On Latin America’s Pacific rim, deepening free trade appears to be the name of the game, as the region’s pro-markets countries of Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile – have agreed to drop most tariffs to speed the consolidation of the Pacific Alliance.
At least, that is what Colombia’s President, Juan Manuel Santos, told beyondbrics on the sidelines of the group’s latest summit in the Colombian city of Cali on Thursday. Continue reading »
“The growing sense of bonhomie between the two countries makes sense,” writes Joe Leahy, the FT’s Brazil bureau chief, in a new FT Report: Brazil & the US 2013.
Brazil, he writes, offers the US a friendly face in an increasingly multipolar world, while for Brazil, the US is an ever-more-important partner in its effort to become more internationally-competitive and escape the middle-income trap in which it has languished for decades. Continue reading »
A rising middle class, expanding population and stagnant local agricultural production are driving up Africa’s food imports. Bad luck is partly to blame. Weather-related damage has hit rice crops in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Niger and Madagascar. Foot and mouth disease has hurt Egypt’s bovine sector, and cassava – one of Africa’s major offerings to world agricultural trade – is being felled by a fast-spreading virus.
But policy volatility is also at fault. Nigeria – Africa’s largest rice importer – announced a hike in import taxes last year which prompted a sudden rise in purchases. And across Africa, weak infrastructure hinders agri-markets. Continue reading »
Japan’s announcement in March that it would seek to join the trans-Pacific Partnership looked like great news for the US. The TPP, intended to lower trade barriers among some of Washington’s key trading partners in the Pacific region, is an important part of the Obama administration’s “rebalancing” to Asia – and having the continent’s second-biggest economy on board would give it greater clout.
But as US undersecretary of commerce Francisco Sánchez told beyondbrics on Tuesday, Washington still has concerns about Japanese trade policy – particularly in cars. Continue reading »
India’s outsourcers and industrial conglomerates have found success in western markets but consumer goods group Godrej sees its future in the developing markets of Africa and South America, where its experience of marketing to poorer consumers gives it an advantage. Adi Godrej, chairman, talks to the FT’s James Crabtree about marketing and innovation at the bottom of the pyramid.
The multilateral trading system, as embedded in the WTO, has been a key driver of economic growth and development, job creation and poverty reduction in the last 60 years.
The WTO has been one of the most successful international organisations both in monitoring the implementation of its members’ commitments and in its dispute settlement pillars. However, the prolonged impasse in the Doha round of negotiations is a clear sign that the WTO has to be reformed, otherwise it runs the risk of becoming irrelevant. Continue reading »
More evidence of global economic slowdown, as if we need it.
Taiwan on Tuesday announced a plunge in GDP growth to 1.5 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2013, less than half the 3.7 per cent in the previous quarter and well below forecasts of 3.1 per cent.
By global standards, Taiwan is a smallish economy. But with its trade links to the rest of the world, it serves as a useful harbinger. And this is not good news. Continue reading »
A weaker rand may add to the cost of imports in South Africa, but there are positive effects. The depreciation that has seen the rand fall 6.47 per cent year to date is helping exports and, if could even help ease the country’s balance of trade headache.
Trade data due on Tuesday may show that Chinese imports from the country have shot up in March, according to one analyst, which could underpin an improvement in South Africa’s trade balance. It’s not the consensus view, but it’s worth taking note. Continue reading »
The China-Africa debate is never far away. Lamido Sanusi, governor of Nigeria’s central bank, recently wrote in the FT of a whiff of colonialism. Much has been said about the two countries’ unequal relationship, based on China’s supposedly insatiable desire for African raw materials and for control of its mining assets.
But perhaps a bigger problem is not China’s dominance but China’s slowdown. What happens when the country doesn’t want so many of Africa’s exports? That moment may be coming sooner than you think. Continue reading »
Africa’s growth continues to make headlines at home and abroad. But while the continent has made impressive gains at a macro level, those gains have been slow in creating jobs and wealth at a local level.
More needs to be done, and soon, if Africa’s growth is to be sustained, and Africa is to reach its true economic potential. Talk of a demographic dividend, is in reality a wake up call for politicians and the private sector, bringing with it considerable social, economic and environmental challenges. Continue reading »
A graphic illustration of the strength of the recent US recovery and of the slowdown in China came on Thursday with Japan’s trade figures.
In the fiscal year to March, exports to the US exceeded those to Japan for the first time since 2009. The figures were affected by an upsurge in anti-Japanese sentiment among Chinese car-buyers. But they also show that there is still some energy left in the old motor that is the US economy, while the Chinese engine may need refueling. Continue reading »
Philippine exports in February fell 15.6 per cent from a year earlier to their lowest level in 14 months, after falling 2.7 per cent the previous month as demand for the country’s main shipments of semiconductor chips and electronics devices has slumped.
The sharp fall in exports suggests the Philippines will struggle to meet the government’s GDP growth target of 6 to 7 per cent for 2013 after last year’s robust expansion of 6.6 per cent, the highest among south-east Asia’s five biggest economies. Continue reading »
There is a new Great Game afoot and it is taking place beneath the sea floor of the eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey and Israel’s tentative reconciliation is a process so fraught that US Secretary of State John Kerry appeared in Istanbul at the weekend to chivvy the two sides towards restoring full diplomatic ties. But if the steps he set out can be taken — agreeing compensation for nine Turks killed by Israeli forces in 2010, avoiding inflammatory talk, exchange of ambassadors — then a whole series of changes could be unleashed from Damascus to Brussels. Continue reading »
The forthcoming trip, which Mexico’s foreign ministry has described as a working visit to cover everything from trade and competitiveness to security and education, is a big deal for both presidents, but in particular for Peña Nieto.
Not only will it add to political momentum at home, but the visit is also a chance for Peña Nieto to shift the discourse on the relationship between the two countries away from drug violence – and towards trade. Continue reading »
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