Monthly Archives: January 2017

Caribbean Trade & Development Digest – January 22nd-28th, 2017

Photo credit: Pixabay

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade and Development Digest for the week of January 22-28, 2017 where we share some of the major trade and development headlines from across the Caribbean and the world.

This week was another chaotic week in world news. Dominating this week’s headlines were the series of executive actions signed by President Donald Trump in his first full week in office. See my article about this. However, another major development was the meeting between President Trump and UK Prime Minister Theresa May whose government lost its Supreme Court Article 50 Brexit this week. Some good news is that only 2 more ratifications are needed for the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement to finally come into force.

Below we present the major headlines. For past issues of our weekly Caribbean Trade & Development Digest, please visit here.

To receive these mailings directly to your inbox, please follow our blog.

REGIONAL HEADLINES

Falklands wants trade ties with Barbados

Barbados Today: The Falkland Islands, the British Overseas Territory in South America, is on a mission to improve trading links with the Caribbean, with a special interest in Barbados. Read more

Why Trinidad, Guyana and Suriname should matter to India

Swarajya: As India seeks greater engagement on the international stage, one area where its efforts are producing limited results is Latin America. India has invested neither sufficient time nor resources in appreciating the potential that Latin America offers and its forays into the region have been hesitant and somewhat faltering. Read more 

Trump could be good for Jamaica

Loop Jamaica: President Trump and his incoming government could be good for Jamaica, according to Finance Minister Audley Shaw. Read more 

INTERNATIONAL HEADLINES

Nepal Ratifies the Trade Facilitation Agreement

WTO: Nepal has ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), making it the 108th WTO member to do so. Only two more ratifications from members are needed to bring the TFA into force. Read more 

Thailand Packs Faster Conclusion of RCEP Negotiations

SGGP:The US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is likely to help the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) wrap up faster than expected, said Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, adding that the Southeast Asian country supports faster conclusion of the regional deal, reported in Bangkok by VNS.  Read more 

TPP: Why the US Withdrawal Could be a Boon for China

Knowledge@Wharton: With the U.S. earlier this week pulling out from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), that trade agreement is all but dead. Read more 

France’s Holland: EU to talk trade with Pacific Alliance

VOA: French President Francois Hollande said on Monday that he would seek to bolster trade and investment with the Pacific Alliance trade bloc in joint negotiations with the European Union.Read more 

Peru, Colombia vow to stand with Mexico against Trump

NY Post: Peru and Colombia vowed to stand with Mexico as the country faces an uncertain economic future and grapples with a crisis with the United States just days into U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration. Read more 

Trump, Abe agree in Phone to meet in Washington next month

Bloomberg: President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to hold a summit in Washington on Feb. 10 and affirmed the importance of their alliance, Abe told reporters, after the U.S. strained ties by withdrawing from a Pacific trade pact. Read more 

Chile to exit TPP and seek new trade deals with Asia-Pacific Countries 

CCTV: Chile announced it will exit the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, but still seek to expand trade with the Asia-Pacific region, local newspaper El Mercurio reported on Tuesday. Read more 

Look to South America not US: Bolivia tells Mexico

Press TV:As Mexico-US ties sour over the new US administration’s controversial anti-immigration policies, Bolivia urges Mexico to turn to the South American countries rather than Washington, citing capitalism’s demise. Read more 

UK Supreme court rules Brexit requires vote by Parliament

Washington Post: Earlier today, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom ruled that the British government cannot initiate the “Brexit” process of leaving the European Union without first getting the approval of Parliament. Read more

Belarus Resumes WTO Membership Negotiations 

WTO: WTO members welcomed the resumption of WTO membership negotiations for Belarus when the Working Party on the country’s accession met on 24 January 2017 – 12 years after its last formal meeting. Read more

Panel established in dispute over Chinese agricultural subsidies 

WTO: The Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) on 25 January agreed to establish a panel to examine subsidies provided by China to domestic producers of wheat, Indica rice, Japonica rice and corn. Read more

WTO welcomes two new Appellate Body Members

WTO: Two new members of the Appellate Body, Ms Hong Zhao of China and Mr Hyun Chong Kim of Korea, were sworn in at a ceremony at WTO headquarters on 25 January 2017. Read more 

NEW ON CARIBBEAN TRADE LAW & DEVELOPMENT BLOG

A Week of Trumpism in ‘Action’

UK Government Loses Article 50 Brexit Appeal; Parliamentary Vote Needed

President Trump signs executive order pulling US out of TPP

WTO Ministers hold Informal Meeting on Davos Sidelines

Liked this issue? Read past issues of our weekly Caribbean Trade & Development Digest, please visit here.To receive these mailings directly to your inbox, please follow our blog.

