National News

RBI data: Forex reserves rise to USD 429.60 billion

MUMBAI: As per Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data the week to September 6 saw a rise in the foreign exchange reserves by USD 1.004 billion to USD 429.608 billion, helped by a rise in foreign currency assets. The reserves had fallen by USD 446 million to USD 428.604 billion in the previous week. In August this year they had touched a life-time high of USD 430.572 billion. As per RBI data, the week to September 6 showed a rise in foreign currency assets, a major component of overall reserves, by USD 1.200 billion, to USD 397.205 billion. The Country’s reserve position with the Fund rose marginally by USD 2 million to USD 3.619 billion, the data showed.

Commerce Minister urges India to expand global export footprint

MUMBAI:Recently the 2nd meeting of the Board of Trade in New Delhi was addressed by the Union Minister of Commerce, Industry and Railways, Piyush Goyal, and Ministers of State of Commerce and Industry, Hardeep Singh Puri and Som Parkash. Representatives of the Board of Trade and the Council for Trade Development and Promotion, both of which have been merged into the Board of Trade, were present at the recent interactive meeting. Piyush Goyal, while addressing the participants, said that each district of India, with its own distinct handicrafts and unique specialties like saris, perfumes, sweets and utensils, had the export potential equal to that of a Country. There is a need to transform each district of India into an export hub. Mr. Piyush Goyal urged his colleagues from various states to tap into their state’s potential and use it in their export strategy. Mr. Goyal added that the merger of banks will now enable them to disburse enhanced credit, raise their risk appetite, and raise resources from the market. He said that Rs 70,000 crore will be released to PSBs upfront and also additional lending and liquidity about Rs 5 lakh crore that will benefit corporate, retail borrowers, MSMEs, small traders, and exporters. Mr. Goyal added that all pending GST refunds due to MSMEs will be paid within 30 days, and improved One Time Settlement policy will benefit MSMEs and retail borrowers in settling their overdue. Although India’s total exports have crossed the half trillion-dollar mark at USD 537 billion in 2018-19, its goods exports are at an all-time high of USD 331 billion, and its services exports stand at a record USD 205 billion, India will have to set a target of one trillion USD exports in the next five years, Mr. Goyal said. He stressed the need to increase domestic production and improve competitiveness to achieve this goal. Mr Goyal stressed that the Central and State Governments together have to take measures for further improving Ease of Doing Business, decrease logistics cost, and simplify regulatory procedures. He said that India’s rank in Ease of Doing Business had improved from 142 in 2014 to 77 in 2018, with trading across borders up from 122 to 80, an achievement to laud. But the goal should be to be among the top 50 nations. To achieve this, we must improve ease of doing business throughout the country, and the States have to play a major role towards achieving this. Mr. Goyal announced that a credit scheme for exporters would soon be prepared by the Ministry with enhanced insurance cover of up to 90% instead of the present 60%. There has not been much growth in exports this year, said MR. Goyal. This has been the case despite the trade dispute between US and China with their mutual high tariffs, which has provided a window of opportunity to Indian manufacturers for taking up exports of products to US or China. We have a trade surplus of USD 17 billion with USA and a trade deficit of USD 53 billion with China, said Mr. Goyal. India needs to work on its strengths by exploring market access for agriculture and pharma products in different regions.

April-August sees a 4.07 per cent rise in JNPT’s cargo handling

NAVI MUMBAI:Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) continues its ascent on the growth trajectory in the current fiscal year. An overall growth of 4.07% during this April-August as against April-August of the previous year has been seen by JNPT. During FY ’19, JN Port handled 5.13 Million TEUs, which was 6.2% increase from its previous financial year which closed at 4.83 Million TEUs. The port handled 4.33 lac TEUs in August 2019.Handling more than half of the Container cargo across all Major Ports in India, JNPT is India’s No. 1 Container Port. The port has systematically evolved its operational efficiency and improved its capacity handling to transform itself into a Port at par with global standards.

PHD Chamber: India on the right path to become the third largest economy by 2030

NAVI MUMBAI:Dr D K Aggarwal, Senior Vice President, PHD Chamber said that India’s economy was on the right path to become the third largest economy in the World economic system by 2030. He appreciated the various dynamic reforms undertaken by the Government for the financial markets, manufacturing competitiveness, exports growth, and Ease of Doing Business (EODB) to boost the sentiments of the businesses and the markets, The importance of financial planning and investments for the socio – economic development and welfare of the Country was pointed out by Dr Aggarwal. According to him, while India is currently a USD 2.7 trillion economy, through efficient and efficient capital and commodity market investments, it has potential to achieve a desired annual growth of 12-13% of its nominal GDP; it could thus attain its goals of becoming a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024-25 and the 3rd largest global economy by 2030.

5 per cent increase in vegetable oil import

The import data of Vegetable Oils (edible non-edible) for the month of August 2019 was reported by Solvent Extractors Association of India.
There was a 5 per cent rise in import of vegetable oils during August 2019 to 1,586,514 tons compared to 1,512,597 tons in August 2018. This consisted 1,523,261 tons of edible oils and 63,253 tons of non-edible oils. The overall import of vegetable oils during November 2018 to August 2019 was reported at 12,867,486 tons, up by five per cent compared to 12,278,673 tons during the same period of last year. During the last few months, due to duty advantage given to Malaysia for Palmolein under India-Malaysia CECA Agreement, the country was flooded with RBD Palmolein from Malaysia. This was following reduction of duty difference from 10% to 5% between CPO and Palmolein sourced from Malaysia w.e.f. 1st January, 2019. Import of RBD Palmolein jumped by 727% during Jan -June-19 (1,566,313 MT) compared to same period of Jan – June-18 (189,445 MT). The Government, in response to safeguard duty petition filed by the SEA of India, imposed 5% safeguard duty on RBD Palmolein/Palm Oil of Malaysian origin w.e.f. 4.9.2019. In view of this, now the duty difference between crude and refined palm oil has increased to 10% irrespective of any origins. This decision will check excessive import of RBD Palmolein to India.

Reduction in trade deficit between India and Indonesia by Indonesia’s decision to import Indian rice , sugar

NEW DELHI: Indonesia, SE Asia’s largest nation, has decided to purchase rice and sugar from India, a move that will help to reduce trade deficit between the two sides and push trade volume to $ 50 billion by 2025. The export of rice and sugar from India will help to bridge trade deficit, as the bilateral trade is currently in favour of Indonesia.
Jakarta has taken this decision to import Indian rice and sugar in the backdrop of India providing level playing field to Indonesian palm oil by charging same duties on Malaysian palm oil. The Embassy of India, Jakarta, in partnership with the Ministry of Trade of Government of Indonesia, jointly hosted a Multi-Product Road Show on September 16, which focuses on exports of Bovine Meat, Rice, and Sugar from India to Indonesia. The event was attended by 40 member trade promotion delegation led by Paban Kumar Borthakur, Chairman of the Agricultural Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) (an apex body under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India).

New record at V.O. Chidambaranar Port sets new record

TUTICORIN:On 16 September 2019, a vessel with highest capacity of 95,692 DWT carrying a parcel size of 89,777 tonnes berthed at V.O.Chidambaranar Port. The Panama-flagged vessel ‘MV NBA VERMEER’ 234.98 metres in length, with a beam of 38 metres and a draft of 14.16 metres arrived from the Port of Baltimore, USA, with 89,777 tonnes of coal consigned to India Cements Limited. The vessel, berthed at Berth No. IX, started its discharge using three harbour mobile cranes capable of discharging 50,000 tonnes per day. Ben Line Agencies (India) Pvt Ltd, Tuticorin, is the shipping agent for the vessel, and Chettinad Logistics Pvt Ltd, Tuticorin is the. stevedore agent. The highest parcel size vessel handled at the Port thus far was MV KMAX Emperor; with 85,224 tonnes of Limestones on 25 July 2019. The port has handled 5.26 Million Tonnes of coal during this financial year up to August 2019, as against 5.21 Million Tonnes handled during the corresponding period of previous year. Shri T.K. Ramachandran, IAS, Chairman, V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust, said, “With the regular arrivals of vessels over 14 metre draft, V.O. Chidambaranar Port is into the next league in international shipping along the East Coast of India. On this occasion of achieving this significant milestone, I would like to recognize the hard work and commitment of Ship Agents, Stevedores, Harbour Mobile Crane Operators, Officers and Staff of V.O. Chidambaranar Port.”.

