RUSSIA APPROVED TO JOIN THE WTO

Amid the current world financial turmoil, Russia's admission into the World Trade Organization (WTO) is seen by many as a beacon of hope. It will enhance free and fair trade as well as boost international cooperation at the same time.

Russian consumers hope admission will bring price stability or even a tangible drop in the cost of living. Western investors are banking on Moscow's membership in the rules-based body leading to more reliability and adherence to the rule of law by their partners when conducting business in the country.

EUROPEAN PROTECTIONISM IS A BAD IDEA!

The EU's room for manoeuvre is very small. Indeed 65% of EU imports take place inside the EU and about 5% with countries linked by commercial treaties. If you take out oil imports, only 20% remains out of which about 10% from low wage countries. In the 10% the largest part concerns goods that are not produced or not  produced anymore in Europe or goods that are integrated in European productions. Protectionism would therefore not protect any revenue and would have as a direct consequence the reduction of the competitiveness of export industries.

EU TRADE IN GOODS WITH RUSSIA UP BY NEARLY 30% IN 2011

Among the EU 27 Member States, Germany accounts for 32% of EU exports to Russia followed by Italy (8.7%), France (6.9%), the Netherlands (6.5%), Poland (5.7%), Finland (4.9%), Belgium (4.4%), the United Kingdom (4.2%), Austria (3.3%), Czech Republic (3.2%), Sweden (3.0%), Lithuania (3.0%), Spain (2.4%), Slovakia (1.9%), Latvia (1.4%), Denmark (1.4%) and Estonia (1.1%).

Over 85% of EU exports to Russia are manufactured goods.

BLEAK PICTURE FOR THE EUROZONE IN 2012

In 2012 Germany will grow by only 0.6%, France by 0.3% and Spain by 0.3%. Italy is forecast to enter into recession (-0.5%). Greece and Portugal are set for another year of deep recession (-3.2%) and (-3%) respectively. According to the ECB, the Eurozone economy as a whole will grow by -0.4% to 1.0% in 2012 which gives a feeble midpoint of +0.3%.

AALEP IS ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN THE PROMOTION OF SKILLS TO FOSTER PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN EMERGING COUNTRIES

AALEP is actively engaged in the promotion of skills necessary to foster public participation and to become reliable, professional advocates in emerging countries.

Public participation is a political principle or practice, and may also be recognized as a right (right to public participation). The term public participation may be used interchangeably with the concept or practice of stakeholder engagement and/or popular participation.

DEVELOPMENT AID TIED TO GOOD GOVERNANCE

The European Union along with international donors considers accountable participatory governance as a key enabler of development. The European Parliament is very supportive of this approach since it is believed this policy should eliminate corruption, improve financial management, enhance transparency and ensure the protection of human rights. The premise is that development aid must be used as an incentive for political reform.

ENCOURAGER LES ACTIVITES DE LOBBYING EN AFRIQUE

Aujourd'hui, de nombreux pays africains traitent des questions de gouvernance et plus particulièrement de la participation du public dans les processus décisionnels. Cela exige un changement de mentalités pour toutes les parties. Il est important que les gouvernements et institutions collaborent avec la communauté pour partager des informations sur les lois et réglementations, pour identifier les besoins des communautés et démontrer ainsi leur état de préparation poir répondre à leurs besoins.

FOSTERING LOBBYING ACTIVITIES IN AFRICA

Today, many African countries address governance with a special focus on public participation. This is a step in the right direction but it does require a change of the mindset for all parties. It is important for African governments and institutions tto engage  with the community and share information on laws and regulations, identify the needs of the communities and demonstrate preparedness to address these needs.

AALEP SIGNS PROTOCOL OF COOPERATION WITH THE EUROPEAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY in LAO PDR

AALEP has entered into a Protocol of Cooperation with the European Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Lao PDR (ECCIL). Under this Protocol AALEP joins ECCIL as an Associate Member and reciprocally ECCIL joins AALEP as an Associate Member. It should be pointed out that Associate Membership does not confer any right for either organization to vote at annual meetings but it does provide entitlement to participate in meetings, events, projects and programmes.

BRAZIL THE NEW ECONOMIC SUPER- POWER OF THE 21ST CENTURY

For decades, the joke about Brazil has been that it's the country of the future-- and always will be. Despite enormous natural resources, it has long displayed an uncanny ability to squander its vast potential. Now it's beginning to look like Brazil might have the last laugh.

While Europe is consumed with debt and unemployment, and the mind is about fear of recession, Brazil is trying to figure out how to manage an economic boom. With the World Cup and the Olympics on their way, Brazil is about to make its grand entrance on the global stage.

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