MENU

《经济学人》为什么非洲农作物很难出口到美国?

2020 年 03 月 01 日 • 经济学人,中东非洲

本期经济学人杂志【中东非洲】板块下这篇题为《Why African farmers struggle to export to the United States》的文章分析分析了非洲农作物很难出口到美国的原因。

The Economist, February 29th-March 6th 2020.

最近纳米比亚国营公司出口了 25 吨牛肉到美国,这是非洲首次向美国出口红肉。美国是全球第二大肉类市场,平均每个美国人一年要吃掉 100 公斤肉。虽然美国对大部分来自非洲的商品有税收优惠,甚至免税,但表面看起来慷慨的贸易条款实际并不那么好。

目前美国的进口中只有 1% 来自撒哈拉以南非洲,且许多是石油。农业占撒哈拉以南非洲 54% 的就业,工业只占 11%,然而除了少数像咖啡、茶和棉花等作物外,非洲出口到美国的农作物仍非常少。

关于非洲农作物很难出口到美国的阻碍,文章认为主要有以下几点:

  • 食品安全标准。一方面,出口商为遵循进口国的标准要付出很大的代价,有时这一部分成本完全抵消了税收优惠的好处;另一方面,全球食品安全没有一个统一的标准,出口商为满足美国和欧盟不同的食品安全标准不得不多花很多钱。
  • 配额很少。虽然非洲的棉花、糖、奶制品、花生和烟丝等产品对美国农民的威胁很小,但美国仍对这些产品设置进口配额,且配额数量很小。如美国规定每年从纳米比亚进口牛肉的配额只有区区 860 吨,这只占美国牛肉产量的 0.008%。

文章认为之所以有些非洲产品缺乏竞争力,是因为缺乏相应的投资,道路港口较差,且离目标市场较远。但非洲出口到欧盟的产品要比出口到美国的多,这反映出美国进口配额制的不利影响。如果非洲出口商能够更好地进入国外市场,那他们会愿意为提升竞争力进行更多投资。

Why African farmers struggle to export to the United States

Africa’s beef with America
Why African farmers struggle to export to the United States

Seemingly generous trade terms aren’t as helpful as they appear
Middle East and Africa
Feb 27th 2020 edition
Feb 27th 2020

HUNGRY AMERICANS chomping into one of Philadelphia’s famous cheesesteaks may soon get a taste of Africa. Last week MeatCo, Namibia’s state-owned meat firm, shipped 25 tonnes of beef to Philadelphia. It was the first ever export of red meat from Africa to the United States. Namibian meat producers are delighted. America is the world’s second-biggest meat market; the average American wolfs down more than 100kg a year. Yet this is a rare success. Negotiations began 18 years ago.

The shipment will be duty-free under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which was introduced in 2000 to boost economic growth in Africa by stimulating exports to America. Yet 20 years later only about 1% of America’s imports come from sub-Saharan Africa, and much of that is oil. The fact that it took two decades to export a single piece of red meat helps explain why AGOA has had so little impact, and how it could be improved.

A few countries, including Lesotho and Mauritius, have been given a leg-up. Whereas most of America’s clothes imports from China are hit with a duty of about 20%, those from Africa under AGOA are duty-free. That has helped Lesotho boost its global exports of textiles and clothing from $143m in 2000 to $549m in 2017. But many African countries are better at growing things than making them. Agriculture accounts for 54% of employment in sub-Saharan Africa, compared with 11% for industry. Yet apart from a few commodities such as coffee, tea and cocoa, agricultural exports to America are still quite small. Why is that?

One barrier is safety standards. Compliance can be costly, sometimes entirely offsetting the benefits of lower tariffs under AGOA. And because there is no global standard for food safety, exporters often have to shell out to comply with different ones in Europe and America. Harmonisation of rules would help enormously.

AGOA was meant to open America’s food market to Africa. But while most agricultural products from Africa can enter tariff-free, the small print limits imports of much of what the continent grows. Some crops are still hit with import taxes. And even though the threat to American farmers is negligible, the United States imposes quotas on imports of African products including cotton, sugar, dairy products, peanuts and tobacco. Processed foods that contain milk, such as chocolate, get caught up in these too. Imports above the allocated quota are hit with steep tariffs—350% for tobacco. America allocates most of its quotas to long-standing trading partners. This year Namibia secured a quota for its debut shipment of beef. (Without that it would have been taxed at 26%.) Yet its quota of 860 tonnes is tiny, amounting to just 0.008% of American beef production.

For some products African producers are simply not competitive because of a lack of investment, poor roads and ports and their vast distance from rich markets. But African companies already export far more agricultural products to Europe than to America, suggesting that America’s quotas matter. With better access to markets, firms might then invest more in improving their competitiveness.

The European Union also has a preferential trade scheme for the poorest countries, called Everything But Arms. Unlike AGOA, it does not impose quotas. But it largely rules out products if they include too many bits and bobs made in wealthy countries. This is a problem for manufacturers, which may need to import cheap components if their finished products are to be competitive. Worse, these rules are “mind-bogglingly complex”, says Kimberly Elliott of the Centre for Global Development (CGD), a think-tank.

In Britain, too, trade with Africa is on the agenda. Boris Johnson, the prime minister, has declared that Uganda’s beef cattle “will have an honoured place on the tables of post-Brexit Britain” for the first time. If Mr Johnson is serious about accelerating imports from the poorest African countries, then he should set up a scheme that learns from others: more comprehensive than America’s, yet simpler than Europe’s.

In the long run, big emerging markets may be more important to Africa. The CGD reckons that poor countries would be able to export three times more if they were given unrestricted access to Brazil, China and India as well as the OECD, than if they were given full access to the OECD alone.

Still, little can be achieved unless African exporters take the bull by the horns and force their way into new markets. Once again, Namibia’s MeatCo is leading the charge. Last year it sent the first-ever shipment of African beef to China. ■

This article appeared in the Middle East and Africa section of the print edition under the headline"Africa’s beef with America"

赞助博客

2016~2020 年经济学人合集 ( PDF+EPUB+MOBI )
赞助合集
经济学人 2020 年音频赞助版
赞助音频

  • Efay: 爱了,期待持续更新!
  • jessica: 感谢!这里是宝藏!站主辛苦了!@(彩虹)
  • leilei: 太好了,以后就来这里啦
  • 555: 我的404页面搞了半天都没生效 要吐了 我的那个文件里面没有那行代码
  • 榨汁饮用: ❤️
添加新留言