A Week of Trumpism in ‘Action’

Alicia Nicholls

If President Trump’s cabinet picks were not enough to demonstrate that his campaign promises to shake up the status quo were not mere puffery, his first full week in the Oval Office provides glaring glimpses into Trumpism in ‘action’. During the past week, Mr. Trump has signed several executive actions aimed at effecting some of his most controversial campaign promises, including on trade, climate change and immigration. Many of these executive actions have implications not just for US domestic policy but the world.

Trumpism

The corpus of beliefs, of which Trumpism is comprised, remains embryonic and imprecise but at its core, Trumpism is undergirded by the nativist credos of “Make America Great Again” and “America First”. Trumpism is informed by President Trump’s core belief that America is losing its global economic and military hegemony, while at home the average American worker is being disadvantaged by the offshoring of manufacturing jobs due to “horrible trade deals”, “corruption in Washington” and the “uncontrolled” influx of migrants, particularly from Mexico. It also believes that immigration is a threat to US national security and public safety.

Trumpism, therefore, sees four main constraints on America’s greatness: badly negotiated trade deals, over-regulation, a high tax burden and porous borders. In light of this, Mr. Trump’s anti-establishment campaign platform was particularly anti-trade and anti-immigration. The President’s campaign promises reflected policy proposals which were targeted not just at the not insignificant segment of the US population which shared his beliefs, but were aimed at making America “win” again.

Withdrawal from TPP

Although President Trump’s Trade Team nominees foreshadowed the seriousness of his mercantilist predilections, in week 1, we further saw the trade component of Trumpism at work, namely a disavowal of large trade deals in favour of bilateral deals.

Mr. Trump signed a presidential memorandum instructing the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to “withdraw the United States as a signatory to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), to permanently withdraw the United States from TPP negotiations, and to begin pursuing, wherever possible, bilateral trade negotiations to promote American industry, protect American workers, and raise American wages.” It should be noted that the TPP had been signed but not been ratified by the US. Although TPP had been championed by former President Obama, US withdrawal from the TPP was also an issue on which there was rare bipartisan consensus.

In the memorandum the President confirmed that “it is the intention of my Administration to deal directly with individual countries on a one-on-one (or bilateral) basis in negotiating future trade deals”. On the basis of this, it is likely that the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which was under negotiation with the European Union (EU), may suffer a similar fate.

Executive Action on Immigration

Nativism is a central pillar of Trumpism and it is no surprise that immigration was one of the main issues he sought to cover with his executive actions this week. President Trump signed an executive order entitled “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements” to protect American national security and public safety.

Among other things, the Order provides for the construction of a border wall along the 1954 mile border between Mexico and the US, it ends the catch and release policy, provides for increased deportation of criminal immigrants, seeks to add an additional 5,000 border patrol agents and pulls funding from Sanctuary Cities. In regards to the latter, the mayors of several Sanctuary Cities have vowed to defy Trump’s immigration order.

In an ABC interview, the President reiterated that Mexico would be reimbursing the US for the proposed wall and that negotiations will be starting soon. Current Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and former Mexican president, Vicente Fox, have both forcefully denied that Mexico would be footing the bill for any such wall.

Mr. Pena Nieto cancelled a meeting with Mr. Trump which had been scheduled for this week to discuss, inter alia, the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). When challenged in the same interview on Mexico’s refusal to pay, Mr. Trump noted the US will be reimbursed even if in a “complicated” form. He has since proposed that it will be funded by a tax on Mexican imports, which any student of economics knows would not be a tax on Mexico but on American consumers!

Visa and Refugee Restrictions

Perhaps his most controversial executive action is the Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States Order which puts a temporary entry ban on all refugees, as well as on nationals, immigrants and refugees from the following countries: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. US Green card holders from these countries have also been affected. It also suspends the issuance of Visas and Other Immigration Benefits to nationals of those countries and also cancels the visa interview waiver.

