Monthly Archives: February 2016

Call for Papers: 2016 WTO Essay Award for Young Economists

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) launched on 8 February an invitation to young economists to submit papers for the 2016 WTO Essay Award. The Award aims to promote high-quality research on trade policy and international trade co-operation among young economists and to reinforce the relationship between the WTO and the academic community.

Essays must be submitted by 1 June 2016. The Economic Research and Statistics Division of the WTO Secretariat will shortlist eligible papers by 15 June 2016 and the Selection Panel will take a final decision by 15 July 2016. Only the author(s) of short-listed essays will be notified.

For further information, please see here.

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CALL FOR PAPERS: MSBM Conference 2016

The Mona School of Business & Management, UWI will be hosting its second Business and Management Conference themed Connecting the Dots: Enterprise, Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development. The conference will be held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica November 9-11, 2016 and will also feature a vibrant social programme.

Publication opportunities and awards include the A-Ranked (ABDC) journal Entrepreneurship and Regional Development and for the best paper. A Doctoral Consortium will also feature in the programme.

Key Dates: 

  • ABSTRACTS DUE:  March 31, 2016
  • DECISIONS: April 30, 2016
  • FULL SCRIPTS: August 31, 2016
  • CONFERENCE: November 9-11, 2016

The detailed call for papers gives other critical information, including themes and submission guidelines. Please pass on through your networks.

For further information, please visit the Conference page.

Caribbean Weekly Trade & Development Digest – February 21-27, 2016

These are some of the major trade and development headlines and analysis across the Caribbean region and the world for the week of February 21-27, 2016 :

Regional

Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs to discuss ties between islands and CARICOM

Curacao Chronicle:
Ties with CARICOM, the Caribbean organization, will be discussed at the Kingdom level. This is stated in the report of the Kingdom Delegation activities in late September in New York during the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations.
Read more

CDB Sees Slower Growth for Region after Last Year’s Mixed Fortunes

CDB: Overall growth (1%) remained sluggish as Caribbean economies experienced mixed fortunes last year amid a number of global challenges which resulted in continuing low commodity prices, falling oil revenues and an overall downturn in export trade. Read more

CARICOM, Japan Strengthen decades-old ties

CARICOM Today: The long-standing friendship that has existed between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Japan was strengthened on Thursday 25 February, with the accreditation of new Ambassador of Japan to CARICOM, His Excellency Mitsuhiko Okada. Read more

Economic Partnership Agreement to benefit departments of statistics and Bureau of Standards

SKNVibes: The Launch of the Economic Partnership Agreement/CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) Standby Facility for Capacity Building Projects, held on Thursday morning at the Ocean Terrace Inn, has been described as a momentous occasion by the Minister of International Trade, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, the Honourable Lindsay Grant. Read more

Guyana Looks at T&T’s pepper success

CARICOM Today: Guyana is looking at T&T’s model of hot pepper production and the sharing of production of marketing information and exchange facilities by Caroni Green Limited (CGL) and personnel from the Agriculture Committee of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) of Guyana. Read more

Jamaica Labour Party wins 2016 election

Jamaica Observer: The Jamaica Labour Party was a short while ago declared the winner of the 2016 general election, after claiming 33 of the 63 constituency seats. Read more

Caribbean Flavours enters the Dominican Republic

Jamaica Observer: Caribbean Flavours and Fragrances Ltd (CFF) has entered the Caribbean’s largest market — the Dominican Republic — where it now supplies manufacturers with its products. Read more

Obama in Cuba: Reasons for his trip

Caribbean 360: At this stage of the process that began in December 2014 with the surprise announcement of the opening of relations between the United States and Cuba, hardly anything counts as spectacular news. Read more

St. Lucia expecting massive investment to 2020

Nation News: Invest Saint Lucia (ISL) has projected a flow of US$1.5 billion in investment projects in Saint Lucia by the year 2020.The island’s lone national investment company said it also plans to create 8000 jobs by that time. Read more

Suriname credit ratings downgraded; outlook negative

Caribbean News Now: Fitch Ratings has downgraded Suriname’s long-term foreign and local currency issuer default ratings (IDRs) to ‘B+’ from ‘BB-‘. The rating outlook is revised to negative from stable. Read more

