South Africa to push for 15-year extension of Agoa

first_img29 July 2014South Africa will push for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) to be extended for a 15-year period when its current period expires next year, and for its own inclusion in the programme’s rollover, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.Briefing reporters in Pretoria on Monday ahead of the United States-Africa Leaders’ Summit that takes place in Washington next week, Davies said South Africa believed that Agoa “has been a useful platform for cooperation between Africa and the US, and we are calling for an extension for 15 years”.African trade ministers will meet with US Trade Representative Michael Froman ahead of next week’s summit to discuss Agoa, which enables 39 eligible sub-Saharan African countries to export most products duty-free to the United States.The programme has seen total African exports to the US more than quadruple, and US exports to sub-Saharan Africa more than triple, since its inception in 2000.Davies said that a 15-year extension would “allow certainty for investments that are going to be made in African countries to take advantage of the Agoa opportunities. We believe that a rollover for that period of time on more or less the existing architecture would be a mutually beneficial and developmental decision that could be taken by the US.”On the question of South Africa’s possible exclusion from Agoa because of its perceived middle-income status, Davies said the government was arguing for South Africa’s continued inclusion.“The existing trading relationship with the US, including Agoa, has supported a growing, diversified and relatively balanced trading relationship,” Davies said, adding that South Africa’s economy was still characterised by high levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality.According to the Department of Trade and Industry, combined trade between South Africa and the US has shown consistent growth, increasing from R88-billion in 2009 to R130-billion in 2013.“It’s reasonably balanced,” Davies said. “Our view is that this relationship has been underpinned by Agoa, and therefore this is an arrangement that isn’t broken and doesn’t need fixing. It needs to be continued.”In addition, Davies argued, when the US Congress meets to decide on Agoa’s future, it should look at the issue of South Africa not “line by line” but holistically, taking into account that, when negotiating any kind of trade agreement, South Africa does so as part of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), which includes Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland.To exclude South Africa while including the other members would undermine the coherence of the SACU, Davies said.President Jacob Zuma will lead the South African delegation to the summit, which will be preceded by a meeting of US and African business executives, as well as the Agoa ministerial meeting.Davies said one aspect of the summit would focus on trade and investment, while the other focused on security and human development.Source: read more

Nitrogen Loss May Be the Theme of Crop Tour

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag NetAs the 2018 Ohio Crop Tour proved last week, this year’s corn and soybean crop may be a record breaker for the state. But, could it have been even better?“The thing that I noticed early in the growing season was that farmers didn’t stabilize their nitrogen,” said Brett Barton, Ohio’s Sales Manager for AgXplore. “We are seeing the effects of that as we wind down the growing season.”Because of a lack of heavy root setting in many corn fields in the spring, much of the nitrogen that was applied may not have made it to the plant before it left the soil profile. Barton says products like NZONE MAX or ContaiN to stabilize nitrogen and keep it accessible to the corn for a longer period of time.“Those products work by taking the nitrogen molecule and binding it to a soil colliod, which plays an important role in ion exchange and fertility,” Barton said. “We are not detrimental to the soil health and we do not kill bacteria and that makes us a different breed in the nitrogen stabilizer business.”Results in test plots show a 5 to 30 bushel advantage when using AgXplore’s line of products.“As I traveled the state throughout the growing season I have seen field after field begin to fire at an early stage of development,” Barton said. “Yes, this may be a very big crop this year, but you have to wonder if a little more investment in a nutrient plan could have made it even bigger.”last_img read more

Rajasthan, Manipur only states to have passed bills to check lynching: Lok Sabha informed

first_img On whether a number of states have enacted laws, making lynching a non-bailable offence and recommending life imprisonment for those involved in such violence, the minister said as per information available, two bills on the subject passed by state legislatures of Manipur and Rajasthan are reserved by the governor for consideration of the President have been received.“The bills so received are examined in consultation with the concerned central ministries,” he said.Mr. Rai said the government through audio-visual media has also generated public awareness to curb the menace of lynching. The government has also sensitised service providers to take steps to check the propagation of false news and rumours having potential to incite mob violence and lynching. In its order, the Supreme Court had said the state governments shall designate a senior police officer, not below the rank of Superintendent of Police, as nodal officer in each district. The state governments have to constitute a special task force so as to procure intelligence reports about the people who are likely to commit such crimes or who are involved in spreading hate speeches, provocative statements and fake news, it said. The apex court had also said the state governments shall identify districts, sub-divisions and villages where instances of lynching and mob violence have been reported in the recent past, say, in the last five years besides others. Parliament proceedings updates: Rajya Sabha begins discussion on amendment to Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Act Only Rajasthan and Manipur have passed bills on action to be taken against those involved in lynching but the legislations are yet to get the President’s consent, the Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday. Union minister of state for home Nityananda Rai said the Centre, following a Supreme Court directive, has issued two advisories to state governments to check incidents of lynching. “In pursuance to the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s judgment on July 17, 2018, two advisories — on July 23, 2018, and September 25, 2018, were issued to the state governments and union territories administrations for taking measures to curb incidents of mob lynching in the country,” he said replying to a written question.Also Readlast_img read more