India, US in talks to resolve trade issues: Piyush Goyal

NEW DELHI:Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said that India and the US were in talks to resolve certain issues, but whether the two sides will announce any trade deal would be decided when Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets President Donald Trump this week,. Mr. Goyal said at an event, “We are in continuous dialogue with the US over the last several months on many issues. We have an open mind and are looking at several sectors. We are looking at an early resolution of many issues… whether a deal will be announced or not that is up to the PM and the President to decide.” During his visit to the US from September 21-27, PM Modi will address the annual UN General Assembly session and have a series of bilateral and multilateral engagements in New York. Later that week, Trump will attend Modi’s Houston rally for Indian Americans.

SIMS launched by Commerce and Industry Minister

NEW DELHI:The Steel Import Monitoring System (SIMS) was launched in New Delhi by the Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Railways, Piyush Goyal, and Minister of State for Commerc Industry, Hardeep Singh Puri. The system has been developed in consultation with the Ministry of Steel on the pattern of US Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) system. Advance information about steel imports will be provided by SIMS to the Government and to stake holders including, steel industry (producers), steel consumers (importers) to have effective policy interventions. SIMS Procedure: Importers of specified steel products will register in advance on the web portal of SIMS providing necessary information. The importer can apply for registration not earlier than 60th day and not later than 15th day before the expected date of arrival of import consignment. Requiring no human intervention, the registration will be online and automatic. The automatic registration number thus granted shall remain valid for a period of 75 days. The Steel Ministry will monitor information about steel imports provided by the importers on the SIMS. SIMS has been notified with effect from 1st November, 2019 vide Notification No.17 dated 5th September, 2019. As per the system importers must submit advance information in an online system for import of 284 steel tariff lines at 8-digit HS code to obtain an automatic registration number by paying prescribed registration fee. Importer must enter the registration number and expiry date of Registration in the Bill of Entry to enable Customs for clearance of consignment. The SIMS will be effective from 01.11.2019, i.e., Bill of Entry on or after 01.11.2019. The facility of on line Registration will be available with effect from 16/09/2019.

Finance Minister announces new tax refund scheme, easy credit, funding to boost exports

NEW DELHI:Several measures were announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to boost the economy, including a new scheme to refund taxes and duties on exports, easier export credit, and additional funding for exporters under the revised priority sector lending norms.The proposed Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export Product (RoDTEP) scheme will come into force from January 1, 2020. It will incentivise exporters at an estimated cost of Rs 50,000 crore and replace the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS), which was challenged by the US last year for violating global trade rules. According to Ms.Sitharaman, RoDTEP will “more than adequately incentivise exporters than all the existing schemes put together”. The scheme would be taken to the cabinet soon and the rates would be worked out sector by sector, said Director General of Foreign Trade Alok Chaturvedi. He also said there would be a fully automated electronic refund route for input tax credits in GST for quick refunds, which would be implemented by the end of the month. Ms. Sitharaman also announced revised priority sector lending (PSL) norms for exporters which would release an additional funding of Rs 36,000-68,000 crore to them. Export finance will be actively monitored by an Inter-Ministerial working group in the Commerce Department. “Urgent measures were needed to support exports, which have been declining in the current year. The new scheme to compensate exporters for all duties is going to help considerably,” said Director General of CII Chandrajit Banerjee, terming the new measures as “decisive.” To enable reduction in overall cost of export credit, especially to MSMEs, the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation will expand the scope of export credit insurance scheme at a cost of Rs 1,700 crore annually. A Free Trade Agreement Utilization Mission would be set up to help exporters optimally use the concessional tariffs under trade pacts that India has signed with several countries, Ms. Sitharaman also announced. Additionally, annual mega shopping festivals similar to the Dubai Shopping Festival will be organised at four places in the country. Handicrafts, yoga, tourism, textiles and leather will be the focus of these festivals.

Export credit scheme to be announced soon: Commerce Minister

NEW DELHI:Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Railways, chaired a meeting of the Board of Trade (BoT). At a day-long interaction with the Industry and Agriculture Ministers and officials of various States, industry representatives, Export Promotion Councils and Officers of the economic and infrastructure Ministries of the Central Government he strove to for identify and address issues aimed at boosting exports and improving competitiveness of domestic manufacturing. Piyush Goyal informed that in the area of export credit, including forex credit, especially with regard to credit at affordable terms and in sufficient volume, the contours of a scheme will be soon shared by the Government. He added that ECGC procedures and practices were being revamped to make them more exporter-friendly. Issues raised by States will be resolved expeditiously, he assured. Mr. Goyal also stressed the importance of cooperative and competitive federalism for faster growth, and the need for transforming each district into an export hub to fulfil the vision of Prime Minister that India becomes a USD 5 trillion economy within the next five years. Key issues related to imports, including unfair competition through dumping and subsidies, and import of sub-standard products due to lack of standards, while enabling smooth import of key inputs and raw materials need to be addressed with priority, he said. Export Promotion Council and other Industry bodies raised the issue of transparency in risky exporters by Customs/GST authorities, GST refunds, declining export credit, requirement of collaterals and inverted duty structure, during the day-long deliberations. Discussions were also held on the issue of extension of sunset clause in respect of SEZs, Technology Park for ancillary industries in defense sector, and promotion of border trade from North Eastern States. Specific action points for expediting IGST refunds, timely disbursal of export incentives, reducing logistics costs, improving ease of doing business in all States, increasing domestic manufacturing and reducing inessential imports were identified. There were discussions on utilizing opportunities in Free Trade Agreements, addressing key regulatory concerns related to imports. It was noted that many States had finalized export strategies since the last BoT meeting. The remaining States were urged to finalise their export strategies at the earliest keeping in view their state-specific requirements and advantages. It was also suggested that a State level Senior Officer may be appointed exclusively as Trade Facilitation Commissioner in each State to look into trade and export facilitation.

FIEO: Slowing exports growth shows worsening global economic conditions points to further downward revision of global trade growth

MUMBAI:FIEO President, Mr. Sharad Kumar Saraf, reacting to the sliding merchandise exports growth of -6.05 percent of USD 26.13 billion during August 2019, said that such a contraction in exports is a reflection of uncertainties, sluggish global demand, and rising tariff war. Exports also slowed due to the softening prices of crude, steel and other commodities. Mr. Saraf also opined that the US-China Trade war, Brexit, and developments in Iran further affected the world economy. The uncertainty related to these issues has also affected the flow of investment and added to currency volatility. During August 2019, only 8 out of 30 major product groups were in positive territory, including electronic goods, iron-ore, ceramic products glassware, mica, coal other ores, minerals including processed minerals, marine products, cashew, species and tea. All the other major sectors of exports including almost all labour-intensive sectors of exports besides petroleum showed a decelerating trend. The slowdown in chemical and plastics exports is a cause of concern as these sectors had been showing growth. However the August 2019 imports of USD 39.58 billion, i.e. a decline of -13.45 percent in imports; has come as a respite for the economy. Such a de-growth in imports has come after August 2016-17. However, profile of imports would suggest whether it has any bearing with domestic slowdown.We must seriously look into domestic issues including access to credit, cost of credit especially for merchant exporters, interest equalization support to all agri exports, benefits on sales to foreign tourists, and quick refund of GST specially ITC refund, said Mr Saraf. WTO complaint schemes addressing cost isabilities of our economy should be immediately deliberated and drafted; the resultant replacement of some export promotion instruments will give the exports sector a much-needed boost.