Guyana Goldfields total output at 57,757 ounces

Stabroek News: Canadian firm Guyana Goldfields Inc has produced 21,855 ounces of gold so far for the year at its Aurora gold mine in Region Seven with total gold production since September last year being 57,757 ounces. Read more

$19b sugar project: IDB weighs financing for modernisation programme

Jamaica Gleaner: The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is looking at funding a US$160-million ($19.3 billion) project aimed at modernising the sugar industry in Jamaica, which has struggled to find a profitable footing. Read more

International

Solar Mission: India to appeal against WTO ruling

Economic Times: India will once again appeal against a World Trade Organization ruling, which declared that support provided by the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission to domestic manufacturers was inconsistent with the Trade Related Investment Measures agreement signed by the country.  Read more

African Union’s CFTA-NF 1st meeting kicks off

The Nation (Kenya): The 1st Meeting of the Continental Free Trade Area Negotiating Forum (CFTA-NF) kicked off on Wednesday at the African Union Commission (AUC) Headquarters in Addis Ababa. Read more

Kazakhstan ratifies Vietnam-EAEU free trade agreement

TASS: Kazakhstan has ratified a free trade agreement between the Eurasian Economic Union’s (EAEU) member states and Vietnam. The relevant law was signed on Wednesday by the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, his press office reported. Read more

China Rules out Weakening Yuan to Boost Trade

ABC News: China’s central bank chief promised Friday to avoid weakening its yuan to boost sagging exports as he tried to reassure nervous financial markets about his government’s handling of its economy and currency at the start of a closely watched gathering of global finance officials. Read more

EU Releases Commission Report on implementation of the European Commission Communication on “Trade,Growth and Development”

European Commission: The European Commission’s report released today confirms the EU’s leading role in putting trade policy at the service of inclusive growth and sustainable development. The EU has by now met its main policy objectives – set in 2012 – as regards the contribution of trade towards global development. Read more

World Trade Records biggest reversal since crisis

Financial Times: Weaker demand from emerging markets made 2015 the worst year for world trade since the aftermath of the global financial crisis, highlighting rising fears about the health of the global economy.  Read more

USTR Requests Peru Timber Verification

USTR: Today, the Office of the United States Trade Representative announced that it has requested the Government of Peru to verify that a 2015 timber shipment exported to the United States from Peru complied with all applicable Peruvian laws and regulations. Read more

Report: Digital Global Trade Surges, Brings Profound Changes

Voice of America: The flow of digital goods and services across borders is surging globally, while trade in traditional goods and the flow of international finance has stopped growing. Read more

TTIP Negotiations: 12th Round Ends With Plan To Hurry Between Official Rounds

Intellectual Property Watch: By July, trade negotiators from the United States and the European Union want to present a draft text that only has brackets for the “most sensitive issues” in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Read more

US-EU Privacy Shield Framework Details to be Provided by End of February

Lexology: European Union and United States officials announced early February 2016 a political agreement to create the “Privacy Shield”, an anticipated solution to the now defunct Safe Harbor framework. Read more

Obama optimistic on TPP, pushes for votes

Politico: President Barack Obama says he is “cautiously optimistic” that Congress can pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership this year and touted the benefits of increased trade yesterday to the home states of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, two of the biggest potential obstacles to getting the deal done this year. Read more

DG Azevêdo urges WTO members to deepen their dialogue to build on recent successes

WTO: In his report to the General Council on 24 February as chair of the Trade Negotiations Committee, Director-General Roberto Azevêdo urged WTO members to “deepen their dialogue with each other” about how to advance the work of the WTO and to build on the recent success of the Ministerial Conference in Nairobi. Read more

Trade Policy Review: Fiji

WTO: The third review of the trade policies and practices of Fiji takes place on 23 and 25 February 2016. The basis for the review is a report by the WTO Secretariat and a report by the Government of Fiji. These reports were concluded prior to the devastation caused by the cyclone that hit the country last weekend. Read more

Bonus

CDB: 2016 Annual News Conference VIDEO

CDB: The Caribbean Development Bank held its Annual News Conference. Overall growth (1%) remained sluggish as Caribbean economies experienced mixed fortunes last year amid a number of global challenges which resulted in continuing low commodity prices, falling oil revenues and an overall downturn in export trade. Watch VIDEO

