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Companies ‘poised’ to diversify out of China: AAFA

Organisations from the apparel industry in the US, along with the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), are calling for long-term renewal of the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA).

In a letter dated 12 December addressed to the President of the United States, Joe Biden, the AAFA and more than 20 other organisations have called for renewal of AGOA during the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit taking place from 13-15 December 2022 where African heads of state will meet with Biden.

“AGOA’s expiration date is less than three years away. September 2025 may sound like a distant date, it is actually no time at all for the continuity, certainty, and commitment needed for our industry’s supply chains to grow and thrive in the region,” says AAFA president and CEO Steve Lamar.

He added: “Companies are poised to diversify out of China now more than ever. Extending AGOA for an additional 10-year period would be incredibly impactful for companies hoping to grow commitments towards a vertical, responsible, and competitive industry in Africa over the next dozen years.”

The American Apparel & Footwear Association stated in the letter that the intermittent nature of the programme before the decade-long renewal in 2015 did not leave enough time for the industry to “take full advantage.”

The organisations further emphasised the importance of the timely renewal of AGOA for an additional ten-year period, which would give the companies “necessary certainty and stability” to make investments and commitments for the growth of “a vertical, responsible, and competitive industry in Africa.”

The letter added: “Furthermore, we view AGOA as a bridge to other trade agreements such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the US-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP). For instance, the US-Kenya STIP will benefit both trading partners in many ways but must include both trade provisions and flexibilities that promote regionalization. It is critical that Kenya may still draw upon the benefits from other AGOA countries, and vice versa, AGOA countries must still be able to partner with Kenya. In the end, regionalization will encourage more countries in the region to pursue trade agreements with the US and continue the growth in opportunities created by AGOA.”

This continued call to action follows a June 2022 testimony before the International Trade Commission and comments to the US Trade Representative, as well as decades of support for strategic trade partnerships in the region, adds AAFA.

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Public Notices

Japan just found 7,000 islands it didn’t know it had

Japan has recounted its islands – and discovered it has 7,000 more than it previously thought.

Digital mapping by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI) recently found there to be 14,125 islands in Japanese territory, more than double the figure of 6,852 that has been in official use since a 1987 report by Japan’s Coast Guard.

However, the GSI this week stressed that the new figure reflected advances in surveying technology and the detail of the maps used for the count – it did not change the overall area of land in Japan’s possession.

It said that while there is no international agreement on how to count islands, it had used the same size criterion as the previous survey 35 years ago.

That entailed counting all naturally occurring land areas with a circumference of at least 100 meters (330 feet).

The new number does not include any artificially reclaimed land.

The islands surrounding Japan have been at the heart of several territorial disputes.

Japan lays claim to the Russian-held southern Kuril islands, which Tokyo calls the Northern Territories, a dispute that dates to the end of World War II, when Soviet troops seized them from Japan.

Japan also says it has a historical claim to the uninhabited Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, which it currently administers, but China has repeatedly challenged that claim.

Meanwhile, Japan and South Korea remain locked in a more than 70-year dispute over the sovereignty of a group of islets known as Dokdo by Seoul and Takeshima by Tokyo in the Sea of Japan, which Korea calls the East Sea.

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Yosemite National Park to partially reopen after 3-week closure

Yosemite National Park will begin to reopen Saturday with limited access and hours, the US National Park Service has announced. The park remains closed today.

The popular park, nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains, was closed because of a series of damaging storms that have swept across the region in recent weeks.

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Charles and Camilla

Britain’s King Charles III and his wife, Queen Camilla, have been married since 2005. They reportedly met at a polo match in 1970 and became friends when Charles was a prince.

When Charles joined the Royal Navy in 1971, Camilla married cavalry officer Andrew Parker Bowles.

Charles married Diana Spencer in 1981 but then admitted in 1994 that he had been having an extramarital affair with Camilla. Diana confirmed his infidelity and her own the following year.

Camilla got a divorce in 1995, and Charles and Diana divorced in 1996. Camilla all but vanished from public life at the time as public and media support swung behind Diana.

In 1999, Clarence House embarked on a program to reintroduce Camilla to the public with a carefully orchestrated first appearance with Charles outside the Ritz Hotel in London.

Six years later, their decades-long love story culminated in a wedding that had the consent of Charles’ mother, Queen Elizabeth II. Camilla was confirmed as Charles’ official consort and future queen.

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