Possible 10 per cent rise in shrimp exports this year

CHENNAI:According to traders, India’s shrimp exports for this year are robust and likely to end up higher by 10% in volume than 2018. Exports to the US, the largest importer of shrimps, are seen higher for the first seven months of the year but Chinese consumption is likely to be more robust. India is the largest producer of shrimps in the world and accounts for nearly 6% of the global fish production. Shrimp exports in 2019 are estimated to go up 10 %, said Durai Murugan, Secretary of Shrimp Association of Pattukottai and Managing Director of New Diamond Aqua Enterprise, recently. Mr. Murugan expects higher demand from China for the Chinese New Year consumption. According to the latest data of the US agency National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, export of shrimps from India to the US during January-July of 2019 stood at 141,003 tonne, against 124,805 tonne in the corresponding period last year. The increase is 13 % year-on-year, while the total US imports of shrimp is seen only a nominal growth for the period. India accounted for 247,783 tonne from a total US import of 695,332 tonne during 2018. Regarding production, Indian shrimp production, thanks to weather-related issues, is estimated to be on the lower side. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that pond stocking in India during the main farming season of May–July has been much lower this year, suggesting a continuation of supply shortage for the rest of the year. Heavy rainfall in July affected production in the Southern and Eastern aquaculture belts of the Country. According to the report, Indian industry sources indicate a 30–40 % production drop in 2019 as compared with 2018. Japanese imports of value-added shrimp maintained the positive growth, and imports in China again rose 217% compared with January–May 2018, with a 600% increase in imports from India, reports FAO. Shrimp packers worldwide are likely to focus more on the Southeast Asian markets.

DG Shipping seeks Government nod for setting up Maritime fund

MUMBAI:In order to enable the small and mid-size entrepreneurs in the sector to access domestic and foreign funds at cheaper rates, the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS) is contemplating setting up a dedicated maritime fund. Director General of Shipping Amitabh Kumar recently said, We have received a proposal for maritime fund from the Export-Import Bank of India and we are studying the intricacies involved in it. We would soon send this proposal to the shipping ministry for its consideration. The proposed fund aims to raise long-term funds in the domestic and international markets, and to create an equity corpus which can be leveraged, and in lending to these players at competitive rates, said Mr. Kumar. The DGS said that he is also seeking allowance of up to 49 per cent investment by foreign investors including non-resident Indians in Indian flag ships. Currently ships can be registered only by Indians or firms registered under Indian law. Mr.Kumar said, Even though 100 per cent FDI is allowed in the shipping industry, players with large balance sheets can access international funds through the external commercial borrowings (ECB) route. Also, they can get access to funds from banks, which smaller players cannot, given the reluctance of the banking sector to provide finance to them.If foreigners are allowed to partly own Indian flagship vessels, a lot of foreign investment will flow into the sector making it more competitive in the global market, he added. Mr. Kumar said, As per the statistics, the number of Indian flag ships registered as well as the seafarers have increased. However, when we compare the share of Indian ships in our export-import trade, it has gradually come down from 40 per cent in 1980s to 7-7.5 per cent today. Also, the share of Indian flag ships in the Coastal Shipping has been a meager 10 per cent. The Government’s ambitious plan for the shipping and maritime sector will be successful if the small and medium entrepreneurs are encouraged, he stressed. The Ministry of Shipping has embarked on an ambitious port-led development project touted Sagarmala Program, which includes 577 projects entailing an investment of Rs8.57 trillion. The projects include port modernization, connectivity enhancement, port-linked industrialisation and coastal communication development.

Measures to boost exports lauded by FICI President

NEW DELHI:The new measures for boosting exports and the housing sector announced by Finance Minister Ms Nirmala Sitharaman were welcomed by FICCI President Mr Sandip Somany. Mr. Somany said,These new measures will provide much-needed stimulus to boost the Indian economy that is now facing the slowdown. The FICCI President was confident that the new initiatives of export-related incentives, finance, credit and facilitation would help in achieving a turnaround in our exports which showed a 6 per cent decline in August Mr. Somany said, The new scheme for Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export Product (RoDTEP) that will be effective from 1 January 2020 will go a long way in addressing the problem of non-compliance of our export promotion scheme. Fully automated electronic refund module for Input Tax Credits (ITC) in GST will speed up the ITC refund and ease the problem of working capital for exporters. Expanding the scope of Export Credit Insurance Scheme, moderation in premium incidence for MSME, and revised Priority Sector Lending (PSL) norms for Export Credit are also encouraging features of the new package.”

FIEO says that the new loan scheme for exporters to reduce MSMEs’ overall export credit cost

NEW DELHI:FIEO President Sharad Kumar Saraf asserted that enhancing the scope of Export Credit Insurance Scheme (ESIC) by Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (ECGC) would help lower the overall export credit cost including interest rates, particularly for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME),. The initiative is part of the new scheme, ‘Nirvik’, announced last week by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. According to Mr. Saraf the scheme, which would help boost exports by giving more credit access to exporters, will provide exporters much-needed support for exporting to countries, with little or more risks. Insurance cover has been increased from the current 60 per cent of the principal and interest to 90 per cent under the new scheme. In a statement, the Commerce Ministry said, “In order to facilitate banks further Ministry of Commerce Industry has enhanced Insurance cover for banks up to 90% for the working capital loans and moderation in premium incidence for the MSME sector.” FIEO Director Prashant Seth said, “As of now, the cost of capital and its access is an issue for MSME exporters. While there is a subvention scheme but the sector still needs more access to capital. The refund guarantee by ECGC to banks will offer large support to exports by MSMEs. Also, refund automation for the input tax credit will ease out some liquidity pressure for the exporters with more access to the working capital.” Last week Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal had raised concern about the ‘not satisfactory’ growth in exports this year despite the country’s huge export potential due to the window of opportunity to Indian manufacturers created by the trade dispute between the US and China. Piyush Goyal’s comments for exports boost assumes importance for the MSME sector given its share in India’s total exports in FY19 stood at 48.10 per cent as per the information from Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics, MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari had said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha in July. The value for MSMEs’ share of exports was $147.4 billion while last year till September MSMEs exported goods worth $78.5 billion. Mr. Seth said, “Marketing front of MSMEs for exports needs to be improved because the current incentives in the promotional scheme is roughly around Rs 300-400 crore but this is very minuscule given the size of the MSME sector.” Apart from marketing, the focus also has to be on the training, capacity building and research development for MSME exports, Mr. Seth remarked, adding, “In the global scenario, we are mostly in the low value-added segment. We want to push exports and move up the value chain and for that technology will definitely be needed.” Piyush Goyal had stressed on areas including sweets, saris, perfumes, utensils, that are unique to India’s various states in terms of export potential.

Commerce Minister: National Logistics Policy to be launched soon

NEW DELHI:Commerce and Industry and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has said a National Logistics Policy will soon be launched in India to bring down the cost of logistics to at least below 10 per cent. The Government was on a national effort engaging with Railways, Ports, Shipping Industry, Airline Industry and Roads Transport Ministry to collectively work on a Programme to bringing down the logistics cost, Goyal also said while Addressing the Asia Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2019 in the capital. Jointly organised by the Commerce Ministry, ADB, CII and UN-ESCAP, this Forum, which is in its ninth edition, was held for the first time in India. How digital and sustainable trade facilitation measures and practices can bring prosperity in the Asia Pacific region is the main focus of the Forum. Goyal launched the ADB-ESCAP joint publication Asia Pacific Trade Facilitation Report 2019 with a theme chapter of Bridging Trade Finance Gaps through Technology on the occasion. In his address Goyal said that the implementation of GST in India has shown significant results particularly in terms of bringing down travel time to long distances through road transport with entry points becoming seamless (very few check posts). The efficiency of road transport has caused little bit of stress for the Railways, who are competing with far more efficient road transport system, he said. This is the kind of competitive spirit which will bring down logistics cost and encourage Railways to be far more efficient, Goyal said. He is confident that this collective effort along with more transparency will help bring down logistics costs to more affordable levels and help Indias exports become more competitive. Chaired by the Cabinet Secretary, Goyal said that the National committee on trade facilitation is working to make trade facilitation a reality. As many as 76 specific action points on trade facilitation are being monitored at the highest level he said. He also added that trade facilitation will find an important role in the new free trade agreements that India is currently negotiating and would enter into in the coming days. He urged industry to come up with the ground level problems and ask for better facilitation and suggest practical solutions to the problems that they faced. It will be very difficult for the Government and bureaucrats alone to device the best of mechanisms. Ultimately it is stakeholders on the ground who can best advise us as to how we should move forward. This is a Government that is a listening Government, he said. India was willing to look at increasing trade barriers affecting international trade, if any, Goyal said so as to eliminate or simplify such barriers if they are causing unfair disadvantage to international trade. Several countries were able to stall India’s services exports through trade barriers, he highlighted. I believe this will have to be a collective effort both of India and other countries in removing trade barriers. Otherwise the automatic reaction is to do a counter retaliatory measure when countries introduce a tariff barrier. This will worsen the open architecture of free trade that the world is trying to create, he said.