Speech: Commissioner Cecilia Malmström in London “Britain, the EU and Global Trade”

European Commission: EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström gave a lecture at the Policy Network Symposium ‘Britain, the EU and global trade’. Read SPEECH

Recent Articles: Caribbean Trade Law & Development Blog

WTO Panel Rules in US’ Favour in Solar Dispute Against India

Zika: World Bank Releases Initial Short Term Projections of Economic Impact on LAC Region

Alicia Nicholls, B.Sc., M.Sc., LL.B. is a trade and development consultant with a keen interest in sustainable development, international law and trade. You can also read more of her commentaries and follow her on Twitter @LicyLaw.

WTO Panel rules in US’ Favour in Solar Dispute against India

Alicia Nicholls

A World Trade Organisation (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body panel has issued its report in the dispute  India — Certain Measures Relating to Solar Cells and Solar Modules in which the United States challenged the domestic content requirements imposed by India relating to solar cells and solar modules under the latter’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. The Panel found in favour of the US’ view, holding that India’s domestic content requirements were discriminatory and inconsistent with India’s obligations under Article III:4 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994 and Article 2:1 of the Agreement on Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIMs).

The dispute is  one in a growing body of WTO disputes in which one member’s government support programmes for the renewable energy sector (whether local or national) have been challenged by another member as being inconsistent with the former’s obligations under WTO rules. It is therefore not surprising that a long list of countries notified their interests as third parties to this dispute, namely: Brazil, Canada, China, Ecuador, the European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia,Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Chinese Taipei and Turkey.

Background

The Indian Government launched the National Solar Mission (NSM) in January 11, 2010 as one of the eight national missions under India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). The NSM has the aim to promote the use of solar energy in India, foster energy security and make India a global leader in solar energy. According to the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s website, the NSM’s ambition is “to deploy 20,000 MW of grid connected solar power by 2022” and to reduce the cost of solar power generation in India through four key aspects, including domestic production of critical raw materials, components and products.

At the heart of the dispute, the Indian Government required solar developers (or their successors to the contract) to purchase or use solar cells or solar modules of domestic origin in order to be eligible to enter into and maintain certain power purchase agreements under the NSM.

The US argued that these domestic content requirements mandated by the Indian Government under Phases I and II of the NSM were discriminatory and inconsistent with India’s WTO obligations. Specifically, the US challenged the measures’ consistency with Article III:4 of the GATT 1994 (National Treatment), arguing that they accord less favorable treatment to imported products than to like domestically produced goods.Additionally, the US argued that these domestic content requirements were trade-related investment measures which fell within paragraph 1(a) of the Illustrative List of the TRIMs Agreement’s annex and were therefore inconsistent with Article 2.1 of the TRIMs Agreement.

In its defense, India argued that its domestic content requirements at issue were not inconsistent with Article III:4 of the GATT 1994 or Article 2.1 of the TRIMS Agreement. India also sought to rely on the exceptions in  Article III:8(a), Articles XX(j) and/or XX(d) of GATT 1994 (General Exceptions).

The US requested consultations with India initially in February 2013 and then in relation to Phase II of the NSM in February 2014. A panel was established in May 2014 and the parties agreed to the panel’s composition in September of that same year.

Ruling

In its report circulated today, the Panel found in favour of the US’ view. It held that:

  • India’s domestic content requirements in question were trade-related investment measures for the purposes of the Illustrative List in the TRIMs Agreement’s Annex and were therefore inconsistent with Article 2.1 of the TRIMs Agreement.
  • The Panel also found that the domestic content requirements in question do accord “less favourable treatment” within the meaning of Article III:4 of the GATT 1994

In regards to India’s argument about the government procurement derogation under Article III:8(a) of the GATT 1994, the Panel referred to the Appellate Body’s interpretation of that article in the Canada — Renewable Energy / Feed-In Tariff Program dispute in which the EU had successfully challenged domestic content requirements imposed by the Ontario provincial government in relation to its Feed-In Tariff (FIT) programme. Relying on its interpretation in that dispute, the Panel held that discrimination relating to solar cells and modules under the domestic content measures is not covered by Article III:8(a) of the GATT 1994.

The Panel also argued that India failed to show that the domestic content requirements were justified under the general exceptions, Article XX(j) or Article XX(d) of the GATT 1994.

