International Trade Commission News Updates

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Google's 'Teacher approved' apps mislead on children' privacy, activists tell FTC

Two advocacy groups on Wednesday called on the US Federal trade commission (FTC) to investigate whether apps that Google's Play Store labels as "Teacher approved" are unlawfully collecting personal data without parental consent to target ads at children.

apr 1 2021 7:08pm
tech News : Mixed
SK Innovation loses US battery trade case but gets temporary OK to sell to Ford, VW

The US international trade commission (ITC) on Wednesday sided with South Korea's chemicals and electric vehicle (EV) battery maker LG Chem Ltd, which accused its cross-town rival SK Innovation Co Ltd of misappropriating trade secrets related to EV battery technology

feb 12 2021 8:47am
mixed News : Mixed
Advocate Ntsebeza appointed new judge of African Court

The Department of international Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) has congratulated Advocate Dumisa Ntsebezas on his appointment as a member of the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights. The 34th African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government Ordinary Summit, which sat over the weekend, selected Ntsebeza from South Africa and Sacko Modibo from Mali as new judges. The newly elected Justices are replacing Sylvain Or from the Republic of Cte dIvoire (2010-2021), the current President of the Court, and ngelo Vasco Matusse (2014-2021) from the Republic of Mozambique. According to the Court, the newly elected Judges will be sworn-in during the 61st Ordinary Session scheduled for June 2021. DIRCO Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, says the appointment is an outcome of the support and confidence African countries have in South Africa. South Africa wishes Advocate Ntsebeza well in his new assignment. We are glad that his extensive experience and knowledge in the field of human rights will be of immense contribution to our continent, Pandor said. The African Court on Human and Peoples Rights is the judicial arm of the AU and one of the three regional human rights courts, together with the European Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human rights. It was established to protect human rights in Africa, principally through the delivery of judgments. Ntsebeza is a well-renowned judge, who has served as a commissioner on the United Nations international commission of Inquiry Darfur. In South Africa, he was a commissioner and Head of the Truth and Reconciliation commissions Investigative Unit. He has also, on several occasions, served as a Judge of the High Court and the Labour Court of South Africa.

feb 10 2021 6:41pm
US opens probe of Jaguar Land Rover patent claims against VW

The US international trade commission (ITC) said on Monday it is opening in investigation into whether German automaker Volkswagen AG infringed on patents held by Jaguar Land Rover for a system used for off-road driving.

dec 29 2020 6:40pm
mixed News : Mixed
SA exports locally produced sanitisers for R1.66bn

The local production of hand sanitisers in South Africa has contributed to saving lives and earning export revenues for the country. This is according to data on South African exports of hand sanitiser products released by Minister of trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel on Tuesday. Between June and November 2020, permits for the export of hand sanitisers to 30 other African countries totalled R1.66 billion. These included exports to Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and Botswana. The Department of trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) said South African manufacturers for hand sanitiser have been building significant trading ties with other African countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the start of the pandemic, South Africa faced a shortage of hand sanitisers and industry worked with government to expand local production. Measures were put in place to regulate the export of hand sanitisers to ensure adequate local capacity and to encourage exports to other African countries. As soon as sufficient capacity was built up for local use, the international trade Administration commission (ITAC) issued permits to local companies to export product to other African countries, Patel said. The Minister said the pandemic disrupted global supply-chains, which encouraged local production and innovation. South Africa has the continents largest diversified industrial base and was able to use local know-how to roll out on scale the production of critical personal protective equipment, like sanitisers. As we build a more resilient economy, we will rely more on local innovation and industrial capacity. The legacy of COVID-19 is to underscore the importance of localisation, to create more jobs and enhance economic output, Patel said. This past weekend, the Assembly of the African Union, chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa, agreed to commence trading under the African Continental Free trade Area (AfCFTA) on 1 January 2021. The AfCFTA Agreement, which will progressively reduce tariff and other trade barriers between African countries, is expected to boost manufacturing and trade across the continent. The World Bank has estimated that successful implementation of the AfCFTA could increase African gross domestic product (GDP) by $450 billion or 7% per year and lift 30 million people across the continent out of extreme poverty by 2035. The work which South African manufacturers of COVID-19 essentials, like hand sanitisers, have done to build capacity and trading links across the continent during the pandemic will stand them in good stead as the AfCFTA comes into effect next month, the dtic said.