China News

New Shipping Index to be launched by Shanghai Shipping Exchange CargoSmart

HONG KONG / SAN JOSE:A Memorandum of Cooperation has been signed to develop a new shipping index for ocean carrier schedule reliability between Shanghai Shipping Exchange, a leading shipping index organization, and CargoSmart Limited, a leading global shipment management software solutions provider. For key trade lanes to help shippers optimize their supply chains and to improve service quality for the industry as a whole Shanghai Shipping Exchange and CargoSmart will work together, to create a new methodology to calculate schedule reliability. Shanghai Shipping Exchange has been playing a significant role in providing up-to-date and accurate shipping information for the global shipping market, as an open, fair and unbiased platform, including publishing the China Containerized Freight Index (CCFI) and Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI). “The alliance with CargoSmart allows us to expand the insights we provide for the shipping industry,” said Yao Weifu, Vice President of Shanghai Shipping Exchange. “We look forward to collaborating with CargoSmart to deliver a new shipping index that increases transparency to ocean carrier performance.”

New Shipping Index to be launched by Shanghai Shipping Exchange CargoSmart

HONG KONG / SAN JOSE:A Memorandum of Cooperation has been signed to develop a new shipping index for ocean carrier schedule reliability between Shanghai Shipping Exchange, a leading shipping index organization, and CargoSmart Limited, a leading global shipment management software solutions provider. For key trade lanes to help shippers optimize their supply chains and to improve service quality for the industry as a whole Shanghai Shipping Exchange and CargoSmart will work together, to create a new methodology to calculate schedule reliability. Shanghai Shipping Exchange has been playing a significant role in providing up-to-date and accurate shipping information for the global shipping market, as an open, fair and unbiased platform, including publishing the China Containerized Freight Index (CCFI) and Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI). “The alliance with CargoSmart allows us to expand the insights we provide for the shipping industry,” said Yao Weifu, Vice President of Shanghai Shipping Exchange. “We look forward to collaborating with CargoSmart to deliver a new shipping index that increases transparency to ocean carrier performance.”

U.S. City’s Trade Status Urged to be Reassessed by Hong Kong Activists

Congress encouraged to put pressure on Beijing by Pro-democracy leader Joshua Wong
WASHINGTON: Young pro-democracy leader Joshua Wong told a congressional hearing that Beijing was eroding the city’s relative autonomy and unable to govern a free society, two weeks after posting bail in Hong Kong on charges related to this summer’s protests. Mr. Wong was speaking on Tuesday at a hearing into the political upheaval in Hong Kong among several activists. A bill that would require greater U.S. government scrutiny of the city’s status as a separate trading partner to China is being considered by lawmakers here. “Beijing shouldn’t have it both ways, reaping all the economic benefits of Hong Kong’s standing in the world while eradicating our socio-political identity,” Mr. Wong said.“The present state of affairs reveals Beijing’s utter inability to understand, let alone govern, a free society,” he told the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, a bipartisan, bicameral body with a mandate to monitor human rights issues in China. The month-long demonstrations in the semiautonomous city are an internal Chinese matter maintains Beijing, which is angered by the bipartisan bill and has accused foreign forces of fomenting the unrest. The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which would direct the secretary of state to certify to Congress annually whether Hong Kong continues to deserve special treatment in such matters as trade, customs and law enforcement cooperation have is being backed up by dozens of legislators. For trillions of dollars flowing in and out of China’s economy over recent decades the special status has helped Hong Kong thrive as a global financial centre serving as an offshore bridgehead. The city’s reputation as a safe place for investors and banks to do business has been underpinned due to western-style freedoms and independent legal system. The bill’s chances remain uncertain. President Trump has approached the unrest in Hong Kong with caution and hasn’t said whether he would sign the legislation into law if it clears Congress. Concerns have been expressed by Mr. Trump’s administration that criticism of Beijing’s handling of Hong Kong could undermine fragile negotiations, according to administration officials, while has linked a U.S.-China trade deal to a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Talks are set to resume next month. After being arrested on Aug. 30 and charged with three offenses related to an alleged unauthorized assembly outside the city’s police headquarters in June Mr. Wong was released on bail by a Hong Kong court. The arrest has described by the former student leader the as attempts to intimidate members of the movement. The court has permitted him to travel to the U.S. for the congressional hearing. Mr. Wong’s effort to rally for international support for the anti-government movement, have been criticized by Chinese officials. “This individual has no qualification to talk about U.S.-China trade issues,” China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Monday.

Taiwan to close its embassy in the Solomon Islands on Tuesday, Taiwan’s president says

BEIJING:Taiwan’s president said on Monday, as Beijing increases pressure on Taiwan ahead of the self-governed island’s closely watched presidential election in January that Solomon Islands has decided to break off diplomatic relations with Tai wan and cast its lot with China.Now, only 16 countries maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Taiwan, known formally as the Republic of China, is being left increasingly isolated on the world stage by all of the world’s other nations, including the U.S., who recognize only the Beijing-ruled People’s Republic of China,. In a news conference Monday evening, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said that Taiwan would close its embassy in the Solomon Islands on Tuesday, but added that Beijing’s pressure tactics wouldn’t succeed. “The Taiwanese people will not surrender,” she said. The decision by the Solomon Islands had been well telegraphed. Officials in the capital of Honiara have been considering the decision for weeks, and a government-appointed task force submitted a report to cabinet officials on last Friday, recommending a switch to Beijing. is one of Taiwan’s 16 remaining diplomatic partners China has made overtures in recent weeks to —and one right on the U.S.’s doorstep, in addition to peeling off the Solomon Islands, Haiti. “Beijing is playing a risky game,” said Adam Ni, a China researcher at Macquarie University in Sydney, referring to Taiwan’s coming election. “Certainly some parts of the population will see it as bullying.” Alexander Huang, a former government official who teaches strategic studies at Tamkang University in the Taiwanese capital, said the Solomon Islands’ decision was a long time coming, amounting to “slow-motion torture” for the diplomatically isolated island ahead of Oct. 1. That is when Beijing will celebrate the 70th anniversary of Communist Chinese rule, following a civil war that ended in the defeat of the Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang, which fled to Taiwan. “They probably want to add some more fireworks to their 70th anniversary,” said Mr. Huang. In a statement Hua Chunying Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman said that Beijing welcomed the move. “There is but one China in the world and the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government that represents the whole of China,” she said. The Solomon Islands Foreign Affairs Ministry didn’t respond to a request for comment. How the move would affect Taiwan’s coming election, which pits the incumbent Ms. Tsai, the island’s first female president, whose party favors formal independence from China, against populist Han Kuo-yu of the opposition Nationalist Party, which favors closer ties with Beijing, wasn’t immediately clear. Beijing has refused to grant diplomatic recognition to any nation that recognizes Taipei, and vice versa since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949.During the eight-year-long administration of Nationalist President Ma Ying-jeou, China put a hold on trying to poach Taiwan’s diplomatic allies. But after Ms. Tsai was elected China stepped up its efforts again in 2016. El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and Burkina Faso switched their diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing last year alone. To Taiwan’s 24 million people, who have followed the news closely, even as it changes little in their daily lives, the diplomatic breaks have become painfully routine. A 36-year-old hotel worker in Taipei, Mini Chen said she didn’t expect any economic impact from the move, but thought that it could affect the coming presidential election. “It’s because of the mainland’s pressure that led them to cut diplomatic ties with us,” Ms. Chen said.

