Welcome to the Wade Trade News import-export bulletin for August 2012.
This month we've got news from China, the Philippines, the UK and Zambia - and a briefing note on the role that CE marks have in import-export.
China export growth slows
China's trade continues to be affected by the global slump with news from the General Administration of Customs that the country's exports rose a relatively modest 11% year-on-year to June 2012, slowing from 15% growth the previous month. The GAC also reported that total foreign trade reached US$1.84 trillion in the first half of 2012, representing only an 8% annual rise, and significantly less than the official government forecast of a 10% rise.
The weak figures were due to poor trade levels with the European Union, China's largest trading partner, which Zheng Yuesheng of the GAC said "almost stalled in the first half of the year." China's trade with Japan was also slow. Zheng added that China's exports to the USA were performing well and the country could resume its position as China's largest trading partner later this year if EU trade continued to slump. The countries of ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) maintained their ranking as China's third largest trade partner, with trade amounting to US$187.82bn, up 9.7% over the last year. Exports of machinery and electronics both showed overall growth.
Philippine exports reach new record
Philippine export income grew to a 17-month high last month, mainly as a result of strong growth in metal and agricultural exports - according to figures issued by the National Statistics Office (NSO) recently. Overall, export earnings increased almost 20% over the year to reach US$4.93bn.
The Philippines' main export earners, according to the NSO, are electronic products, woodcrafts and furniture, apparel and clothing accessories, metal components, ignition wiring sets for vehicles, ships and aircraft, coconut oil, bananas, pineapple and tuna/tuna products. The largest markets for Philippine exports are Japan, the United States and Thailand.
UK tops the table for inward investment in Europe
The United Kingdom won more foreign direct investment (FDI) than any other country in Europe in 2011, according to a new survey by business analysts Ernst & Young. The UK attracted 17% of available overseas business investment last year, with Germany second on 15%, according to the report. Investors told the survey that the country's quality of life, culture and language, the stable political environment as well as technology and infrastructure were the main attractions to investing in the UK.
Other key findings showed that foreign investors expect the UK's attractiveness to further improve over the next three years, with financial services, energy and utilities and manufacturing becoming major growth sectors, and with already strong sectors such as research and development, innovation and financial services set to be further reinforced.
The report said that the USA remains the largest investor in the UK, followed by Germany, India, France and China. It added that the UK's balance of trade is benefiting from increasingly strong exports of cars to China, Russia and the USA, helping the UK to reach a position where car exports exceed imports.
Focus on: Zambia
Located in south central Africa and surrounded by eight other countries, Zambia is well positioned to act as a hub for trade and investment in the region. It is also at the heart of two regional trade agreements, COMESA and SADC, with around 647m consumers between them. The economy has grown in recent years, and has achieved an average growth rate of 6.2% annually since 2009. Zambia's main export products include commodities such as cobalt and copper (Zambia is forecast to produce 1.5m tonnes of copper per year and become the world's fifth largest copper producer by 2015), tobacco and also electricity. The main products required for import include petroleum products, fertilizers, machinery and transport equipment. The country's main trading partners are the UK, Switzerland, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, South Africa and the UAE.
The Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) is a semi-autonomous governmental organisation whose responsibility is to further economic development through promotion of investments and exports in Zambia. It can offer help, information and links to Zambian companies who are interested in importing and exporting. Website: http://www.zda.org.zm
Quick briefing: What are CE Marks?
A valid CE mark confirms that a product conforms to the requirements of EU laws on health, safety and environmental protection. In practice it means that a product imported into one country of the EU from outside the region can be freely traded in all the other countries.
The CE marking is usually stamped on products by their original manufacturer. By placing CE marking on a product, manufacturers declare on their sole responsibility that the products comply with all the legal requirements in force in the EU. It is the manufacturer's responsibility to verify that their goods comply with all relevant legislation or, if they are unable to do so, have them examined by a competent conformity assessment service.
Not all products sold in the EU need to carry a CE marking. CE marking applies to selected product categories ranging from electrical equipment to toys and from civil explosives to medical devices. Individual products may be regulated by one or more directives requiring that they are CE marked.
One risk with CE marks is that unscrupulous manufacturers may place unauthorised CE markings on a product, or marks which look like CE marks but which are not technically correct. As a result it is important to examine the paperwork associated with any products handled to ensure the CE marks are genuine.
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