reaffirmed the importance of concluding the outstanding DDA issues and the new issues to be proposed for rule-making in the WTO. As per the Minister, it is premature to consider multilateral rules on e-commerce and in South Africa's view, priority should be given to cooperation, addressing the digital divide and exploring options for promoting digital industrial policy.

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South Africa keen to welcome and support investors coming to South Africa from different countries

On 26th September 2017, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies of South Africa said that the establishment of one-stop shop called Invest SA was to support investors looking to come into the country.

The Minister was addressing an American business delegation, led by Ambassador Andrew Young, to the Union Buildings in Tshwane. The Minister also provides tax incentives for approved investors.

Investsa one-stop shop lowers the cost of doing business and eases the degree of difficulty in doing business in the country by providing strategic guidance, reducing regulatory inefficiencies and cutting red tape for investors.

President Jacob Zuma launched the national Invest sa one-stop shop for investors at the premises of the Department of Trade and Industry in Tshwane in March. This was followed by the launch of the provincial one-stop shop office in the Western Cape in early September.

Currently, over 600 US companies are operating in the South Africa economy in various sectors and about 214 investment projects in South Africa from the United States. There have also been investments in the mineral sector in South Africa, fast moving consumer goods sector and the communications sector. There are also 29 projects by South African companies invested in the United States in sectors such as minerals, fruit and IT services.

As per Minister Davies, the business environment of South Africa is well understood by US companies. The country is also pursuing regional integration programmes on the continent, while also supporting countries on the continent’s industrialisation efforts through South African companies investing in those countries. South Africa also offers access to the region.

Acting Head of Investment South Africa (InvestSA), Yunus Hoosen, said there are opportunities for investment in agriculture and the green economy, among others.

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7 November 2017
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International Desks
 
Asia & Australia
M.P.Mehani
asia@indiajuris.com
 
Americas
Shivkumar Idnani
americas@indiajuris.com
 
UK & Europe
Sameer Rastogi
europe@indiajuris.com
 
Africa
Rahul Gupta
africa@indiajuris.com
 
Middle East
Dinesh Sabharwal
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