While the President has subsequently claimed it is not a “Muslim” ban, it is quite interesting that all of the countries on the list have majority Muslim populations. It also echoes the statement on preventing Muslim immigration which he had made during the campaign where he had called “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”.

On Saturday, the detention of 12 refugees at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, some of whom had provided assistance to the US government, sparked protests at major airports across the US and outrage around the world. Hameed Darwesh and Haider Al shalwi filed an Emergency Motion for Stay of Removal on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated.

In the ruling on Darweesh v Trump, United States District Judge Ann Donnelly blocked (a) the removal of individuals with refugee applications approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as part of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, (b) holders of valid immigrant and non-immigrant visas, and (c) other individuals from the countries mentioned in the Ban which are legally authorized to enter the United States. However, it should be noted that it was not a ruling on the constitutionality of the Ban.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the 90-day visa moratorium also applies to people who originally come the countries identified but are traveling on a passport issued by any other country.

Iran has subsequently stated it will be taking ‘reciprocal’ action.

A new US UN

In a speech which raised eyebrows around the world, the US’ new United Nations Ambassador, Nikki Haley,threatened America’s allies that if they are not with America, America will be “taking a names”. Ambassador Haley, who is the former Governor of South Carolina, said there will be change in the way the US does business with the UN. She noted that US will show its strength and voice. The video of Ambassador Haley’s speech may be viewed on the New York Times’ online article.

The Ambassador noted that “our goal with the administration is to show value at the U.N., and the way we’ll show value is to show our strength, show our voice, have the backs of our allies and make sure our allies have our back as well.” Without doubt, there are ways in which the UN’s operations can be improved. However, what this seems to be is a return to US unilateralism as opposed to multilateralism.

Actions against the Environment

In keeping with his promise to cut regulations and increase drilling for fossil fuels, Mr. Trump has signed presidential memoranda streamlining, permitting and reducing regulatory burdens for domestic manufacturing and facilitating the construction of the two controversial pipelines (Keystone XL Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline). He also signed an executive order expediting environmental reviews and approvals for high priority infrastructure projects.

All references to climate change were immediately scrubbed from the Whitehouse.gov website upon his taking office. Perhaps more worryingly are the gag orders on various government agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which will now be headed by a climate change denier.  A report by the Guardian states that the Trump administration is now requiring studies or data from EPA scientists to undergo review by political appointees before they can be made public. US agencies are among some of the most important sources of climate-related data, which are critical in the fight against climate change.

President Trump’s denial of climate change science is not outside of the Republican party mainstream, but as a Sierra Club report stated before the election, he would be (and currently is), the only sitting world leader to deny that man-made climate change exists.

So what does this all mean?

It has only been a week and we are already seeing the chaotic effects of Trumpism in action. Naturally, many of these executive orders will need the cooperation of Congress and the relevant agencies in order to be implemented. For instance, Congress will need to approve funds for the construction of the US-Mexico border wall, which despite President Trump’s assertions, Mexico will never pay for. The Congress is Republican-controlled but many Republican congressmen/women are self-professed fiscal conservatives who may not be willing to make the US taxpayer, of which they are a part, to  foot the astronomical costs for such a wall.

Moreover, some of these actions may be challenged in court, as seen in the case of the Travel Ban. Of course, in light of the opposition to some of these moves it is possible that President Trump may moderate some of his stances. For the Caribbean, whose small island states have felt the ravages of climate change, the greatest worry will be his actions to reverse President Obama’s actions to curb the US’ emissions.

What is most concerning for the world is that Mr. Trump’s actions evince a return to an inward looking US, a country once regarded as the leader of the “free world”. It prioritises a foreign, immigration and trade policy which places unilateralism over multilateralism, protectionism over fair/free trade and xenophobia over diversity. I would submit that this unfortunate shift not only weakens America’s standing in the world, but promotes increased global uncertainty, instability and perhaps, greater conflict.

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.