Alarms Raised on California Gig Economy Legislation by Trucking Industry

Measure aimed at ride-hailing businesses would undercut trucking’s independent-contractor model, Fleets sayOperations in the state would upend and potentially raise shipping costs by pressing fleets to count as employees the thousands of drivers that now move freight as independent contractors, trucking industry officials say a California bill aimed at the “gig-economy” business models of ride-hailing companies A legislation was passed this week by the state’s Senate and Assembly that seeks to force companies to reclassify certain contract workers as employees. The measure is aimed at putting into law a state court ruling last year involving package-delivery workers. Though the bill is aimed at big tech companies like Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc., experts say it would go beyond those businesses to affect industries like trucking that use contract workers. Although many U.S. trucking companies hire their own company drivers, most also rely heavily on independent drivers that own or lease their equipment to supplement their operations. The independent owner-operator model is especially prevalent in port trucking operations, where companies say drivers have the ability to make more money than they might as employees. The California measure “effectively prohibits an owner-operator from working directly for a motor carrier,” said Joe Rajkovacz, director of governmental affairs and communications for the Western States Trucking Association. The group filed a federal lawsuit challenging California’s application of the standard from the 2018 court case to the trucking industry. The group’s suit was dismissed earlier this year. The law “will really cause people to look at how they structure their business,” Mr. Rajkovacz said. Under the employment legislation, certain industries including most trucking operations would have to pass a three-part test to classify a worker as a contractor instead of an employee, including that the work a contractor performs isn’t something the company does itself in the normal course of its business. That standard is tougher than previous requirements and is one that transportation experts say would be difficult to meet for the many motor carriers that routinely contract freight out to independent truckers. Raising the bar for using contract drivers “takes some of the nimble reaction to the freight market away from the trucking industry, [especially] in California where you have large port operations with a lot of freight coming in, and large volumes around Christmas,” said Greg Feary, president and managing partner of transportation law firm Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson Feary, PC. “You would like to think the freight will get moved,” Mr. Feary said, “but will the prices increase for the shippers and then the consumer? Will freight sit for a while? Will delivery times extend?” Gov. Gavin Newsom has said he would sign the measure, which is backed by labor groups including the Teamsters union. The Teamsters have waged a yearlong campaign to organize California port truck drivers who they say are unfairly misclassified as independent contractors and so deprived of workers compensation, meal and rest breaks and other protections. “Misclassification is an attempt to weaken the power of workers, including the thousands of truck drivers in California who deserve a living wage and full rights as employees,” Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said in a statement after the state Senate passed the measure. A New Jersey-based NFI Industries, logistics provider that has California port-trucking operations targeted by the Teamsters and faces lawsuits filed by the City of Los Angeles over alleged employee misclassification, said the bill would force independent drivers to be employees against their will. The legislation unfairly exempts some groups but not others the company said. The California Trucking Associating, Which sought unsuccessfully to carve out exemptions in the bill for trucking, said the measure “would deny a significant segment of the trucking industry” that have invested tens of thousands of dollars in equipment “the ability to continue operating as independent owner-operators.” There are roughly 70,000 owner-operators in the state as estimated by the group.

Africa News

Alarms Raised on California Gig Economy Legislation by Trucking Industry

UK Interested in Working with Ethiopian AirlinesA desire to work with the Ethiopian Airlines in the aviation industry was expressed by Britain’s trade commissioner for Africa Emma Wade-Smith. The trade commissioner made her remarks during discussion with Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam, when she arrived today in Addis Ababa for an official visit to Ethiopia. The need to collaborate with one of Africa’s prestigious Airlines in aviation expansion as well as management sector was emphasized by UK’s Trade Commissioner for Africa. The commissioner stressed the need to explore Ethiopia’s potential based on mutual understandings while recalling Ethio-Britain long standing diplomatic ties. ‘Ethiopia will be UK’s main developmental partner; it is important for us to strengthen business relations with Ethiopia,’ she said. It is a great time for both countries to have partnership on diversified sectors, including a collaboration in the aviation industry according to the commissioner. The combined working force of the Aviation industry following visit to the recently renovated compound of Ethiopian Airlines was also appreciated by Mrs. Wade-Smith. Ethiopian Airline’s interest to work with UK Ethiopian Airlines was expressed by CEO Tewolde Gebremariam on his part when he welcomed the trade commissioner. ‘Ethiopian has been snapping up stakes in small carriers around the continent to preempt potential rivals and become the dominant pan-African airline,’ the CEO noted. ‘It is with pleasure to accept U.K. which is keen on continuing partnership with Ethiopian Air Lines,’ he added. Following the visit to Ethiopian Airlines, the Commissioner held discussions with Ethiopia’s State Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy.Discussions were held by the Commissioner showing UK’s interest in working with Ethiopia in agricultural processing and renewable energy development, during her visit to the Ministry. Mrs. Wade-Smith talked about the energy development opportunities in Ethiopia and the UK companies’ role to help develop the sector in this regard. ‘The UK is looking at various economic options in Ethiopia and is interested to invest in the country.’

For airlift of Nigerians, Reps Aviation Committee lauds Air Peace: Xenophobia

Saying the airline’s Chairman/CEO, Chief Allen Onyema gave help to Nigerians when it was needed most, The House of Representative Committee Chairman on Aviation,Nnolim Nnaji, has lauded the decision of Air Peace Airline to freely airlift Nigerian victims of xenophobic attacks in South Africa back home. Nnaji, however, demanded that the Federal government assists Air Peace in defraying the huge operational cost of airlifting the over 700 Nigerians who have reportedly registered with the Nigerian High Commission to leave South Africa. Nnaji, who described the gesture as  patriotic said, Onyema’s investment of resources in the free airlifting of the stranded Nigerians demonstrated “a true spirit of Africanism which compels us to be our brothers’ keeper.” Other corporate citizens should emulate the gesture of Air Peace Airline that sacrificed their aircraft, fuel, pilots and cabin crew for the South African round-trip, by assisting the returnees to settle down since several of them have lost their means of livelihood to the senseless attacks inflicted on them by the South Africans, according to Nnaji. There was the need for the Federal government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to immediately get in touch with the South African authorities to address the hiccups being experienced by the airline in the airlift operations, said Nnaji who represents Nkanu East/West federal constituency in the House of Representatives, however. Said he: “l understand that the first flight brought barely half the expected number of people it would have brought due to the demands of the South African Immigration officials. They want our people to leave their country, why making it difficult for them to go?” The development led to several hours of delay before the flight eventually took off with about 187 passengers as against the 340 it could have brought which he regretted, adding that such delays were an added cost to the airline’s not-for-profit flight to and from Johannesburg, South Africa. Maritime reforms in Nigeria attracting foreign investment Policies of the Federal Government of Nigeria in the maritime industry are targeted at encouraging Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the sector, says The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside. While addressing delegates at the West African Shipping Summit, a side event of the ongoing London International Shipping Week, Dakuku stated this. According to him, to facilitate the timely resolution of disputes within the Gulf of Guinea area and significantly reduce the current trend where maritime players in the region head to London, Dubai or Singapore for arbitration on maritime issues, an International Maritime Arbitration Centre in Lagos, Nigeria has been set up. His audience included key players in the global maritime industry, whom he assured that the reforms in the Nigerian maritime sector were opening up vast opportunities in the industry and invited investors to take advantage of them. He said: “I believe that the Nigerian maritime environment has the largest potential. With a population of about 200 million, which represents over half of the entire population of West Africa, potentials in shipbuilding and ship repair are available. “In the next five years, vessels built outside Nigeria will not be allowed to participate in Cabotage trade. So you are all invited to come and invest in the shipbuilding and ship repair industry in Nigeria.” Dakuku also disclosed that by having provisions for both national and international players, the Nigerian Ship registry was being reformed to make it more attractive “We are also reforming the Nigerian ship registry. The bigger picture is that over time, we are going to have dual ship registry, which will effectively take care of national interest and international interest. It will make it more dynamic, more responsive and it will be one of the most business-friendly registries in the world,” he said.