The big picture

What this dispute and others like it concerning domestic support for renewable energy programmes show is the increasing intersection and conflict between  trade and environmental policy, in particular, trade and climate change policy.It is an issue which is more than moot for small island developing States  like Barbados  (a Caribbean leader in solar energy which aims to become a “green economy”) in regards to how much policy space is available to policy makers to provide support for the advancement of the renewable energy sector in the country without running afoul of the country’s WTO obligations.

The relationship between trade and climate policy is one of the issues which was discussed at length in the E15 Initiative Report entitled “Analysis and Options for Strengthening the Global Trade and Investment System for Sustainable Development”, particularly in this think piece  considering “the costs and benefits  for adjusting WTO rules to provide additional policy space to mitigate climate change and promote renewable energy”.

As countries take more aggressive measures in order to meet their national emissions reduction targets in the spirit of the Paris Agreement’s goal to limit the global temperature increase to no more than 2 percent above pre-industrial levels (with the best endeavour goal of 1.5 percent), there is likely to be more conflict between WTO rules and climate change policies in years to come. WTO members will be forced to address ways in which the WTO rules can be flexed to more adequately accommodate members’ climate change mitigation policies, while at the same time ensuring that they are not used as a guise for protectionism.

For further information on the US-India Solar dispute, please see the  WTO’s case summary and the full Panel Report.

Alicia Nicholls, B.Sc., M.Sc., LL.B. is a trade and development consultant with a keen interest in sustainable development, international law and trade. You can also read more of her commentaries and follow her on Twitter @LicyLaw.

Zika: World Bank Releases Initial Short Term Projections of Economic Impact on LAC Region

Alicia Nicholls

The prominence given to the mosquito-borne Zika Virus epidemic by Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government at their 27th Intersessional Conference last week demonstrates that like its vector, the Aedes Aegypti Mosquito, the Zika Virus is turning out to be more than a mere pest for the Region. The outbreak is occurring at the height of a booming winter tourism season, bringing with it fears that the travel warnings and cancellations could spell disaster for tourist arrivals, with deleterious effects on our small open economies which are still struggling to recover in the wake of the global recession of 2008.

Attempting to quantify the magnitude of the threat, the World Bank last week released its initial estimates of the short-term economic impact of Zika on Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).  The main findings were as follows:

  • In aggregate the economic impact on the LAC Region in terms of foregone GDP is forecast to be pretty modest (a total of US$3.5 billion or 0.06% of GDP).
  • Fiscal revenues foregone in the LAC Region are forecasted to be a total of 420 million of 0.01% of GDP.

One of the assumptions made by the World Bank in its modelling was that “the erosion of revenues will be mostly driven by the effort to avoid infection of pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant planning to travel to the region with their families”.

However, the aggregate numbers only tell part of the story. The World Bank emphasized that for smaller tourism-dependent islands such as the Bahamas, Antigua & Barbuda and Barbados, the projected impacts are estimated to be “in excess of 1 percent of their GDP”.

So far tourism officials  in the Caribbean Region have indicated there has been no major impact on the Caribbean region’s main export, the tourism sector, just yet. But the Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s State of the Industry Media Conference held last week clearly reiterated that despite a mostly positive outlook for regional tourism growth in 2016, the Zika threat is one which the region’s official public sector tourism trade organisation is monitoring closely and the organisation has tempered its tourism growth forecasts for 2016 accordingly.

Besides the projected disproportionate impact on the Caribbean, the World Bank has cautioned that its estimates are based on the assumption that there will be a “swift, coordinated international response to the epidemic” and that its assumptions have the drawback of being made in a context where much is still unknown about the disease. For instance, despite anecdotal evidence, there is still no conclusive scientific link between Zika and Guillain-Barre Syndrome or its transmission through sexual intercourse. As noted above, the World Bank’s model assumes that the avoidance behaviour will be mostly driven by pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant and not those who fear sexual transmission of the disease. It has cautioned therefore that should science confirm sexual transmission, for instance, or should  there be a sharp increase in public perceptions about the Zika risks  “then the [human and economic] impacts could be much larger and will need to be re-assessed”.