dec 8 2020 6:04pm
New digital mentorship for women-owned businesses in Africa launches

A new digital female-driven mentorship platform that aims to support and empower women in business in Africa has launched. Bureau Veritas , a company that specialises in testing, inspection, and certification, has partnered with TWAA , a global women empowerment platform, to create the BV Women in Africa Mentorship Programme. The partnership will allow TWAA to promote its offering globally and across Africa. Marc Roussel, President of Government Services international trade Senior Vice President for Africa comments on the launch of the new programme. The Bureau Veritas Group operates in several countries across Africa. The organization has a very strong ethos on gender balance and women empowerment. As such many of our CSR initiatives focus on the support and development of women both inside and outside of the organization. The TWAA initiative is a unique way for our Group to engage women in supporting each other through a BV dedicated mentorship programme. This platform creates a unique opportunity to invite many of the great women of BV to support other women within Africa." The programme The Bureau Veritas Group aims to engage TWAA as a knowledge sharing and mentorship platform for women across the continent, promote women in the workplace, support women by decreasing the existing gender gap in the digital arena, and supporting TWAA's vision to create gender equality in the social, economic and cultural sectors of Africa. Providing women with digital tools, the platform connects users to suitable mentors and mentee's, facilitating the growth of a women-based community and increasing access to opportunities for participants. Irene Kiwia, founder of TWAA explains the aims of the partnership and the launch of the mentorship programme. "This platform was built to help organizations with a strong women empowerment agenda such as Bureau Veritas accomplish their goals by providing a platform to engage, connect, mobilize and impact their women communities through mentorship, knowledge sharing, and access to opportunities. TWAA provides a safe and private space with relevant digital tools for women to thrive and aims to bridge the gender digital divide which can be ramped up if organizations globally become the drivers of the platform. Utilising a digital platform, the mentorship programme aims to reach women located across Africa, even in remote areas. During the programme, users will be able to connect, engage, and upskill themselves in the digital arena and business, resulting in overall empowerment. "This initiative will contribute positively to the social compact and development within the African continent and it is my fervent hope that other companies will come on board and support this program, adds Roussel Available digitally, women in business are able to access the platform, which is currently available in English, French, and Swahili. The BV Women in Africa Mentorship Programme hopes to expand the languages that the programme is available in, with the possibility of it being available in Yoruba, isiZulu, Portuguese, and Arabic.

nov 13 2020 6:23pm
newsarticle News : Startups
Kenya women mentorship platform Twaa announces a strategic partnership with Bureau Veritas

Share Twaa is a female-driven mentorship site supporting women business people across Africa with leadership skills. Through the partnership with Bureau Veritas, TWAA aims to equip women with the right set of digital skills. Bureau Veritas is the global leader in testing, inspections, and certifications. They announced a BV Women in Africa Mentorship Program which is a strategic partnership between TWAA the innovative disruptive professional networking platform and mentorship platform for young girls. During the launch, Marc Roussel who is the President of Government Services international trade Senior Vice President for Africa said, "The Bureau Veritas Group operates in several countries across Africa. The organization has a very strong ethos on gender balance and women empowerment." Nairobi's elected Women Representative Esther Passaris delivered comments saying, " A lot of women will come together on this platform and they will meet people of like mind. I think in terms of opportunities, let's not feel guilty as women because this is a woman's platform. We needed something like this, a safe and sincere space ." TWAA's founder Irene Kiwia said, " This platform was built to help organizations with a strong women empowerment agenda such as Bureau Veritas accomplish their goals by providing a platform to engage, connect, mobilize and impact their women communities through mentorship, knowledge sharing and access to opportunitie s." TWAA in swahili translates to lead and involves targeting and promoting startups that are led by women in adopting the technology. Source : CIO East Africa Share

nov 7 2020 9:05am
newsarticle News : Startups
ITAC introduces changes to steel industry prices