UK Government Loses Article 50 Brexit Appeal; Parliamentary Vote Needed

Alicia Nicholls

In its ruling made shortly after 9:30 GMT this morning, the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court by a majority of 8 to 3 dismissed the Government’s appeal against a High Court decision that ruled that the Theresa May-led government must attain parliamentary consent before invoking the EU’s exit clause (Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union – Lisbon Treaty). A second issue which the court was called on to give its ruling upon was whether consultation with the devolved legislatures (e.g: Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) was required before Article 50 was triggered.

In a judgment written by the 8 justices in majority and delivered by Lord Neuberger (President of the Supreme Court), the Court held that section 2 of the European Communities Act of 1972 Act did not allow the Government to trigger Article 50 without parliamentary authority.

The main reasons for the Court’s decision were, inter alia, as follows:

  • Section 2 of the European Communities Act makes EU law another source of UK law which can override domestic law and will remain so unless and until Parliament decides otherwise.
  • Once the UK leaves the EU and as such is no longer party to the EU treaties, not only will UK domestic law have changed but the rights enjoyed by UK residents granted through EU law will be affected.
  • Under the UK constitution, parliamentary legislation is required for any fundamental changes to the UK’s constitutional arrangements. Withdrawal from the EU treaties would be such a fundamental change as it would cut off the source of EU law. The justices reiterated that there is “a vital difference between variations in UK law resulting from changes in EU law, and variations in UK law resulting from withdrawal from the EU Treaties”.
  • Parliamentary authority is needed because withdrawal from the EU would remove some existing domestic rights of UK citizens.
  • In regards to the June 23rd 2016 referendum, the Court held that “its legal significance is determined by what Parliament included in the statute authorising it, and that statute simply provided for the referendum to be held without specifying the consequences.”

On the second issue under consideration, the Court unanimously held that the Government is not compelled to consult the devolved Parliaments.

The Court’s ruling is final and it was a decision which was much more expected than the results of the June 23rd Brexit result which precipitated it. It should be emphasised that this ruling was on the legal question of whether the Government could make the Article 50 notification using its prerogative powers and not on the political question of whether Brexit should occur. It is also one of several legal challenges which have been filed since the Brexit vote decision.

In brief remarks following the ruling, the Attorney General, Jeremy Wright, said the Government will comply with the ruling. Even before the ruling, the Government had indicated that in case it lost the appeal, it would present a short Brexit bill to minimise the need for lengthy amendments and debate that would jeopardise Prime Minister May’s end of March timeline for making the Article 50 notification. Once the Article 50 notification is received, the UK and EU would have two years to negotiate a withdrawal agreement, with an extension only possible if agreed to. EU countries had indicated that they would not be engaging in any informal negotiations with the UK prior to the latter’s Article 50 notification.

In her long-awaited  speech last week in which she outlined her 12-point Brexit plan, Mrs. May confirmed that the UK would be pulling out of the single market (a move dubbed a “hard Brexit”) but also indicated that Parliament would be given the chance to vote on the final withdrawal deal negotiated with the EU.

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.

President Trump signs executive order pulling US out of TPP

Alicia Nicholls

With the stroke of a pen, newly inaugurated United States president, Donald J. Trump, today made good on one of his least controversial campaign promises; withdrawing his country from the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement via an executive order.

The Agreement, which was signed by the US and eleven other Pacific-rim participants in February 2016, was intended to be a high standard agreement and was significantly WTO-plus in its provisions. While hailed by big business for its ambitiousness, several aspects made the agreement significantly unpopular with civil society groups and increasingly some politicians which criticised the secrecy under which the negotiations took place, the implications of its intellectual property rights provisions for access to medicines, the choice of the longstanding investor-state dispute settlement mechanism for settlement of investor claims against states, inter alia.

Another criticism was that in absence of significant progress in the WTO Doha Round (which is now all but declared dead) it would set new standards and rules for 21st century global trade given that the parties account for 40% of the global economy and a third of global trade. It would turn the non members into standard-takers without having the chance to have been at the negotiating table. Mr Trump’s criticism of the agreement,however, was simply that it would kill American jobs.

Although President Barack Obama had championed the agreement and had pushed unsuccessfully for its ratification by congress, TPP was a rare point on which there was consensus by then candidates Republican, Donald Trump and Democrat, Hillary Clinton who both criticised its possible implications for US manufacturing and jobs. During the campaign, Mr. Trump had likened the agreement to rape of the country. Previously Mrs. Clinton had called it the “gold standard” but later said she was against the final outcome.