Participation of South Africa, Uganda, others at AKWAABA 2019 in Lagos

According to Organiser of AKWAABA African Travel and Tourism Market, Mr Ikechi Uko on Saturday, no fewer than 25 countries would grace the 2019 edition of the event slated to hold in Lagos from Sept. 22 to Sept.24 This was disclosed while he was speaking in Lagos. ” AKWAABA events have been successful over the years and have attracted exhibitors from over 25 countries who are still going to grace this year’s edition. ” Some of the countries are Ghana, Togo, Benin, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Namibia, Botswana, Tunisia, Nigeria, AU CIDO, the Caribbean Tourism Organization and more. ” AKWAABA brings travelers, airlines, hotels, restaurants, tour operators, travel agents, state tourism boards, foreign trade and other tourism sectors together for networking and business purposes. ” This has in turn improved the economy of the host country, Nigeria over the years and further united Africans,” he said. The 15th edition of 2019 AKWAABA, would feature the first African Tourism Diaspora Conference, Uko said. The 15th edition, he also disclosed would be part of the commemoration of 400 years, after the first slave ship was docked in America with slaves from Africa in 1619. This was a celebration of freedom from 400 years of slavery, he said. “The Africa Diaspora Tourism Conference presents a platform to discuss, initiate, dialogue and celebrate a new relationship. “During the conference, there would be discussions on how to engage Nigerians in the diaspora and get more of them to visit Nigeria and West Africa,” he said. The event would also feature 100 Global Tourism Personality Awards when leaders, industry practitioners and government officials who had promoted tourism and improved travels using unique platforms and new information would be recognized, Uko said. This had been done for 18 years now he added. According to him, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi has been presented with the award, the Ooni of Ife, as the first Africa Travel 100 Global Personality. The monarch would be the special guest of honor for the African Diaspora Tourism Conference during the event he said. Aviation conference, Youth tourism conference, Caribbean tourism organization, Jollof rice war were other programs outlined for the event he said, which was meant to promote culinary tourism and more programs.

WeChat Pay and KNET with CellPoint Digital’s Velocity payment platform launched by Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines is expanding its partnership with CellPoint Digital (www.cellpointdigital.com). While the former is the largest aviation group in Africa and 4-star SkyTrax certified global airline, the latter is a leading provider of digital commerce and payment solutions for airlines, to offer more popular payment methods to its passengers. Cell Point’s Velocity payment platform to implement a mobile-first payment strategy and create a more seamless customer experience in its mobile app was adopted last year by Ethiopian Airlines. Ethiopian Airlines initially added Alipay and through its mobile app saw promising growth in bookings in some markets. Now it is introducing WeChat Pay and KNET to cater to the international travel market. The United States is set to be displaced by China as the world’s largest aviation market by the mid-2020s and is a key growth market for Ethiopian Airlines. Millions of Chinese tourists use Alipay and WeChat Pay to make travel purchases. Together these two alternative forms of payment cover more than 90% of the Chinese market. Currently, By introducing WeChat Pay alongside its Alipay option, Ethiopian Airlines is seeking to better serve Chinese travelers.Predicted to grow annually by 4.4% by IATA, Ethiopian Airlines is also looking to expand into the Middle East region. The growing population of young, tech-savvy travelers of the region want to pay quickly and easily using a familiar payment method. Ethiopian Airlines will now accept KNET, the most popular local payment option to be able to cater to Kuwaiti passengers.“As we expand into new markets, we want to ensure the payment process on our mobile app is as seamless as possible for our passengers,” said Miretab Teklaye, Digital Director of Ethiopian Airlines. ”Working with CellPoint Digital as our technology partner allows us to quickly add new payment methods to meet the needs of consumers in these regions. The introduction of WeChat Pay and KNET is the first of many new payment methods we plan to roll out, as we look to expand further into the Middle East, India and Europe.” Through CellPoint Digital’s Velocity payment platform, WeChat Pay and KNET are being deployed for Ethiopian Airlines – a full merchant-side payment control environment built specifically for the travel industry.With Velocity airlines and travel companies are enabled to activate new, alternative forms of payment in weeks instead of months and to build a customized payment ecosystem that meets the needs of customers in specific markets. “Ethiopian Airlines is committed to providing the best possible digital experience for their customers, and our Velocity payment platform can introduce rapidly any global wallet or local payment method Ethiopian needs for their mobile app or other digital channel,” said Ciaran Wilson, Senior Sales and Account Director for MEA at CellPoint Digital. “We look forward to growing alongside Ethiopian Airlines, helping them to eliminate payment friction in all their markets.” CellPoint Digital partners with African carriers across the continent, to increase conversions in the mobile channel, reduce fraud, boost revenue through flights and ancillary offers, and create more seamless payment experiences for their customers.

Kenya offers USTDA grants to study wind power plant

A grant for a feasibility study to develop a 50-megawatt wind power plant with integrated battery storage capacity in Kenya has been awarded by the US Trade and Development Agency to Kenya’s Craftskills Energy Limited
Thomas R. Hardy, USTDA acting director, said, “This project has both the structure and the smarts to succeed.” “Craftskills has quality partners and already implemented other major wind power projects in Kenya. USTDA believes U.S. companies will be very competitive in the supply of the project’s major components,” he added. A battery energy storage solutions that will enhance the capacity of the power plant and stabilise the intermittency of wind power to the grid in addition to a wind resource assessment and plant design, will explored by the study.Kenyan consumers will be delivered more power more reliably at a competitive cost as a result. US firm Delphos International will execute the study. Simon Guyo, Craftskills CEO, added, “We are grateful to USTDA for its support, foresight, and commitment.Craftskills looks forward to bringing this pioneering clean energy project to fruition with the help of the study.” This project supports Power Africa and the Electrify Africa Act by increasing generating capacity, introducing advanced storage technologies, and supporting private sector involvement in Kenya’s energy sector. Shipping Environmental Efforts ‘Set to Go’ Says Maritime Regulator Despite dissent from some vessel owners over the impact to their operations and concerns from shipping customers over how costs will be shared across supply chains, the maritime industry is moving full steam ahead toward overhauling how ships get their power. “We are all set to go,” said Kitack Lim, secretary-general of global shipping regulator the International Maritime Organization. “Compliant fuel will be available and it’s working very well in trial voyages.” With the implementation of a mandate starting Jan. 1, 2020, to sharply reduce maritime sulphur emissions near, Mr. Lim’s assurance in an interview came as a major step in maritime environmental efforts. Cleaner fuels that are still under development and may cost up to 50% more than traditional fuel known as bunker, will have to be used by ships or they will have to be fitted with sulphur-trapping exhaust systems called scrubbers that go for as much as $10 million per ship. “The impact on shipping in terms of cost to protect the environment will be the biggest in history,” Mr. Lim said on the sidelines of the International Shipping Week conference here. “It’s a huge change.” The change which begins on Jan. 1, when some 60,000 ocean-going vessels will have to cut their sulphur emissions by more than 80%, which will be the first in a series of steps the global maritime industry will take in the coming years that will push carriers into uncharted waters in terms of operating costs and fundamental questions such as what will power the vessels of the future. IMO members have also agreed to slash greenhouse-gas emissions by half by 2050, compared with 2008, to comply with the 2016 Paris climate accord levels. Currently ships contribute up to 3% of the world’s global pollution, an amount comparable to that of major emitting countries. The low-sulphur directive, mandated by the IMO, the United Nations’ shipping regulator, alone will add around $50 billion in new fuel costs over the next three to four years say shipping executives.Expect substantially higher freight rates, vessel operators have warned cargo owners, and that part of the cost will likely be passed on to consumers that buy products from retail giants like Walmart Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Target Corp. For more than a decade the sulphur directive has been in the works, with just months to go before it takes effect. However, big owners from some of the world’s top shipping countries such as Greece have been pushing for extensions, arguing that low-sulphur fuels developed by refiners like Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC, won’t be available in many ports and haven’t been tested enough to demonstrate that they will work with contemporary ship engines. Mr. Lim said said he expects no shortage of low-sulphur fuel on major trade routes between Asia and Europe and Asia to the U.S. But new fuels may not be available from day one in some ports in Africa, the South Pacific and the Caribbean, he feels. An exemption allowing vessels to use the cheaper, high-sulphur bunker oil if the new fuel blends are not available is being expected by some owners that charter their ships say privately. Mr. Lim said that may lead to attempts to abuse the exemption, but he insists enforcement around the world will be strict. “There are always good guys and bad guys,” Mr. Lim said. “But if an operator can’t prove beyond doubt that it can’t cleaner fuel, ports are mandated to impose severe penalties. There will be high fines and the non-compliant fuel will be unloaded. You can’t get away by breaking the law.” Ships have a 20- to 25-year lifespan so any new orders over the next decade will have to be for vessels with new designs that will almost certainly have to rely on alternative fuels or other means of propulsion. He said he also expects the use of scrubbers, which some environmental groups view as a tool to sidestep the regulations, will likely run out over time. “The International Energy Agency estimates that by 2025 there will be some 5,000 ships using scrubbers — around 30% of total tonnage — but it will stop there,” he said. Mr. Lim said fuel represents up to a quarter of a ship’s operating expenses, and the cost of turning to new fuels will have to be absorbed throughout supply chains. “If shipping companies take on all the cost, they will collapse,” Mr. Lim said. “But compared to the value of the cargo, price increases to consumers will be very small.” In a report at the London maritime event the shipping’s entire decarburization process would likely add less than 1% to the cost of a $60 pair of jeans, the UK-based Energy Transitions Commission said.

