Mnuchin: China -US trade talks were constructive

US negotiators attended a working dinner in China on Thursday night. The group led by Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin met with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Beijing 

Mnuchin said in a tweet on Friday that the talks were “constructive”. He further said that he looks forward to welcoming China’s Vice Premier to continue the discussions in Washington, next week. 

There is optimism for progress around the US-China talks – Asian stocks rose on Friday. 

US President, Donald J Trump on March 2018 signed a memorandum under section 301 of the US Trade Act of 1974, instructing the US Trade Representative to apply tariffs of $50 billion on Chinese goods. 

 

 

By: Kgothatso Nkanyane

 

Egyptian ambassador calls for more bileteral trade with South Africa

­Sherif Eissa, Egyptian ambassador to South Africa has called for increased trade and investment  relations between South Africa and his country.

Eissa who was speaking at the recent South African Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) Trade and Investment Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa further called political cooperation.

South Africa and Egypt both have big economies, noted the ambassador. He questioned the small trade volume between the two countries. There has not been any close trade relations between the two countries. This has led to a minimal trade volume – amounted to just $300 million.

“Egypt is very strong in chemical industries, including fertilisers and petrochemicals,” said  FEI African Cooperation Commitee chairperson, Dr Sherif El Gabaly, who addressed the same forum.

Dr El Gabaly urged South African and Egyptian business communities to take advantage of the opportunities that could come with trade between the two countries.   

 

 

 

 

Source: Engineering News

President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed Edward Kieswetter as Head of the South African Revenue Service (SARS)

Former chief executive of Alexander Forbes, Edward Kieswetter has been appointed by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to be the new commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (SARS). Kieswetter will start his five-year term at the beginning of May.

Kieswetter has been tasked with the reestablishment of trust in the South Africa tax collection agency. According to dailymaverick.co.za the tax institution had been mismanaged and dismantled through alleged corrupt dealings.

Kieswetter having a good reputation, certainly looks to be a good choice, as well as him coming from the private sector – he will establish international standard working procedures and benchmarking. Kieswetter also has previous experience with SARS having worked as the deputy commissioner 2004-2009.

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

Bolsonaro’s official trips spark controversy

Brazil’s right-wing leader Jair Bolsonaro had three official international trips in March. In a search for new business relations, Bolsonaro and a Brazillian delegation visited the United States and Chile are still to visit Israel. 

The trips sparked controversy;

United States
The Brazillian President arrived on Sunday,16th to meet his US counterpart, Donald J Trump. During the three day trip, the right-wing leader declared himself a bold devotee of the US – the right-wing league discussed mutual priorities, including the Venezuela crisis. The US President said that he intends to make Brazil a major Non-NATO ally or a NATO ally.

READ MORE: Trump to designate Brazil as a “Major Non-NATO ally”

Chile
Bolsonaro’s Chile official visit was wrapped up with protests and controversy. The Brazilian leader commended Chile’s former military dictatorship that led to the first-ever boycott of a presidential visit by influential Chilean politicians. The Brazillian leader caused anger and a rare political boycott.

Israel
The Brazillian leader will arrive in Israel on the 31st of March for a three-day visit.

By: Kgothatso Nkanyane

The University of Johannesburg to award President Xi an honorary doctorate

The University of Johannesburg announced on Tuesday intentions to award Chinese President, Xi Jinping an honorary doctorate. The public university located in Johannesburg, South Africa will be the first university in the country to confer a doctorate to a Chinese leader. 

The honor will be awarded on the 11 April at the University and will be accepted by Chinese ambassador to South Africa Lin Songtian, on President Xi’s behalf.

“What needs to be mentioned is that this is the first time for President Xi to accept an honorary doctorate degree given by a foreign university. South Africa is the only country in the world that President Xi has paid three state visits to. This event is of great and far-reaching significance to China-South Africa relations,” a UJ statement said.

 

Source: The Citizen

BRICS New Development Bank positive on Asian economies

Annual reports from the Boao Forum for Asia say that Asia remains competitive in creativity, tech innovation, and economic openness. Some are concerned whether Asia can keep its competitiveness in face of global volatility, but Leslie Maasdorp, vice president of the BRICS New Development Bank is bullish on the momentum of Asian economies.

“There is no question as the reports suggested. Asia right now is and will continue to be a significant growth engine in the world economy,” he told CGTN.

He mentioned that, in addition to traditional growth engines, the openness of the economy, application of new technology as well as innovation become the new sources of growth in Asia.

2018 witnessed some serious currency depreciation in emerging economies, between 10 and 40 percent against the U.S. dollar. Maasdorp said that it’s fundamentally because of a strong U.S. dollar, not a domestic problem.