The move is a politically beneficial one for President Trump as it ticks off one of his most popular campaign promises and makes him look like a hero for American workers. It also gets him bipartisan support and will likely improve his approval ratings which have been the lowest for an incoming president.

Mr. Trump’s move also signals that he aims to stick to his “America first” trade policies. In upcoming days Mr. Trump also signalled his intention to start renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement with partners Canada and Mexico to secure a better deal for American workers. Among other proposals, Mr. Trump has restated his threat to impose a border tax on imports from US companies which outsource jobs overseas. The withdrawal of the US from the TPP also raises questions about the future of yet another mega regional trade agreement, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP) currently under negotiation between the US and the EU.

Mr. Trump will be meeting with UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday to discuss, inter alia, UK-US post-Brexit trade relations. Unlike his predecessor, President Trump has indicated that the UK will not be at the back of the queue for a free trade agreement with the US. However, in contrast to Mr. Trump’s neo-mercantilist views, Mrs. May has enthusiastically reiterated her support of free trade and free markets, indicating last week her intention for the UK to become a global leader of free trade.

President Trump has indicated he will seek to negotiate bilateral agreements with those individual TPP countries with which the US does not yet have an FTA. With regard to the future of TPP, the views of the other countries are mixed. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe previously indicated that TPP without the US was meaningless. Malaysia indicated it would go the bilateral route while Australia indicated it would try to salvage the agreement. A major geopolitical concern raised by foreign policy analysts about the US’ withdrawal is that it misses an opportunity for the US to increase its influence in the Asia-Pacific region, leaving an opening for China which was not a party to TPP. However, negotiations on RCEP, to which China is party and seen as a rival to TPP, have also been slow.

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 Ministers hold Informal Meeting on Davos Sidelines

Alicia Nicholls

On January 20, 2017 Ministers and other high-level officials from twenty-nine (29) World Trade Organisation (WTO) member countries held an informal gathering on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum’s 47th Annual Meeting which took place last week in the beautiful ski resort town of Davos, Switzerland.

The attending ministers hailed from Asia, Africa, the US, European Union and Latin America, but none from the Caribbean. The meeting was chaired by Switzerland’s Federal Councillor, Johann Schneider-Ammann and involved discussion of the on-going negotiations before the WTO and the upcoming 11th WTO Ministerial which will take place this December in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

According to notes taken by the Chair, Ministers stressed the key role of the rules-based multilateral trading system, the priority of working towards further integration into world trade of developing countries, the importance of trade as an engine for growth and development,inter alia. They also identified several issues for further work in the lead up to the Buenos Aires Ministerial, including domestic support in agriculture, fisheries subsidies, special and differential treatment and a permanent solution for public stockholding for food security issues. The Ministers also identified several “new” issues for discussion.

Trade has been high on the political agenda due in the main to a growing popular backlash in western countries. As noted by Director-General Azevedo, some positive news is that the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement will ever closer to coming into force, with only 3 more ratifications needed. Nigeria delivered its instrument of ratification during the Davos Meeting, while member state of the Caribbean Community, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, also recently ratified the Agreement.

In attendance was also the WTO Director General, Roberto Azevedo whose remarks  after the ministerial gathering may be viewed here. The Director-General noted that there was need for better domestic policies to support persons who had lost their jobs but also reinforced that attacking trade was not the answer. In reference to the increasing speculation of a looming trade war between Trump’s US and China, Mr. Azevedo cautioned that trade wars and protectionism would destroy jobs and urged “everyone to show caution and leadership. We must avoid talking ourselves into a crisis.”

Earlier this week, UK Prime Minister Mrs. Theresa May in her Davos Speech reiterated her desire for Britain to be a global leader in free trade and free markets.

The Personal Concluding Remarks by the Chair, Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, Switzerland can be found on the WTO’s website 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 Trade and Development Digest – January 15-21, 2017

Source: Pixabay

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade and Development Digest for the week of January 15-21, 2017 where we share some of the major trade and development headlines from across the Caribbean and the world.

