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Day: November 27, 2020

Ireland, ITC renew partnership to strengthen small firms in developing countries

(Geneva) – Ireland has committed €1 million to support the International Trade Centre (ITC) throughout 2023.

ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton and H.E. Ambassador Noel White, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations and other International Organizations at Geneva, today signed the grant agreement at ITC in Geneva.

The funds provide flexibility and predictability for ITC to implement its Operational Plan 2023 and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The agreement reaffirms the alignment of ITC and Ireland’s development priorities by focusing on enhancing the competitiveness of small businesses, addressing global peace and prosperity, and prioritizing the needs of the most vulnerable in least developed countries.

‘This contribution reflects the importance Ireland attaches to the work of ITC and our ongoing commitment to a positive partnership. Our policy for international development seeks to put the ‘furthest behind first’. Through our partnership with ITC, we are helping developing countries, including least developed countries, to meet the challenges of the ‘four Cs’ of COVID, climate, conflict and cost-of-living.’

H.E. Ambassador Noel White, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations and other International Organizations at Geneva

‘Ireland is a reliable, long-term partner of ITC, and we are grateful for our continuing collaboration. Together, we’re supporting key players in the global economy – small businesses in developing countries – to navigate crises and changes in the trading landscape. The flexible core financing provided by Ireland allows us to quickly respond to the needs of our clients so they can play a role in inclusive and sustainable trade-led development.’

Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director, International Trade Centre (ITC)

About the International Trade Centre: The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries to become more competitive in global markets – thus contributing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. For more information, visit www.intracen.org.


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Food security work programme enters decisive phase

The Committee on Agriculture’s food security work programme has entered a decisive phase, with the release of the coordinator’s report outlining his views on where there could be convergence among members. At a meeting on 19 July, members reviewed the report, which focuses on the needs of least-developed countries (LDCs) and net food-importing developing countries (NFIDCs), for the first time, welcoming its circulation and considering it a good basis for further discussions. The aim is to find agreement on recommendations by November 2023.


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India bans rice shipments to curb price rises

India has outlawed the export of non-basmati white rice in an attempt to ward off looming domestic price spikes.
Heavy rains have hurt crops in the country and rice prices have risen by more than 11% over the last 12 months.
Non-basmati white grain currently accounts for about a quarter of India’s rice exports, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs said as it announced the policy change.
Experts warned the move could push up global food prices.
“It’s fair to say this will have quite an impact on global food prices,” said Emma Wall, head of investment analysis and research at Hargreaves Lansdown.
Food supplies are already under pressure, after Russia’s withdrawal this week from a deal guaranteeing safe passage of Ukrainian grain, including wheat.
India is the world’s biggest exporter of rice, accounting for more than 40% of global shipments. Non-basmati rice is mainly exported to countries in Asia and Africa.
Last year, the Indian government imposed a 20% export tax to try to discourage foreign sales. It has also limited wheat and sugar shipments.
But exporting can be more lucrative for Indian farmers than selling domestically.
The government said that farmers would still be able to export other kinds of rice, including long-grain basmati, ensuring they “get the benefit of remunerative prices in the international market”.
The state will also consider requests to allow shipments to other countries based on food security needs, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade said.
The invasion of Ukraine last year caused global food prices to surge.
While those pressures have since eased at an international level, in India, bad weather has damaged crops in many northern states, prompting the cost of many items – including tomatoes and onions – to rise sharply.
Vegetable prices jumped 12% from May to June, contributing to the rising cost of living. Inflation rose to 4.8% last month, which was higher than expected as a result of the climbing food costs.
The rising cost of living has put political pressure on the government in India, ahead of national elections next year. The country will also see state-level elections in the coming months.
Devinder Sharma, an expert in agriculture policy in India, said the government was trying to get ahead of an anticipated production shortfall, with rice-growing regions in the south also exposed to risks of dry rain as the El Nino weather pattern sweeps through later this year.
“The government is taking a very, very precautionary kind of approach,” he said.


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