On 21 February, 2019, the Department for International Trade (DIT) issued guidance entitled, Existing trade agreements if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, which sets out the status of those agreements (free trade agreements, economic partnership agreements, association agreements and customs union) that may not be in place by exit day. It also links to trade agreements that have been signed and mutual recognition agreements that have been signed.

As we reported on March 30, 2018, 44 African governments signed onto the legally-binding Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) during an extraordinary AU summit this past March.  The AfCFTA is intended to lead to greater economic integration between African countries and drive continental economic growth.

On May 23, 2018, the US Foreign Agricultural Service in Addis Ababa reported that in May, Kenya and Ghana ratified the AfCFTA, while other countries, like Rwanda, Niger, and Ethiopia, have indicated they will ratify soon. The report said, in part:

On 31 January 2018, the Official Journal published Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2018/148 of 27 September 2017 amending Annexes II, III and IV to Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council applying a scheme of generalised tariff preferences which revised the listings of several countries under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), which is reviewed each January. Regulation (EU) 978/2012 provides that a country that has been classified by the World Bank as a high-income or an upper-middle income country for 3 consecutive years, or a country that benefits from a preferential market access arrangement which provides the same tariff preferences as the GSP, or better, for substantially all trade, should not benefit from GSP, although GSP benefits will continue for 1 year after entry into force of a change in status to high-income or an upper-middle income country for 3 consecutive years, and 2 years after the date of application of a preferential market access arrangement so that the GSP beneficiary country and economic operators are given sufficient time for an orderly adaptation to the country’s GSP status revision. Accordingly, the following actions have been taken:

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently posted a fraud warning on fake Kimberley Process Certificates for Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Guinea. CBP, in conjunction with the Department of State, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, is advising the public on several scams involving Kimberley Process Certificates. Legitimate Kimberley Process Certificates are used to control the international trade in rough diamonds. In one elaborate scheme, individuals were invited to Sierra Leone to view rough diamonds…