What the World Bank has stressed is the need for acting with alacrity to control the spread of the disease through a “coordinated and swift response”.  To this effect, the World Bank group announced in a press release that it was making $150 million available to assist LAC countries’ efforts to combat the Zika virus, including the provision of technical assistance teams. The World Bank in its report noted that tourism-dependent countries in the Caribbean may “require additional support from the international community to stem the economic impact of the virus”.  It is encouraging, therefore, to see that in the press release previously mentioned, World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim is quoted as stating “[t]he World Bank stands ready to support the countries affected by this health crisis and to provide additional support if needed”.

This financial support will be a much needed intervention for some of measures to combat the spread of Zika which were discussed by CARICOM Heads of Government during the Intersessional Meeting in Belize last week. According to statements attributed to CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister, the Honourable Dean Barrow of Belize, the measures include continuous public education and implementation of measures at ports of entry, tourism facilities, factories, schools and other businesses. There is also to be a Mosquito Awareness Week. Trade policy has also been given  a role to play through the proposed reduction of import taxes on mosquito defense systems such as insecticides and mosquito nets, similar to what Antigua & Barbuda’s cabinet recently did.

The Zika epidemic has come at a very inopportune time for Caribbean economies and for regional tourism. Despite a record 7% growth in arrivals to the Caribbean in 2015 (according to CTO’s estimates), most regional economies are still plagued by high debt burdens, wide current account and fiscal deficits, limited GDP growth and competitiveness challenges.

Continued action at the national and regional levels among governments, regional and national public health and tourism institutions and civil society will be needed to ensure proper and well-coordinated response plans to reduce the spread of the disease and lessen its human and economic impact on the Region. Financing from international agencies and multilateral development banks like the World Bank will have an important role to play in providing not just financing but technical assistance for these efforts.

For the full World Bank report, please visit here:

Alicia Nicholls, B.Sc., M.Sc., LL.B. is a trade and development consultant with a keen interest in sustainable development, international law and trade. You can also read more of her commentaries and follow her on Twitter @LicyLaw.

Caribbean Weekly Trade & Development Digest – February 14-20, 2016

These are some of the major trade and development headlines and analysis across the Caribbean region and the world for the week of February 14-20, 2016 :

Regional

US-Cuba Resume Commercial Air Services

CNN: The United States has officially signed an agreement with Cuba to re-establish scheduled air services between the two countries. Starting Tuesday, U.S. carriers will have 15 days to submit applications to the Department of Transportation for routes they’d like to fly between the U.S. and Cuba in what’s sure to be a fierce bidding war. Read more

Caribbean Tourist arrivals grew faster than global tourism rate for 2nd consecutive year

Caribbean Tourism Organisation: 2015 marked the 2nd consecutive year that tourist arrivals to the Caribbean grew faster than the global growth rate of international trips and the first year in recent history that we have outpaced all major regions, since we started keeping records. Read more

Antigua Plans to Open an Embassy, Trade and Economic Office in the UAE

BIBA: The government has announced intention to establish an embassy, trade and economic office in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the capital of Abu Dhabi, which will be managed by Casroy James, Resident Ambassador designate, reports the Antigua Observer. Read more

US: Bahamas Goes Further Than WTO On Copyright Protection

Tribune 242: The US government says the Bahamas has gone further than what is required for full World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership in its efforts to protect intellectual properties. The US Trade Representative’s Office, in its year-end 2015 report on the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA), said this nation’s eight-strong package of intellectual property Bills exceeded international safeguards. Read more

CARICOM Heads of Government Host their 27th Intersessional Meeting

Caribbean Trade Law & Development: This week February 16-17th the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) converged in Placencia, Belize for their 27th Inter-sessional Meeting. The meeting was chaired by current CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister, the Honourable Dean Barrow of Belize. Read more

All options to be pursued for solution to banking sector threat – CARICOM Chair

Caricom Today: The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) will employ the full gamut of options available to it to confront the banking crisis that is threatening the Region Chair of the Community and Prime Minister of Belize, the Hon. Dean Barrow said. He underscored the necessity of collective action, sensitisation and mobilisation. Read more

GuySuCo threatens to halt crop if union proceeds with strikes

Starbroek: Citing its “poor financial health”, the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) has threatened to halt reaping of the first crop if the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) goes ahead with planned strike action. Read more