And what a week it was! UK Prime Minister May has finally announced her Brexit plan and the UK Supreme Court announced it will deliver its ruling in the Article 50 Brexit Appeal this coming Tuesday. Globalisation took centre-stage at the Annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, while  top of mind was the inauguration of US President Donald Trump who was sworn in as the US’ 45th president, and that’s just the tip of iceberg!

Below we present the major headlines. For past issues of our weekly Caribbean Trade & Development Digest, please visit here.

To receive these mailings directly to your inbox, please follow our blog.

REGIONAL HEADLINES

CARICOM optimistic of Trump’s vision

Trinidad Guardian: Caribbean states are hoping America’s new Donald Trump administration – taking over from today – will continue trade and security arrangements as well as other structures which have traditionally been in force between Caricom and the US. Read more 

Dominican Republic applies definite AD on Chinese rebar 

Steel Orbis: Dominican Republic’s Commission for Trade Defense announced it has applied a definite anti-dumping ad valorem duty on Chinese rebar. Read more

Commerce nominee Ross; No position on Cuban embargo

Washington Examiner: Wilbur Ross, the banker-turned-investor and President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to head the Commerce Department, told a Senate hearing Wednesday that he has no position yet on handling trade with Cuba. Read more 

Call for CARICOM agency to vet CIP applications

Antigua Observer: The head of a well-known citizenship advisory firm is making a call for Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Programmes (CIPs) to vet applicants through Caricom’s Joint Regional Communications Centre (JRCC). Read more 

Airbnb and Curacao sign tourism agreement

Curacao chronicle: Today, Curaçao’s Minister of Economic Development, Eugene Rhuggenaath and the Minister of Finance, Kenneth Gijsbertha, on behalf of the government, signed an important agreement with Airbnb that will help to promote Curaçao as world-class tourist destination. Read more 

UWI Lecturer calls for better CARICOM trade under Trump

Trinidad Guardian: A UWI lecturer is calling on T&T and other Caricom member states to establish a united proposal to improve and further develop trade and other relations with the United States under US President-elect Donald Trump, who takes office on Friday. Read more

Trade and investment agreement signed between Curacao and the Dominican Republic

Caribbean news now: An agreement was signed last Tuesday in the office of the consul of the Dominican Republic in Curacao; between ADECK; the Association of Small and Medium size business in Curacao and the Dutch Chamber of Commerce in the Dominican Republic.Read more

Full, frank discussion needed on CSME says Barbados PM Stuart 

Caricom Today: Prime Minister Freundel Stuart believes the time has come to have “full and frank discussions” on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). Read more 

UN adviser for new consortium to bolster Haiti’s long term recovery 

Caricom Today: A senior United Nations adviser has called for a new “consortium” of donors to bolster Haiti’s long-term recovery. Read more

Jamaica confident about reviving pork exports to CARICOM 

Jamaica Gleaner: Jamaica’s meat companies are weighing a resumption of pork exports to Caribbean neighbours, but say it all depends on the reception from government agencies throughout the region and the harmonisation of standards. Read more 

INTERNATIONAL

Fiji Signs newest version of the MSG Free Trade Agreement

Fiji Sun: FIji Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has signed the Melanesian Spearhead Group Free Trade Agreement. Read more 

Donald Trump is sworn in as president

New York Times: Donald John Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, ushering in a new era that he vowed would shatter the established order and reverse a national decline that he called “this American carnage.” Read more

Ross prefers inking bilateral trade agreements

The Hill: Commerce Secretary-designate Wilbur Ross echoed Donald Trump’s call for bilateral trade deals instead of larger agreements where he says the United States tends to lose out. Read more 

WTO chief Warns against stumbling into trade wars

Irish Times: The world should be wary of stumbling into trade wars that would destroy jobs, World Trade Organisation director general Roberto Azevedo said on Friday. Read more

Chinese President Xi Jinping: No one can win a trade war

CNN Money: “Many of the problems troubling the world are not caused by economic globalization,” Xi said Tuesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “Whether you like it or not, the global economy is the big ocean you cannot escape from.” Read more

New Zealand and Sri Lanka to consider Free Trade Agreement

Reuters: New Zealand and Sri Lanka will open diplomatic posts in each other’s nations and are considering a free trade agreement, the Pacific country’s trade minister said on Friday. Read more 

