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

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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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