World News

‘Incoterms 2020’unveiled by ICC

PARIS:The Incoterms 2020, the newest edition of the renowned trade terms for the sale of goods, providing certainty and clarity to business and traders everywhere, was launched by International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

  • Incoterms 2020 provides for demonstrated market need in relation to bills of lading (BL) with an on-board notation and the Free Carrier (FCA) Incoterms rule.
  • It aligns different levels of insurance coverage in Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF) 2and Carriage Insurance Paid To (CIP).
  • There are arrangements for carriage with own means of transport in FCA, Delivery at Place (DAP), Delivery at Place Unloaded (DPU) Delivered Duty Paid (DDP).
  •  The abbreviation for Delivered at Terminal (DAT) is changed to DPU at Incoterms 2020.
  • It includes security-related requirements within carriage obligations and costs.

The ICC first introduced Incoterms rules in 1936 to establish commonly accepted definitions and rules related to the delivery of goods between trading partners worldwide. Since then, in order to reflect changes in the international trade system, ICC has periodically revised the Incoterms rules. The 2020 edition launches during the organization’s Centenary year. The new Incoterms, which are expected to appear in the last quarter of 2019, will enter into force on January 1, 2020, simultaneously with the centenary of the International Chamber of Commerce.

Shipping Environmental Efforts ‘Set to Go’ Says Maritime Regulator

Billions of dollars will be poured into cleaner ships starting next year and stretching to 2050LONDON: Despite dissent from some vessel owners over the impact to their operations and concerns from shipping customers over how costs will be shared across supply chains, the maritime industry is moving full steam ahead toward overhauling how ships get their power. “We are all set to go,” said Kitack Lim, secretary-general of global shipping regulator the International Maritime Organization. “Compliant fuel will be available and it’s working very well in trial voyages.” Mr. Lim’s assurance in an interview came as a major step in maritime environmental efforts with the implementation of a mandate starting Jan. 1, 2020, to sharply reduce maritime sulphur emissions. Ships will have to be use cleaner fuels that are still under development and may cost up to 50% more than traditional fuel known as bunker or they will have to be fitted with sulphur-trapping exhaust systems called scrubbers that go for as much as $10 million per ship. “The impact on shipping in terms of cost to protect the environment will be the biggest in history,” Mr. Lim said on the sidelines of the International Shipping Week conference here. “It’s a huge change.” Jan. 1 is the date the change begins on, when more than 80% sulphur emissions will have to be cut by some 60,000 ocean-going vessels. In a series of steps the global maritime industry will take in the coming years that will push carriers into uncharted waters in terms of operating costs and fundamental questions such as what will power the vessels of the future, this will be the first. As compared with 2008 levels IMO members have also agreed to slash greenhouse-gas emissions by half by 2050 to comply with the 2016 Paris climate accord. Ships now contribute up to 3% of the world’s global pollution, an amount comparable to that of major emitting countries. Over the next three to four years, the low-sulphur directive, mandated by the IMO, the United Nations’ shipping regulator, alone will add around $50 billion in new fuel costs, shipping executives say. Vessel operators have warned cargo owners to expect substantially higher freight rates, and that part of the cost will likely be passed on to consumers that buy products from retail giants like Walmart Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Target Corp. The sulphur directive has been in the works for more than a decade. With just months to go before it takes effect, however, big owners from some of the world’s top shipping countries such as Greece have been pushing for extensions, arguing that low-sulphur fuels developed by refiners like Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC, won’t be available in many ports and haven’t been tested enough to demonstrate that they will work with contemporary ship engines. Mr. Lim said new fuels may not be available from day one in some ports in Africa, the South Pacific and the Caribbean. But he said he expects no shortage of low-sulphur fuel on major trade routes between Asia and Europe and Asia to the U.S. Some owners that charter their ships say privately that they expect to use an exemption allowing vessels to use the cheaper, high-sulphur bunker oil if the new fuel blends are not available. That may lead to attempts to abuse the exemption, Mr. Lim said, but he insists enforcement around the world will be strict. “There are always good guys and bad guys,” Mr. Lim said. “But if an operator can’t prove beyond doubt that it can’t get cleaner fuel, ports are mandated to impose severe penalties. There will be high fines and the non-compliant fuel will be unloaded. You can’t get away by breaking the law.” He said he also expects the use of scrubbers, which some environmental groups view as a tool to sidestep the regulations, will likely run out over time. Ships have a 20- to 25-year lifespan so any new orders over the next decade will have to be for vessels with new designs that will almost certainly have to rely on alternative fuels or other means of propulsion. “The International Energy Agency estimates that by 2025 there will be some 5,000 ships using scrubbers—around 30% of total tonnage—but it will stop there,” he said. Fuel represents up to a quarter of a ship’s operating expenses, and Mr. Lim said the cost of turning to new fuels will have to be absorbed throughout supply chains. “If shipping companies take on all the cost, they will collapse,” Mr. Lim said. “But compared to the value of the cargo, price increases to consumers will be very small.” The U.K.-based Energy Transitions Commission said in a report at the London maritime event that shipping’s entire decarbonisation process would likely add less than 1% to the cost of a $60 pair of jeans.

Proposed increase in import tariffs on Chinese goods delayed by US President by 15 days

WASHINGTON: As a goodwill gesture the US President, Mr Donald Trump, has announced to delay his proposed massive increase in import tariffs on Chinese goods by 15 days. A , report said that now the increased tariffs on $250 billion worth of goods will be applicable from October 15. Top Chinese officials are scheduled to arrive in the US for talks in early October. The two countries have been working on a comprehensive trade deal since last year that not only addresses the issue of balance of trade but also ends the alleged theft of intellectual property and coercion of American companies in China, the report added.

