Caribbean Trade & Development Digest – February 19-25, 2017

Source: Pixabay

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade and Development Digest for the week of February 19-25,2017!  I am pleased to share some of the major trade and development headlines and analysis across the Caribbean region and the World. 

The biggest trade news this week has the entry into force of the World Trade Organisation’s Trade Facilitation Agreement which seeks to slash border red tape and costs and thereby facilitate the smooth flow of cross-border merchandise trade. This week also marks the first month since US President Donald Trump assumed office.

For past issues of our weekly Caribbean Trade & Development Digest, please visit here.

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REGIONAL NEWS

Belize Exports Rebound in 2017

Breaking Belize News: After several consecutive months of underperforming, Belize’s exports increased by 51.2 percent at the beginning of 2017. Read more 

CCJ blocks lawsuit against Dominica in Tommy Lee Sparta detention case

Jamaica Observer: The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has blocked an application by show promoter Cabral Douglas against the island of Dominica for refusing entry to Jamaican dancehall artiste Tommy Lee Sparta who was contracted to perform in the eastern Caribbean country. Read more

Local music industry important to sustainable development of T&T

T&T Newsday: The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) in collaboration with its state agency and subsidiary company, The Trinidad and Tobago Creative Industries Company Limited and the Trinidad and Tobago Music Company Limited hosted a workshop on February 17, at the National Academy of Performing Arts, Port-of-Spain on the “Business of Calypso”. Read more 

President Trump invites Trinidad PM to Washington

Caribbean360: Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley got a surprise calls from American President Donald Trump during which the leader of the twin-island republic was invited to Washington. Read more

Free trade zones in the DR, an engine for competitiveness and jobs: World Bank Report

Dominican Today: A new report presented today by the World Bank suggests a series of policies designed to strengthen free-trade zones in the Dominican Republic as a path toward sustainable and inclusive economic growth, and its effective use in order to attract foreign direct investment and generate better-qualified and better-paid jobs. Read more

Mississippi ports eye Cuba, sign agreements in Havana

Reuters: The Mississippi ports of Pascagoula and Gulfport signed agreements in Cuba on Monday with an eye to future business and with a Republican U.S. senator from the state looking on, despite concerns President Donald Trump might backtrack on improved relations. Read more 

CSME a Journey, not a Destination, says CARICOM

Jamaica Gleaner: A comprehensive review of the current status of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) was among matters before Caribbean Community heads of government at the just concluded 28th inter-sessional meeting in Guyana. Read more

OECS firms to showcase at Specialty Caribbean Expo

St Lucia Times: The OECS Commission, Saint Lucia’s Trade Export Promotion Agency (TEPA), and the Ministry of Commerce have collaborated to stage a high profile trade show, under the theme “A Unique Buying Experience.” Read more 

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

ACP wants continued strong relations with UK after Brexit

Jamaica Gleaner: Secretary General of the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Dr Patrick I Gomes says while the grouping is supportive of a strong Europe, it has no desire of neglecting its relationship with the United Kingdom following its decision to leave the EU. Read more 

Commonwealth trade negotiators being seconded to Britain to help train civil servants ahead of Brexit

Telegraph: Ministers are recruiting the “best” trade negotiators from across the Commonwealth to help train civil servants in securing trade deals ahead of Brexit. Read more 

WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement enters into force

WTO News: A major milestone for the global trading system was reached on 22 February 2017 when the first multilateral deal concluded in the 21 year history of the World Trade Organization entered into force. In receiving four more ratifications for the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), the WTO has obtained the two-thirds acceptance of the agreement from its 164 members needed to bring the TFA into force. Read more

EFTA/Mercosur talks confirmed to begin next June in Buenos Aires

Mercopress: The first round of formal trade negotiations between Mercosur and EFTA, European Free Trade Association, is scheduled to take place in Buenos Aires next June according to information from Brussels where there was a preliminary encounter between the two sides. Read more

Bangladesh aims to raise trade volume to $5 bln/year with Canada by 2022

Reuters: Bangladesh aims to raise its annual bilateral trade with Canada to $5.0 billion by 2022 from the current $2.0 billion, a senior government official said on Saturday. Read more

Indonesia and Australia agree to strengthened trade and defence ties

News.com.au: Indonesia and Australia have mended a rift to restore full defence ties following formal talks between Malcolm Turnbull and visiting Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Read more

Commission publishes negotiating proposals for EU-Indonesia trade deal

EU Commission: The European Commission has published nine initial European proposals for the trade agreement under negotiation with Indonesia, as well as the report from the second round of talks that took place in Indonesia between 24 and 27 January. Further EU proposals will be made available as the negotiations progress. Read more.

Commissioner Malmström and Japan’s Foreign Affairs Minister confirm commitment for an early conclusion of EU-Japan FTA negotiations

EU Commission: Meeting in Bonn, Commissioner Malmström and Minister Kishida exchanged views on domestic reforms that Japan is undertaking, and on their possible impact on the negotiating process calendar, as well as on the international situation and the perspectives for world trade. Read more

Latvia becomes 1st EU country to sign CETA

CBC: The journey toward full ratification of Canada’s trade deal with the European Union will be long and complicated, but an early step was taken Thursday as Latvia’s parliament voted in favour. Read more 

DG Azevêdo: Huge amount of work ahead to deliver outcomes at MC11

WTO News: At a meeting of all WTO members held on 23 February to discuss the organization’s work, Director-General Roberto Azevêdo reported on a range of consultations that have taken place so far in 2017, concluding that while engagement is strong in many areas “we still have a long way to go, and a huge amount of work ahead if we are to arrive at concrete outcomes” for the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference. Read more 

Appellate Body issues report regarding Russian import restrictions on pigs, pork from EU

WTO News: On 23 February 2017, the WTO Appellate Body issued its report in the case “Russian Federation – Measures on the Importation of Live Pigs, Pork and Other Pig Products from the European Union” (DS475). Read more

Brexit could help EU strike free trade deal with India, MEPs believe

TheGuardian: The EU believes it may stand a better chance of striking a free trade deal with India after the UK leaves the union, despite the importance Britain attaches to trade with its old colony. Read more 

Trump is off to a slow start on Trade Promises

Business monitor: President Donald J. Trump keeps firing verbal broadsides at Mexico and China, but so far his new administration has not acted to keep specific campaign promises about trade policy. Read more 

Enda calls for united Ireland clause in Brexit Deal

Financial Times: Enda Kenny, Ireland’s prime minister, is pressing Brussels to include measures in the eventual Brexit deal to allow “ease of access” into the EU for Northern Ireland in the event of Irish reunification under the Good Friday peace agreement. Read more 

BONUS

Securing ACP Economic Interests After BREXIT

Indepth News: See extensive excerpts as part of this report by Indepth News from a presentation by the ACP Secretary-General during launch of the book “After Brexit – Securing ACP Economic Interests” by The Ramphal Institute on February 17, 2017 at King’s College London. Read more here

NEW ON CTLD BLOG

WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement: Why is it important for Caribbean Small States?

WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement enters into force

De-Risking discussed at CARICOM 28th Inter-sessional Meeting

CARICOM 28th Inter-Sessional Meeting; Economic Development and International Relations centre-stage

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.

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