1. Sustainable Development Goals to kick in with start of new year
As 2015 comes to an end, and with it the 15-year cycle of the anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the United Nations will officially usher in – on 1 January 2016, an even more ambitious set of goals to banish a whole host of social ills by 2030.
“The seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are our shared vision of humanity and a social contract between the world's leaders and the people,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted unanimously by 193 Heads of State and other top leaders at a summit at UN Headquarters in New York in September. To read more please visit: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsId=52922#.Vo532rYrKM8
2. UNCTAD’s Technology and Innovation Report 2015 launched in Nairobi
Launched amidst over 70 trade experts and policy makers, the report tackles a highly relevant question for policy makers - how to ensure coherence between science, technology and innovation policy and industrial policy to promote overall sustainable development as mandated by goal 9 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi launched the report, highlighting the central role technology will play in ensuring all Africans benefit from the continent's economic growth. To read more please visit: http://unctad.org/en/pages/newsdetails.aspx?OriginalVersionID=1177&Sitemap_x0020_Taxonomy=UNCTAD%20Home;
3. Developing Countries Make Headway on WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement
The World Bank Group, through its $36 million Trade Facilitation Support Program (TFSP), is working with 47 of the countries that have ratified the TFA, on its implementation. Developed in December 2014, the support program is helping poorer countries meet the logistical and administrative burdens imposed by the TFA so that they can benefit from the agreement and expand their participation in global trade. To read more about the World Bank’s efforts please visit: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2015/12/22/developing-countries-make-headway-on-wto-trade-facilitation-agreement
4. Lesotho and Georgia, two additional ratifications for the Trade Facilitation Agreement
Lesotho and Georgia are the two new members that have ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). The WTO Secretariat received the countries’ instruments of acceptance on January 4th. These two ratifications bring to 65 the number of WTO members that have formally accepted the TFA.
Several ratifications were submitted by ministers during the organization’s Tenth Ministerial Conference in Nairobi. To read more please visit: https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news16_e/fac_04jan16_e.htm
5. 2015 in review - OECD provides new data and analysis to support more open markets for trade and investment
All throughout 2015, the OECD has provided new data and analysis that highlight the benefits of deeper trade integration. The Trade Facilitation Indicators show that implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) could reduce worldwide trade costs by anywhere from 12.5% to 17.5%.
New Trade in Value Added (TiVA) data was also made available. TiVA measures the flows of goods and services within global production chains, and the new version of the database includes 61 economies and 34 industrial sectors. For a look at all of OECD’s development in 2015 please visit their Year in Review Newsletter at http://www.oecd.org/tad/newsletters/oecd-trade-newsletter-21-december-2015.htm
6. OECD Trade Policy Papers - Contribution of Trade Facilitation Measures to the Operation of Supply Chains
This OECD report assesses how specific border procedures impact on the operation of supply chains and the resulting policy implications, using data from the OECD Trade Facilitation Indicators (TFIs) database and from the OECD-WTO database on trade-in-value-added. To read the report please visit: http://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/publicdisplaydocumentpdf/?cote=TAD/TC/WP(2014)25/FINAL&docLanguage=En
7. The trade part of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement becomes operational on 1 January 2016
On 1 January 2016, the European Union (EU) and Ukraine will start applying the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) which forms part of the Association Agreement signed in June 2014.
By more closely aligning Ukraine’s regulations with EU legislation, the DCFTA will promote higher quality standards for products and will increase the levels of consumer and environmental protection. To read more please visit: http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/press/index.cfm?id=1425
8. EU and the Philippines launch negotiations for a free trade agreement
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Philippine Secretary of Trade and Industry Gregory Domingo today agreed to start negotiations for an EU-Philippines free trade agreement (FTA).
The first round of negotiations is expected to take place in the first half of 2016 in the Philippines. To read more please visit: http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/press/index.cfm?id=1429
9. Dual use: Entry into force of 2015 EU control list
The 2015 updated EU control list entered into force on 25 December 2015, as per Commission Delegated Regulation 2015/2420 of 12 October 2015 (See OJ L340/1 of 24 December 2015). To see the list please visit: http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2016/january/tradoc_154129.2015-2420.pdf
10. EC finalises €12.7bn Connecting Europe Facility grants
The European Commission's Innovation and Network's Executive Agency (INEA) signed the final grant agreements for the last batch of Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) projects on January 7, meaning that work on 263 key European transport infrastructure projects worth €12.7bn included in CEF are now underway.
Rail accounts for 112 of the projects which are worth a combined €9.59bn with the EU's contribution to the overall cost of these schemes ranging from 20% to 85%. To read more please visit: http://www.railjournal.com/index.php/financial/ec-finalises-E127bn-connecting-europe-facility-grants.html?channel
11. UNCTAD to help Kazakhstan modernize customs administration
UNCTAD and Kazakhstan recently launched a new project to align the country's customs procedures with international standards and adapt to the conditions of its recent membership of the World Trade Organization.
It will contribute to the implementation of the new presidential strategy-called "One Hundred Concrete Steps"-aimed at positioning Kazakhstan among the world's top economies. To read more please visit: http://unctad.org/en/pages/newsdetails.aspx?OriginalVersionID=1174&Sitemap_x0020_Taxonomy=UNCTAD%20Home;