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TCII KNOWLEDGE SHARING EVENT ON TRADE AND INVESTMENT GOOD PRACTICES

Posted on: April 24, 2018

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The Knowledge Sharing Event on Trade and Investment Good Practices was organised by the TradeCom II PMU from 20 to 21 february 2018, aimed at disseminating, as widely as possible, relevant “good practices” developed by TCII-supported programmes since the commencement of its implementationin December 2015. The Knowledge Sharing Event was attended by a total of 110 participants mostly representing the beneficiary ACP Countries and Regional Economics Communities (RECs).

In his opening key-note address, H.E. Dr. Patrick I. Gomes (Secretary-General of ACP Group) insisted on the role of the ACP Secretariat in building and sharing knowledge across the TradeCom II Programme. Uncertainties in the multilateral trade system demand solid knowledge and require stronger capacities to innovate and enhance knowledge on global trade issues and and to deal with the difficulties emerging from the demographic dividends, such as the youths who leave their countries in search of better opportunities. This calls for reinforcing production and trading capacities in the ACP countries to also benefit the youth.

Mr Leonard Mizzi, Acting Director at EC DEVCO (Planet and Prosperity; Rural Development, Food Security, Nutrition) highlighted the constructive approach to the event and considered this event as an opportunity to identify good practices that can be scaled up, including an analysis of their impact on trade. “As a result of the outputs of this event, the EC should go to the EU Parliament, the UN, and other platforms to show case what is really working on trade and what can be scaled up, especially results that can lead to a more equitable trading system”.

Five clusters of “good practice” cases were proposed for the first round of knowledge sharing from the 23 programmes implemented by the TradeCom II Programme under its first Programme Estimate. These good practice cases were built around the following targeted outputs:

  • Trade Policy and regulation
  • The EPA and WTO Processes
  • Custom Matters
  • Quality Infrastructure
  • Trade and Investment (The European Investment Plan; Private sector competitiveness)

CLUSTER 1: Trade Policies and Regulation

The objective of this session was to consider good practices and lessons learned from national and regional trade policies in sustaining trade expansion and overcoming trade obstacles. Special attention was given to the trade-related monitoring frameworks and results setting.

Under this cluster, discussions focused on:

  • The challenges facing small states in the implementation of the regional and national trade agenda, and the effectiveness of the TCII targeted support for trade mainstreaming and implementation of national trade policy frameworks;
  • Sharing good practices on trade policies to support sustainable trade expansion and overcome trade barriers; also premised on the forecast that the ACP Group has the potential to be the next emerging market economies;
  • Regional legal frameworks supporting trade integration and implementation of trade agreements;
  • Key challenges requiring continued search for good practices and their subsequent dissemination;
  • Link between TCII and other donors.

CLUSTER 2: The EPA and WTO Processes

The objective of this session was to demonstrate EPA implementation technical assistance good practices and lessons learnt that can be disseminated at national and regional levels and progress in attaining ACP-wide common negotiation positions at the WTO and the case for fisheries subsidies.

Under Cluster 2 on The EPA and WTO Processes, discussions focused on:

  • The good practice cases both from the TCII support to EPA implementation and the overall good practices emerging from the EPAs;
  • Effective participation in the WTO negotiations and the underlying good practice cases of the TCII support;
  • Regional experiences in the WTO negotiations in the trade issues that are critical for member states development and the good practice case from the TCII support;
  • Good practice cases from the TCII support to countries’ implementation of the WTO TFA.

Cluster 3: Customs matters

The session identified demonstrable results in increasing efficiency and reducing transaction costs associated with the movement of goods across borders, the good practice cases for TradeCom II replication, and new needs going forward.

In particular, discussions focused on:

  • The good practice cases on customs development under the EPAs;
  • Innovative developments on trade facilitation instruments especially the electronic certificate of origin;
  • Measures to enhance the efficiency of the trade facilitation services;
  • Appropriate reforms of customs-related legislation and regulations;
  • General reflections on good practices on customs matters.