“Emerging markets suffer from the direct impact of the movement in the U.S. interest rate. If the U.S. dollar rises, it directly leads to the reversing capital flows out of the emerging markets. So many of the emerging markets, like Brazil, South Africa, and Turkey, suffer from this,” he explained.

“Let’s take Turkey as an example. The impact of that significant depreciation in the Lira has taken huge and immediate effect on other emerging markets,” he added.

He noted that for Asian economies or any other emerging market, the key thing is to insulate from any extremeness of global volatility. “You can do this in a number of ways. One way is to have strong savings and investment rate, which is Asian economies have,” he said.

He also said that other emerging markets are not so fortunate as their investment flows are influenced by external volatility. And he thought commodity-based economies are more easily affected by external factors as they are pricing commodities in U.S. dollars.

As the U.S. Fed signals no rate hike for 2019, he believed that depreciation pressure would be absolutely eased. “A stable U.S. interest rate that is predictable for the future should provide a better environment for investment decision,” he stressed, projecting that emerging economies would develop in a more stable and predictable environment.

 

ISSUED BY: CGTN Global Business

 

SADC leaders attend Saharawi Solidarity Conference

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of State are in meeting at the South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) offices, in Pretoria. The leaders are in meeting to stand in solidarity with the Saharawi people of the Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).

South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa said that the aim of the conference is to build bridges, ending subjugation and dominance through force. This is also part of building an integrated, politically united Africa based on the ideals of Pan-Africanism, as well as ensuring a peaceful and secure Africa, he said.

The Conference noted that the Saharawi made their decision was clear in 1991, when they agreed to engage in a referendum for independence that’s been obstructed by Morocco for 27 years. The Africa Union (AU), the United Nations (UN) and Morocco were also urged to expedite the referendum.

The Saharawi people are willing to engage with good faith with Morocco in a civil manner of dignity and respect. All that is need is for Morocco to sit at the same table and to implement decisions of AU, UN and international community at large.

 

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

Scientific-technical and innovative cooperation on Brazil’s BRICS presidency agenda

Brasillia will this year be taking the rotating presidency of the bloc created in 2006 that includes also Russia, India, China and South Africa. Brazil will host the annual summit later on the year – the Brazillian BRICS chairmanship reported on their website that it will be hosted from the 13th of November to 14 at the Itamaraty Palace, where the Brazil Foreign Ministry is located.

Cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) is said to be on the agenda. The main theme of the 11th summit is fomulated as “Economic growth for innovative future”. Other discussion points on the agenda include digital economy and fighting against organised crimes and money laudering.

Members of the BRICS coalition have since the fifth summit in Durban, South Africa adopted a  declaration and action plan which mandated Ministers of Science, Technology and Innovation to convene every year. This to discuss how member countries can further collaborate in STI.

 

By: Kgothatso Nkanyane

Bafana qualifies for AFCON

South African National Football team Bafana Bafana only needed a point against Libya in order to qualify for the 2020 African Cup of Nations (AFCON). There was a lot of skepticism on social media from the South African public, as Bafana have a long history in not qualifying for tournaments.

After the Bafana failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the 2018 AFCON, the South Africa team was under a lot of pressure to get over the line. Bafana coach Stewart Baxter had promised to leave his post if Bafana had failed to qualify which put added pressure on him to get the team selection and tactics right before the game.

The stand out performance of goal keeper Daren Keet in first half kept Bafana in the match as Libya mounted a strong first half attack, but it was forward Percy Tau who scored the opener for Bafana. This made it more difficult for Libya as they needed to win the game to qualify.

Libya did manage equalize with a penalty but it was Percy again who scored his goal in the match with 20 minute remaining to clinch the game and Bafana’s AFCON’s qualifications. Bafana didn’t play well in match but still managed to get the result they needed 2-1 finishing second in group after Nigeria. 

 

By: Mokgethi Mtezuka

 

Brazil confirms date for the 11th BRICS Summit

Brazil will be hosting the 11th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit. Brazil has confirmed that the summit will be hosted on the 11-13 November.

READ MORE:Brazil to host next BRICS Summit in 2019

The meeting will be held at the Itamaraty Palace, where the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is located.

South Africa was host of the 10th BRICS meeting in July 2018.

READ MORE:The 10th BRICS Summit outcomes

According to Tass, the theme of the summit was formulated as follows “Economic growth for innovative future”. Among the priorities stated by Brasilia is scientific-technical and innovative cooperation, digital economy, the fight against organized crime and money laundering, and the consolidation of cooperation within the BRICS Business Council and the BRICS New Development Bank.

 

Source: Tass. com