Low oil prices hit Trinidad; company to lay off workers

Jamaica Gleaner: The energy company, BP Trinidad and Tobago (bpTT) says it will be laying off workers as the company seeks to deal with the low prices on the global market. Read more

Belize’s cotton industry gets a boost

LoveFM: The Government of Japan has made a donation to the Project for the Improvement of the Sea Island Cotton Industry in Belize. The donation is a little over two hundred thousand dollars. The contribution was made under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security projects of the Government of Japan. Read more

Women’s Power Linked to Competitiveness

BGISMedia: Women’s empowerment and the importance of competitiveness to Barbados were major talking points recently, when executive director of the International Trade Centre, Arancha Gonzales, paid a courtesy call on Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, at her Culloden Road office. Read more

Civil Society Groups Meet in Barbados

Antigua Observer: Civil society representatives from across the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) countries will meet here on Tuesday to participate in the second preparatory meeting of the CARIFORUM Civil Society Consultative Committee.The Civil Society Consultative Committee is one of the institutional mechanisms established as part of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that was signed here between Europe and CARIFORUM in 2008. Read more

International

Rising Tide of Protectionism Imperils Global Trade

Financial Times: A rising tide of protectionism — led by emerging market nations — is undermining global trade and threatening to extend the economic slowdown, data suggest. Read more

OECD: Elusive global growth outlook requires urgent policy response

OECD: The world economy is likely to expand no faster in 2016 than in 2015, its slowest pace in five years. Trade and investment are weak. Sluggish demand is leading to low inflation and inadequate wage and employment growth. Read more

Fiji and New Zealand discuss trade issues

Fiji Times: FIJI may just change its mind and agree to the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus contrary to what has been publicly stated. Read more

Trudeau says he expects Canada-EU free deal to be signed this year

CTV News: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he expects the ambitious free trade deal between Canada and the European Union to be signed this year.When it is it ratified later, it will be an important milestone in relations between Canada and the 28-country European block. Read more

Pakistan, Korea intch towards free trade agreement

Pakistan Daily Times: Pakistan and South Korea are striving to launch a free trade agreement (FTA) following an ongoing feasibility study hoping to capitalise on each other’s geo-strategic leverage, Pakistan’s envoy to Korea said on Sunday. Read more

US, ASEAN members agree to boost trade ties

Business World: The United States and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have agreed to “further deepen ties and job-promoting trade and economic opportunities” among them, the Office of the United States Trade Representative said. Read more

WTO Secretariat Circulates Meeting Notice and List of Items for DSB Meeting

WTO: The WTO Secretariat has circulated a meeting notice and list of items proposed for the next meeting, on 26 February 2016, of the Dispute Settlement Body, which consists of all WTO members and oversees legal disputes among them. Read more

Argentina and Uruguay agree that integration and Mercosur are the priorities

Mercopress: Argentina and Uruguay foreign ministers agreed to hold twice a year meetings to address all issues in the bilateral agenda but with emphasis on integration and Mercosur which are ‘our main concerns’. Read more

EU referendum: Cameron sets June date for UK vote

BBC: The UK will vote on whether to remain in the EU on Thursday 23 June, Prime Minister David Cameron has said.The prime minister made his historic announcement in Downing Street after briefing the cabinet. Read more

The 1st Meeting of the Continental Free Trade Area Negotiating Forum (CFTA-NF) will be February 22nd-27th

African Union: The meeting will be preceded by a two-day capacity building and information sharing workshop (22-23 February 2016) where the AUC will introduce a capacity needs assessment and share findings and conclusions from a select number of studies that have been conducted on the establishment of the CFTA. Read more

Symposium pledges new partnerships to empower women and youth

Ghanaweb: The African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), have ended a symposium pledging to build new partnerships to empower women and youth. Read more

Bonus

ACP 1-1-on-1 Interview with SG H.E. Dr. Patrick Gomes

ACP: Secretary General of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States H.E Dr. Patrick I. Gomes covers key issues to be discussed at the inter-sessional meeting of the Conference of Caribbean Heads of Government on 16-17 February, including the future of the ACP partnership with the European Union. Read more

Recent Articles: Caribbean Trade Law & Development Blog

Fat Taxes: What Role for Fiscal Policy Interventions in Promoting Good Health in Barbados?