In an effort to improve access to affordable scrap metal for the domestic steel and other metal producing industry, the international trade Administration commission (ITAC) has introduced changes to the Price Preference System (PPS). This comes after the commission finalised an initial investigation into the supply of scrap metal as an input to the domestic steel producing industry. In a statement on Monday, the commission, which is an agency of the Department of trade and Industry (dtic), said the PPS was first introduced in 2013 to promote the affordable supply of scrap metal to domestic steel and other metal makers. Scrap dealers were required to offer scrap to the domestic consuming industry first at a prescribed discount to international prices, before it could be exported to other markets. Scrap metal is a critical input in the production of steel products by mini-mills and foundries. During the COVID-19 National State of Disaster, the dtic received representations from the domestic consuming industry that the PPS was not achieving the intended objectives, causing severe harm to the industry and affecting its recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic. "The representations requested that urgent action be taken to remedy the situation, retain jobs and capability in the metals sector, ITAC said in the statement. On 3 July 2020, dtic Minister Ebrahim Patel issued a trade Policy Directive to ITAC to investigate, and if necessary, make changes to the PPS to address the shortage in affordable good quality scrap metal. During the period of the investigation, the administration of the PPS and the export of scrap metal was suspended, subject to exceptions, to address some of the immediate challenges with affordable access for domestic steel and other metal makers, the department said in a statement. ITAC has completed its investigation and received comments from a number of interested persons and key firms in the sector. Following considerations of the concerns expressed, ITAC decided to make a number of changes to the PPS, which have been implemented with effect from 2 October 2020. Changes Some of the key changes made by ITAC to the PPS include: Imposition of an additional discount of 10% where domestic consumers are located in inland provinces and scrap metal is located at the coast to account for transport costs; The right for domestic consumers to weigh and inspect the materials to ascertain that material delivered is the same quality, type and weight as agreed to when the offer was made and concluded, and the right to claim reasonable compensation for costs incurred where quality, type and weight differ from what was agreed; Increased surveillance by ITAC to ensure that materials (quality, grades and quantities) comply with the approved permit, including the right to take legal action for any misrepresentation from sellers; and Ensuring that scrap dealers have adequate facilities for the access, loading and weighing of scrap, failure to provide these will be seen as an impediment and constitute grounds for refusal of a permit application. Ensuring affordability The department said amendments to the guidelines are intended to improve the domestic consumers access to affordable scrap metal and address the concerns raised by the industry in the interim period. The introduction of an export tax as a long-term policy measure is currently under consideration. Ensuring the affordable supply of scrap metal to the domestic steel industry is critical. The department will thus monitor the supply of scrap closely and the effectiveness of the amendments to the PPS. In the event that the affordable supply of scrap metal to domestic steel makers remains constrained, further measures will be considered by government. The South African government continues to put in place measures to support the steel and metals industry. A masterplan for the sector is currently under development through consultation with industry stakeholders, including manufacturers and organised labour, the department said.