Cluster 4: Quality Infrastructure (QI)

This session was aimed at exploring demonstrable regional and national quality infrastructure good practice cases in support of export competitiveness thus far, and the new needs going forward.

This panel focused on, inter alia:

  • Demonstrable regional and national quality infrastructure good practices in support of export competitiveness in ACP regional organisations;
  • Knowledge sharing with the business community, including women and youth traders, on the essence of the quality infrastructure;
  • the current and future needs of the QI sector in ACP countries;
  • the importance of quality infrastructure in the implementation of EPAs or iEPAs that have been signed;
  • the robustness of the quality of products sold on the domestic, regional or international market that will have a positive economic impact but also on consumers; and
  • the overall target of raising the level of competitiveness.

Cluster 5: Trade and Investment

This session considered innovative approaches towards supporting the private sector competitiveness, identifying the good practices and the measurement of their success thus far, and new needs going forward.

The session was organized in 2 sub-clusters.

In the sub-cluster 5A “Private sector competitiveness”, presentations and discussions focused on:

  • projects and programmes that provided support to formulate ACP countries’ export strategy,
  • identifying priorities and potentialities of their exports with respect to the European Union market,
  • consolidating trade flows and other relevant data and increase and diversify exports.

Under the sub-cluster 5B, the European External Investment Plan (EIP) was presented and discussed as a tool to contribute to sustainable development, improve the investment climate, tackle roots of migration, encourage private investment and focus on jobs and growth. The aim of EIP is to go beyond classical development assistance and rather use the financial means to influence other streams available to achieve the SDGs.

Maximin EMAGNA, (Expert in Charge of Private Sector & Investment of ACP Secretariat) had a presentation on the ACP Private Sector Development Strategy, aimed at helping to tackle the obstacles and challenges faced by the private sector dominated by MSMEs in ACP countries. It seeks to develop a resilient and increasing private sector to play a major role in a sustainable national economic growth trajectory while seeking to reduce poverty in ACP countries. Il also aims to create real synergies between political principals, development practitioners, resource suppliers and beneficiaries to promote real creation of decent jobs ACP countries.

The Knowledge sharing event, gave also the opportunity to OIF to showcase the state of play of the new linkages of H&S Programme with other programmes like DEDICOT, aimed at involving the Africa (one of the main cotton producers) in joining the international cotton-value chain.

The two-days seminar was closed with a presentation of the TCII Team Leader, Ahmed Ndyeshobola, on the recommendations on the way forward for the TCII Programme and the statements of Antti KARHUNEN, Head of Unit, Private Sector Development, Trade, Regional Integration and Viwanou GNASSOUNOU, Assistant Secretary-General, Sustainable Economic Development and Trade Department.

Mr. Gnassounou insisted on the need to encourage the EU, also in the context of the External Investment Plan (EIP), to provide more than just funds but the means to use the funds exploring the effective use of key institutions in the ACP countries and regions to better address the challenges and marshal additional resources from, inter alia, the EIP.

Mr. Karhunen highlighted the role of TCII Programme in the EU Development Agenda 2030. The first phase of the TCII programme is positive in terms of formulating national and regional trade policies, dispute settlements, information portals, coaching of SMEs, etc. These programme outputs must, therefore, be capitalised upon so that they remain sustainable and contribute to real economic and trade gains. The second phase is expected to provide more inputs in the areas of the advancement of the SDGs and TCII will continue to build capacities at local levels, and support strategic dialogue with businesses also beyond Africa, understanding their constraints and providing technical support going forward as they address the investment climate under the EIP and the structural reform agenda.

The Event was thought by all the participants to have been a great success in terms of participation and quality of discussions and demonstration of good practice experiences from the national and regional programmes supported by the TCII Programme.

<<<Download the Knowledge Sharing Event Report>>>

Programme funded by European Union at the request of ACP Group - Implemented by AESA CONSORTIUM