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Far and Wide | January 2023 (II)

This week’s headline features a story from Asia; the India-UK FTA dialogue is set to enter the final stage in January 2024. The 14th and final session will take up the technical issues of business mobility, Scotch whiskey, automobiles, farm products, pharmaceuticals, rules of origin, and a separate pact to boost bilateral investments. 
Europe: Due to the shortage of car-moving ships, the export of electric vehicles from China to Europe has been deeply impacted. Daily charter prices have surged to $115,000, a 10% increase from 2022 and seven times higher than 2019.

North America: North America Confectionery Market Growth Forecast 2023-2030 predicts 4.4% CAGR. The industry is responding to the lifestyle changes with a surge in product diversification, incorporating organic ingredients, unusual fruit flavours, and exotic nuts. 

South America: The discovery of a single bird with the potential of carrying avian influenza has raised concerns among scientists. The virus is capable of travelling to vast distances, rapidly, reflecting on its progression across the entire 6,000-kilometer spine of South America in about six months. While scientists hope that the virus does not reach the Australian Antarctic Territory, there remains a sample collection challenge and has not confirmed the case. 

Asia: The upcoming 14th and final round of India-UK free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations is scheduled to happen in the second week of January 2024. India has recently concluded two FTAs in 2022, an India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) which came into force in May 2022 and the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) operationalised in December 2022.
Australia: Despite being 11,000 km from the Red Sea, Australia's trade is impacted by Red Sea cargo ship attacks. In 2022, Australia imported about $60 billion in products from Europe, majorly through the Red Sea. Companies have started diverting their containers around South Africa which has led to major delays, shortages and additional shipping costs, which are further expected to be passed on to the businesses and customers.
Africa: The year 2023 seems to have attracted significant media attention towards the development of the continent “Africa” and has been called another “Year of Africa” and ties with Russia have strengthened. Many events have reshaped the perceptions of Russia–Africa relations to bring progress and visible outcomes to the nations. 
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