Trading up in Smoke?

Indonesia has filed for a WTO panel against the United States (US) after the introduction of a seemingly benign piece of US legislation has slashed Indonesian cigarette exports to the US from US$ 15 million per annum to zero. The Indonesian exports have simply gone up in smoke. The US legislation that is at issue is found in the Family …

Trade Commission votes to Protect Wheat Farmers

As of the beginning of May 2010 wheat farmers in South Africa will enjoy an increase of 40% in the basis of their level of tariff protection from foreign wheat imports. From a consumer perspective this may seem at odds with the lingering memories of the commodity spikes of the global food crisis still fresh and ongoing policy interventions across …

The ‘Hungry’ Legal Regime for International Food Aid

The lingering global financial crisis has been accompanied by a less publicized but in many respects more sinister crisis in Africa – a food crisis. This food crisis and the regulatory lag in taking corrective action in its wake has led to regional farmers in Southern Africa taking up this cause onto their agendas, with a view to influencing the …

SPS ‘Good Offices’ – A Good Idea?

‘Good Offices’ is a less formal, quicker and cheaper way to solve a trade dispute than would be the case under formal dispute settlement proceedings. It is however more formal than a bilateral consultation between the parties. The SPS Agreement actually encourages ad hoc consultations or negotiations among Members on specific SPS issues under Article 12.2 of the SPS Agreement. …

SPS Concerns Addressed via Dispute Settlement

The WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (the SPS Agreement) deals with the application of food safety and animal and plant health regulations. The aim of the SPS Agreement is to ensure that a country’s consumers are being supplied with food that is safe to eat. Safety is viewed in relation to standards the country considers …

Agriculture Flavours the 6th Annual African WTO Moot Court

The Annual African Trade Moot is a joint initiative of the University of Pretoria and the University of the Western Cape, now in its 6th year. Drawing on our expertise in agricultural trade issues, Hilton Zunckel has designed the 2009 moot problem for the competition. The competition is a unique opportunity for students from Anglophone African countries to engage in …

New South African Trade Minister Adopts Development Mantle

 Following South Africa’s fourth post-Apartheid election, the country’s former deputy minister of trade Dr. Rob Davies was promoted in the new Cabinet to be South Africa’s new Minister of Trade and Industry. Davies comes to the position with an impressive record of experience in international trade, where he is known for his strong developmental outlook to trade policy and trade …

New home for the WTO

A bit of a spat seems to be brewing in Geneva between the Swiss ambassador to the WTO and the WTO Secretariat’s Director General, Pascal Lamy. The Swiss are telling the DG that under no circumstances should a small, “house-keeping” meeting of trade ministers planned for the middle of the year be transformed into a full WTO Ministerial Meeting such …

Is Brazil Relevant for South Africa in Trade?

Brazil has been on the South African radar of late for two reasons. Firstly the results of the Brazilian Trade Policy Review were released in the WTO this month; and secondly South Africa and its local neighbours are now working to ratify the free trade agreement concluded with Brazil and its Mercosur partners at the end of last year. The …

New Agriculture Chair for WTO

Its been expected for some time, and now its happened – the Chair of the WTO Agriculture negotiations Crawford Falconer, affectionately known as ‘The Falcon’, is to relinquish his position and fly home. These without having seen the Doha Round agricultural modalities come to fruition. The departure of the Falcon does not surprise many at this stage because he was …