Indian Cabinet approves Trade Agreement negotiations with Peru

Economic Times (India): The Indian Cabinet has approved holding negotiations for a trade agreement with Peru. Read more 

EU and US publish TTIP state of play assessment

EU: On 18 January Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom and United States Trade Representative Michael Froman published a joint assessment of the progress made in negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) since negotiations started in July 2013. Read more 

US Chamber of Commerce warns Trump on Trade

CNBC: Washington needs to trade with foreign markets if it wants to boost domestic growth, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce warned on Monday. Read more 

PM May Defines “Brexit means Brexit”

FRANHENDY: Today, in an address which lasted just over forty minutes, former ‘Remainer’, Prime Minister Theresa May,added some content and context to her well-worn maxim: brexit means brexit. Read more 

China’s Xi warns of Dangers of Trade War

VOA: Chinese President Xi Jinping warned governments of the dangers of a trade war while speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday. Read more 

Ottawa Weeks away from starting free-trade talks with China

The Globe & Mail: The Trudeau government is weeks away from an inaugural round of talks on a free-trade agreement with China as it presses ahead a central objective in its plan to deepen ties with the world’s second-largest economy. Read more 

Azevedo welcomes call in Davos for progress at the WTO; urges caution on protectionism

WTO News: Attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo welcomed the strong desire shown by ministers and the private sector for new negotiated outcomes to be delivered at the WTO’s Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires in December this year. Read more 

Nigeria ratifies the Trade Facilitation Agreement 

WTO News: Nigeria has ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), making it the 107th WTO member to do so. Only three more ratifications from members are needed to bring the TFA into force. Read more 

United States files WTO complaint against Canada over measures affecting the sale of wine in stores 

WTO News: On 18 January the United States notified the WTO Secretariat that it requested WTO dispute consultations with Canada regarding measures maintained by the Canadian province of British Columbia governing the sale of wine.Read more 

Free trade talks already under way with range of non-EU countries 

Sky News: Article 50 has yet to be signed but already Theresa May has laid out her negotiating lines and has said that informal talks are already taking place about Britain’s future trade relations with the rest of the world. Read more 

France’s Hollande criticises protectionism as “worst response”

Reuters: France’s President Francois Hollande on Saturday criticized protectionism and with his Chilean counterpart said that Europe would look to strengthen ties with Latin America, speaking a day after U.S. President Donald Trump took office. Read more

RCEP more relevant now more than ever

New Strait Times:When American President-elect Donald Trump called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement a “disaster” and vowed to pull out of it as soon as he took office, the international media almost instantaneously pronounced the TPP dead. Read more 

Malaysia’s move if TPPA falls through

The Star: Should the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agree­ment (TPPA) fall through, Malaysia may look into the possibility of pursuing bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) with TPP members, said International Trade and Indus­try Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed. Read more 

Djibouti-Ethiopia railway carries hope for Pan-African trade

Financial Times: Great article by FT discussing the prospects that the Djibouti Ethiopia railway will have for Pan-African trade. Read more 

Britain must relax immigration rules for Australians if it wants a free trade deal, says High Commissioner to UK

Independent: Australia will seek ‘greater access’ for its businesspeople before reaching a post-Brexit trade agreement with the UK, says Alexander Downer. Read more

Free trade agreement with India a “high priority” for Canada

The Star: Federal Liberal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi, fresh off a trade promotion trip to India, says a free-trade agreement with India “is high priority for our government.” Read more 

Wallonia parliament holds third hearing on EU-Vietnam free trade agreement

Vietnam Net: The parliament of Belgium’s Wallonia region held the third hearing on the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) on January 19.  Read more 

 

 

BONUS

Time to solve intra-Africa trade challenges

The New Times (Rwanda): In a CNBC televised debate in Davos, Switzerland, President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame has challenged African countries to solve intra-Africa trade challenges. Read the article here and WATCH VIDEO

NEW ON CARIBBEAN TRADE LAW & DEVELOPMENT

5 Main Points from PM May’s Davos Speech

TTIP: Joint US-EU State of Play Report Published

UK Supreme Court to deliver ruling in Article 50 Brexit Appeal next Tuesday

Why PM May’s “Hard Brexit” Choice is no surprise

President Obama Ends Three Special Parole Programs for Cuban Migrants

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