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Riaan de Lange

Riaan de Lange


This economic and trade-focused column is prepared by Riaan de Lange – riaan@tariffandtrade.co.za. The views expressed in this column are the author's personal views

New trade barriers database

14th May 2021 Did you know that trade policy barriers such as tariffs and other regulations account for at least 14% of total trade costs? Would you be interested in gaining a sense of the degree of restrictiveness of these measures, measuring how trade-policy barriers compare with other trade costs, and... 

When you hear the signal

7th May 2021 It would cost you 47.5c. This begs the question: When last did you phone 1026? This should not be confused with 1023, the directory enquiries number you would dial when looking for a telephone number. In case you were wondering, both numbers are still in operation. The 1026 number is, in a way,... 

Gagarin’s poyekhali moment

30th April 2021 Sixty years ago – on April 12, 1961 – Yuri Gagarin became the first person to fly into space in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics’ (USSR’s) Vostok spacecraft, in a flight lasting 108 minutes, circling Earth for a little more than one orbit. I deliberately said ‘person’, but for those... 

SA’s recyclate ‘national flower’

23rd April 2021 Since 1976, the King Protea has been this country’s national flower and also appears on the national coat of arms. Previously, it was the humble Suikerbossie. The King Protea was chosen because it symbolises South Africa's beauty and represents the “flowering of our potential as a nation in... 

Chewing and bubble gum tax

16th April 2021 ‘Pigovian tax’, ‘externalities’, ‘negative externalities’, ‘elasticity of demand’, ‘awful self-inflicted impetigo’, ‘limitations’, ‘regulations’, ‘ban on the product’, ‘sugar tax’, ’drug’, and ‘food’. All these are the keywords on our brief journey to gain insight into chewing gum tax and bubble... 

Creative destruction

9th April 2021 Nearly every episode of the 1966 classic television series, Mission Impossible – yes, it was on television before it became a movie franchise – started with the now iconic lines, “Your mission, Jim, should you decide to accept it” and “This tape will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck,... 

Operation Vulindlela

2nd April 2021 When, on March 15, I saw a piece on the National Treasury’s website that was titled ‘Operation Vulindlela’ and marked ‘Latest News’, my gut feeling was that it was about a covert operation. In both Xhosa and Zulu, vulindlela means ‘make way’, and in the context of a Brenda Fassie song, it means:... 

Excise duties and the Laffer curve

26th March 2021 Whoever said “what goes up must come down” never visited South Africa nor heard of excise duties nor understood their application in South Africa and the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) region. These words were, in fact, uttered by Sir Isaac Newton, widely recognised as one of the most... 

Fairtrade South Africa

19th March 2021 When last, while shopping, did you pause to consider the packaging of the product you had selected? Are you one of those shoppers who turn the product around to contemplate the nutritional information? Does the information pertaining to fats or carbohydrates mean anything to you? Or does the... 

Whoa, livin’ on a prayer

12th March 2021 Just under two weeks after the State of the Nation Address (SoNA), Finance Minister Tito Mboweni tabled the 2021/22 National Budget in the National Assembly – on February 24. At nearly half the length – 3 819 words – of the SoNA, it would have taken someone reading at the average adult reading... 

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