44 US Lawmakers urge Donald Trump to reinstate GSP for India

WASHINGTON: As part of a potential trade deal between the two countries, a bipartisan group of 44 influential lawmakers has urged the Trump administration to reinstate India’s designation as a beneficiary developing nation under the key GSP trade programme. India’s designation as a beneficiary developing nation under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) was terminated by the Trump administration in June. In a letter to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the House members suggest an early harvest approach that would ensure that long-sought market access gains for US industries are not held up by egotiations over remaining issues Companies are telling Congress about the American costs – both in dollars and jobs – of lost GSP eligibility for India, said Dan Anthony, Executive Director of the Coalition for GSP. The letter shows Congress strong, bipartisan support for swift action to reinstate GSP for India and to help constituents that depend on two-way trade, he said. While GSP often is seen as a benefit to foreign countries, from its termination to date, it is American businesses and workers that have suffered most.Imports from India of (previously) GSP-eligible products increased over 40 per cent in June/July 2019 compared to a year earlier despite facing higher tariffs due to lost GSP, likely the result of companies shifting sourcing away from China, Coalition for GSP said in a statement. Indian exporters are thriving while American companies are stuck paying USD 1 million a day in new tariffs, said Anthony.

Indian Envoy: Potential of India-US trade to double in five years

WASHINGTON: A top Indian diplomat in the US has said, the bilateral trade between India and America has the potential to double and reach $280 billion in the next five years amidst intense negotiations between the two countries to resolve their trade differences. In March, US trade representative Robert Lighthizer announced that the US will terminate India’s designation as beneficiary developing Country under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme. India-US bilateral trade has doubled in the last 10 years and potentially can double again in the next five years, Indian Ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla said recently.were looking at $280 billion (bilateral trade) in the next five years, the top Indian diplomat said, exuding confidence that the two countries would be able to sort out their trade differences to give a big boost to their strategic and economic partnership.

Donald Trump urged by 44 US Lawmakers to reinstate GSP for India

WASHINGTON: A bipartisan group of 44 influential Lawmakers has urged the Trump administration to reinstate India’s designation as a beneficiary developing nation under the key GSP trade program as part of a potential trade deal between the two Countries. The Trump administration terminated India’s designation as a beneficiary developing nation under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) in June. In a letter to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the House members suggest an early harvest approach that would ensure that long-sought market access gains for US industries are not held up by negotiations over remaining issues.Companies are telling Congress about the American costs – both in dollars and jobs – of lost GSP eligibility for India, said Dan Anthony, Executive Director of the Coalition for GSP. The letter shows Congress strong, bipartisan support for swift action to reinstate GSP for India and to help constituents that depend on two-way trade, he said. While GSP often is seen as a benefit to foreign countries, it is American businesses and workers that have suffered most from its termination to date.Despite facing higher tariffs due to lost GSP, imports from India of (previously) GSP-eligible products increased over 40 per cent in June/July 2019 compared to a year earlier, likely the result of companies shifting sourcing away from China, Coalition for GSP said in a statement. Indian exporters are thriving while American companies are stuck paying USD 1 million a day in new tariffs, said Anthony.

U.S. crude shipments to Asia set to rise after attacks on Saudi oil facilities

U.S. crude shipments are set to rise as major Asian importers look to replenish supplies after attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities took out a big chunk of global oil output. “There are lots of injuries for crude shipments out of the U.S. Gulf for Asian pickup,” said George Lazarides, head of research and valuations at Athens, Greece-based vessel brokerage Allied Shipbroking. “We expect that it will take at least three weeks for the disrupted Saudi output to get back online, and that’s pretty long.” Roughly half of the country’s crude production, amounting to nearly 6% of global output was knocked out by drone and missile strikes at facilities in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich eastern province. Tanker operators expect disruptions to last until October. Shipping executives said, as buyers seek oil from sources like the U.S. that will require longer trips to customers in Asia, prices to move crude cargoes are already rising. With at least eight super tankers waiting outside the terminal, brokers in Singapore and Europe say crude loadings at Ras Tanura, the major oil export port for the Saudi Arabian Oil Co.’s oil plant in Abqaiq that was struck by missiles on Saturday are largely idle for certain types of crude cargoes. Three product tankers that move refined products like gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel have been diverted from loading their cargo at neighbouring Al Jubail, a global hub for chemical products, and six more were expected to be diverted in coming days, Paris- based shipping tracking service Kpler said. “We are waiting for instructions from the client to pull out and load elsewhere,” said an executive of a Greek tanker operator that has a product tanker waiting at Ras Tanura. “Everyone is losing money waiting for loadings, so we’ll move on to pick up cargo from elsewhere.” Finding alternatives to pick up specific types of crude can be complicated ship owners said, as refineries are tailored to produce specific types of products. “American refiners have the capacity to produce crude for Asian demand, so they will see more orders,” Mr. Lazarides said, adding that Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait can also supply the market. Still, he said, “the Saudis are big players and it won’t be easy for Asian importers to find alternative sources.”The U.S. and other energy producers can provide up to 1 million barrels a day of crude out of the roughly 5.7 million barrels that are currently offline in Saudi Arabia, brokers said. If Asian importers such as China, India, South Korea and Japan choose to tap into their reserves, owners and oil traders said tanker demand could be hurt, but they can’t rely on reserves for more than 10 days without supplies falling to critical levels. The impact of the Saudi disruptions on tanker freight rates “is likely to be very positive” as tankers will have to travel longer distances from oil sourcing centres like the U.S to reach Asian clients, Paris-based financial services provider Kepler Cheuvreux said. Very large crude carrier (VLCC), rates rose to more than $37,000 a day on Friday before the attacks this week, from around $28,000 from the U.S. Gulf to the Far East. “People think this is just the start of more trouble and there is a real risk this will lead to a war with Iran,” said Ralph Leszczynski, an analyst at Italian ship-chartering firm Banchero Costa. “Buyers will rush to secure cargoes fearing supply shortages in coming months. This would lead to more shipping volumes and higher tanker rates in the short term,” he said.

23 mn TEU in capacity surpassed by Global Container Shipping fleet

LONDON: As Ultra-large newbuilds continue to be delivered, the Global Containership fleet has passed the 23m TEU in capacity mark. With the delivery of two 23,000 TEU  new buildings to MSC for deployment on the Asia – Europe trade with 2M partner Maersk Line, the Global Container shipping fleet passed the 23m TEU mark last week according to Alphaliner. After passing the 22m TEU in capacity mark by the container shipping fleet in July 2018, the new milestone comes 14 months later. The move up to 23m TEU has also been powered by a low scrapping rate. This year has seen 826,000 TEU in new capacity compared to just 165,000 TEU scrapped. “A strong charter market gives owners little incentive to recycle ships, and several vessels that were initially bound for the breaking yards are now being kept in active service,” Alphaliner said in its weekly newsletter. For the year the analyst has lowered its scrapping forecast from 350,000 TEU to 250,000TEU.

Sea Intelligence: Container Shipping’s oligopoly status helping to stabilize rates

LONDON: A period of deep consolidation resulted in just three main alliances – namely THE Alliance, Ocean Alliance, and 2M – the boxship market has reached an oligopoly status, especially on the major trade lanes, according to Lars Jensen, CEO of SeaIntelligence Consulting. “We have seen, over the last few years, the emergence of oligopoly and carriers are finally figuring out how consolidation can stabilise the market,” Jensen told delegates at an event recently. “The volatility of freight rates has declined but that does not necessarily mean higher rates – just more stabilised,” he observed. Jensen added that the market can also expect global demand growth to enter a “new norm” of 2-3%, and container shipping can forget about the multiplier effect linked for each percentage of GDP growth. Demand growth is expected to be in the range of 1-1.5% this year, following negative growth registered in December 2018, and January-February 2019. Moreover, the demand growth is not evenly distributed, with Europe being a more positive market both for import and export, while North America has been volatile and may experience negative demand growth in the next few years.  “Europe will be the main driver for demand growth this year. The good thing is that the market is now having record low orderbook and the installation of scrubbers is pulling some capacity out of the market,” Jensen said. “We are looking at 2% capacity growth in 2019 and probably into 2020 as well,” he said. In addition, carriers have looked into a more structured and systematic approach to blank sailings, contributing to better managing capacity. And while the sizes of ships are getting bigger, that process has been accompanied by a decline in the number of services as well as the consolidation effect leading to ‘less’ number of shipping lines. “If we looked back at three to four years ago, carriers were looking at growth via fleet expansion and widening of market share. This has changed. Today, it is about looking at how to manage capacity and the stabilisation of financing,” he said.