oct 6 2020 7:01pm
SA calls for deeper industrialisation

trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel says there is a need for the African continent to deepen its levels of industrialisation while also addressing strategic vulnerabilities exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. This requires more investment flows, economic diversification and greater policy space in the rules of the World trade Organisation (WTO) for vulnerable economies commencing the hard work of economic recovery, Patel said. Patel made the call at a G20 trade and Investment Ministers meeting held early this week. The virtual meeting was attended by trade Ministers from the largest economies, including the United States, China, European Union, India, Japan, Brazil and Indonesia. South Africa was the only African representative at the meeting. Patel said that while the pandemic will affect all countries, the pain will be concentrated in economies with greater fiscal or financial vulnerability, or with higher levels of infection. The pandemic disrupted global supply chains. The new consensus on the need for greater supply chain resilience need to include efforts to spread risk by enabling the greater geographic spread of manufacturing, Patel said. The G20 Ministers meeting focused on current international trade and investment developments, including COVID-19; the future of the WTO; boosting micro, small and medium enterprises; pathways to economic diversification; and strengthening international investment. The Minister welcomed the meetings agreement to support economic diversification, saying he looked forward to joint efforts to achieve it. This should include WTO reform that addresses imbalances in the rules that emerged from the Uruguay Round, to allow for legitimate measures to support industrial development and to provide policy space for digital economy development on the African continent to drive economic growth and development, Patel said at the meeting. Patel affirmed that global trade be underpinned by the principle of special and differential treatment for developing countries. He also welcomed the meetings consensus to promote womens economic empowerment and the efforts of micro, small and medium enterprises. Addressing inconsistencies Pointing to the agreement by trade Ministers on the risks of illicit trade, the Minister drew attention to the unresolved problems of under-invoicing and other illicit actions in international trade, which damage the national industrial capacity of many African manufacturers. This, he said, must be addressed vigorously in the future G20 trade track. At the conclusion of the meeting, the G20 trade and Investment Ministers adopted a communique on Realising Opportunities of the 21st Century for All. Sustainable growth In the communiqu, G20 trade Ministers committed to use all available policy tools to minimise the economic and social damage of the pandemic, restore global growth, maintain market stability and strengthen resilience. The G20 Ministers also recognised the need to increase the sustainability and resilience of national, regional and global supply chains, and to expand production capacity and trade, notably in the areas of pharmaceutical, medical and other health-related products. The Ministers further recognised the importance of continuing to foster womens economic empowerment with a view to achieving global economic recovery and endorsed a set of guidelines to promote inclusive economic growth, through increased participation of small and medium enterprises in international trade and investment.

sep 26 2020 12:05am
international commercial rhino horn trade remains prohibited

international commercial trade of rhino horn and derivatives remains prohibited in terms of the Convention on the international trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and South Africas CITES regulations (2010). international commercial trade in rhino horn is and remains prohibited in terms of the CITES regulations and as such, could not be authorised in terms of any domestic legislation, Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy said in a statement. Creecy said any claims to the contrary are a misrepresentation of the facts regarding commercial international trade in rhino horn, and any planned commercial trade of rhino horn by private rhino owners could possibly be for domestic trade only. South Africa cannot, therefore, issue permits for international commercial trade of rhino horn or derivatives. Trying to sell rhino horn internationally for commercial purposes would be in violation of the CITES regulations and the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (NEMBA), said the Minister on Thursday. The Minister said the domestic trade in rhino horn is subject to the issuance of the relevant permits in terms of NEMBA, its regulations and applicable provincial legislation. Any other international activity involving rhino for non-commercial purposes is subject to the CITES provisions and relevant NEMBA regulations, Creecy said. In terms of NEMBA, a permit is required to among others possess, transport and trade in rhino horns and any derivatives or products of horn. The Minister also emphasised that the High Level Panel is reviewing among others, policy and practice matters of trade, breeding, hunting and handling of rhinos in South Africa and the panel will make recommendations to her on such. The department maintains an electronic database that captures extensive details on all individual rhino horns in private and government owned and continues with its verification programme to ensure that DNA samples have been taken, and that all horns have been measured, weighed, marked, microchipped and captured on the national database. This supports our ongoing efforts to ensure that the department has full and accurate information on the number of horns in South Africa at any given time and the registered owner of each horn. This is vital to prevent the smuggling of horn out of the country, the Minister said.

sep 11 2020 9:16pm