Barbados to allow for Incorporated Cell Companies

Caribbean Region Most Affected by Loss in Correspondent Banking Relationships

Alicia Nicholls, B.Sc., M.Sc., LL.B. is a trade and development consultant with a keen interest in sustainable development, international law and trade. You can also read more of her commentaries and follow her on Twitter @LicyLaw.

27th CARICOM Heads of Government Intersessional Meeting Concludes

Alicia Nicholls

This week February 16-17th the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) converged in Placencia, Belize for their 27th Inter-sessional Meeting. The meeting was chaired by current CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister, the Honourable Dean Barrow of Belize.

At the opening ceremony which was live streamed online, current CARICOM Chairman, the Honourable Dean Barrow and CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque and immediate Past Chairman, Prime Minister of Barbados, the Rt. Honourable Freundel Stuart, gave addresses.

Issues discussed

Security, correspondent banking, Zika and climate change were the major issues discussed by the Heads of Government over the two day meeting. The Heads of Government also discussed the Belize-Guatemala and Guyana-Venezuela border disputes, cricket governance, the future of ACP-EU relations, CARICOM-Dominican Republic relations and the application for Associate Membership of the Community by six territories.

Outcomes

According to the Communiqué released following the meeting, there were several outcomes. The following are excerpts from the communiqué:

  • Re-appointment of Secretary-General and two-term limit: Current Secretary-General of CARICOM Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, was re-appointed for his second term by the Heads of Government as Secretary General of the Community. The Heads agreed that the post of Secretary General would have a maximum of two terms.
  • Protocol to Incorporate CONSLE as an Organ of the Community: The Protocol Amending the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas to Incorporate the Council for National Security and Law Enforcement (CONSLE) as an Organ of the Community and the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) as an Institution of the Community was opened for signature. Trinidad & Tobago, St. Lucia and Guyana have signed the Protocol so far.
  • Appointment of a High-Level Group on Correspondent Banking: Heads of Government agreed to the appointment of a high-level advocacy group on Correspondent Banking, led by the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, with the responsibility to represent the interest of the Region in addressing the issue.
  • Climate Change: Heads of Government agreed to maintain the diplomatic demarche at international levels in support of the 1.5°C goal and that the Task Force on Sustainable Development should continue their work to facilitate the implementation of the Agreement.
  • Zika: The Heads of Government mandated CARPHA and the CARICOM Secretariat to report to the Council for Human and Social Development on Health on the implementation and effectiveness of the course of action agreed to tackling Zika. Heads of Government endorsed the proposal for a Caribbean Mosquito Awareness Week to be inaugurated in May 2016.
  • Associate Membership of CARICOM: Heads of Government received a report from a Technical Working Group (TWG) on issues related to Associate Membership in CARICOM. Noting the on-going reforms in the Community and the resource challenges that would be faced by the Secretariat with respect to any future enlargement of the Community, Heads of Government recognised the need for the articulation of an enlargement policy which should be submitted for their consideration at the July meeting of the Conference.
  • Relations with the Dominican Republic: Heads of Government agreed that the human rights situation of Dominicans of Haitian descent must form part of the Agenda of the CARIFORUM-EU policy or political dialogue.
  • ACP-EU Relations: Heads of Government received a presentation on the Future of the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP). His Excellency Ambassador Patrick Gomes, Secretary-General of the African Caribbean Pacific Group of States (ACP) also attended the meeting.
  • Cricket Governance: Heads of Government endorsed the recommendations of the Final Report of the Review Panel on the Governance of Cricket of October 2015 and affirmed that they must be implemented.
  • Border Disputes: Heads of Government reaffirmed their unequivocal support for the maintenance and preservation of Belize and Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

These issues will likely be further discussed at the 37th Regular Meeting of the Conference which will be held July 4-6th. It will be co-hosted by the CARICOM Secretariat and the Government of Guyana and will be chaired by Prime Minister of Dominica, the Honourable Roosevelt Skeritt, who will assume chairmanship of the Community in July.

The full communiqué of the 27th Heads of Government Interessional Meeting may be viewed here.

Alicia Nicholls, B.Sc., M.Sc., LL.B. is a trade and development consultant with a keen interest in sustainable development, international law and trade. You can also read more of her commentaries and follow her on Twitter @LicyLaw.

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