Caribbean Trade and Development Digest – September 16-22, 2018

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development Digest for the week of September 16-22, 2018! We are happy to bring the trade and development headlines and analysis from across the Caribbean Region and the world from the past week.

It has been a busy week in trade news. The European Commission has published a concept paper outlining its initial proposals for WTO reform. On the Brexit front, EU leaders have rejected aspects of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s ‘Chequers Plan’ – post-Brexit economic proposals. China has cancelled upcoming trade talks with the US, as Washington readies to impose another $200 billion dollars worth of tariffs on Chinese imports. And those are just some of the highlights! Please see below for more headlines:

REGIONAL

St Maarten as CARICOM Associate Member “still under consideration”

The Daily Herald: It has been more than half a decade since St. Maarten as well as Curaçao and Aruba have been approved for associate membership to the English-speaking countries dominated Caribbean Community Caricom, and that pending application is “still under consideration.” Read more 

Jamaica gets green light to export mangoes to US

Jamaica Observer: Jamaica has been granted permission to export mangoes to the United States, Agriculture Minister Audley Shaw said here on Monday. Read more 

Interview: Dominican Republic-China ties open “world of opportunities,” says economy chief of Dominican Republic

Xinhua: The newly established diplomatic ties between China and the Dominican Republic have opened a panoply of trade and investment opportunities for the two countries, according to the Economy, Planning and Development Minister of Dominican Republic Isidoro Santana. Read more 

Puerto Rico businesses interested in Trinidad and Tobago

LoopT&T: “These trade missions provide Trinidad and Tobago with opportunities to deepen relations and increase business,” said Trade and Industry Minister, Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon at the launch of Trade Mission from Puerto Rico hosted by the United States Embassy, Trinidad on Tuesday.  Read more 

Trinidad and Tobago to examine law prohibiting transshipment of honey from Guyana

Stabroek: Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) has made a commitment to examine the law prohibiting the transshipment of honey from Guyana into the twin-island republic, its Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat says.

The Bahamas reactivates WTO accession process

WTO: WTO members praised The Bahamas’ commitment to reactivate and accelerate its WTO accession process after six years of impasse. Read more 

Guyana seeking to finalise economic cooperation pact with Barbados

Stabroek: Guyana is moving to finalise a framework agreement for economic cooperation with Barbados as part of government’s attempts to pursue economic cooperation in the region to nurture prosperity and global competitiveness, President David Granger said yesterday. Read more 

BVI premier to lead first trade mission to Africa

Caribbean News Now: British Virgin Islands premier and minister of finance, Dr Orlando Smith, will be leading a two-week trade mission to Africa in November. Read more

China opens embassy in the Dominican Republic

Golden Times: China’s national anthem was heard in the Dominican Republic on Friday, as China opened its embassy in the country’s capital Santo Domingo. Read more 

China ready to enhance multilateral cooperation with Caribbean Community: Wang Yi

Xinhua: China is ready to enhance cooperation with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in multilateral areas in order to better safeguard the rights and interests of developing countries, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here Saturday. Read more

Barbados to host one-day CSME Meeting

Barbados Today: Guyana-based Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat says it is reviewing the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) administrative procedures to recommend ways of making them more simple and harmonised where possible. Read more

Suriname-Indonesia joint commission promotes agriculture, trade and capacity building

Caribbean News Now: The fifth Joint Council Commission between Indonesia and Suriname took place in Paramaribo on September 17-18 and the objective was to “recommit to strengthen cooperation that can translate into concrete results” between the two countries.  Read more 

Haiti’s trade deficit with DR amounts to $816 million US

HaitiLibre: The National Statistical Office (ONE) of the Dominican Republic has revealed that in 2017, trade between the two nations of the island reached 852.53 million US dollars. During this period, imports from Haiti amounted to $ 36.31 million, a positive trade surplus for DR of $ 816.22 million.  Read more 

WTO members review two regional trade agreements covering Africa, the Caribbean and the EU

WTO: WTO members reviewed Seychelles’ accession to the South African Development Community (SADC) trade protocol and the economic partnership agreement between the European Union and Cariforum states at the 18 September meeting of the Committee on Regional Trade Agreements. Members welcomed progress being made in the economic integration of the African region. Read more 

Barbados welcomes skilled CARICOM nationals

CaribbeanLife: While moving to tighten immigration security by introducing a state-of-the-art travel document, Barbados is opening its arms to Caribbean Community nationals who can help further develop the island. Read more 

Wang Yi: CARICOM and China share extensive interests

CGTN: Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has called for closer cooperation between China and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to further build a community of shared future between the two. Read more 

UWI a CARICOM integration leader

Barbados Today: In order to assert themselves in the forefront of CARICOM integration, University of the West Indies academics must make their messages clear and easily understandable for both regional decision-makers and ordinary Caribbean citizens. Read more 

INTERNATIONAL

Theresa May sticks by Chequers plan for Brexit despite EU warning it ‘will not work’

Sky News: Theresa May is defiantly sticking by her Chequers strategy for Brexit, despite the EU insisting a key element of her plan “will not work” and issuing a four-week deadline to agree a deal. Read more

‘Majority of Cabinet’ now supports move towards Canada-style Brexit deal

The Telegraph: A majority of the Cabinet now supports moving towards a Canada-style trade deal with the EU following the outright rejection of PM Theresa May’s Chequers Plan. Read more 

US-China trade talks stall amid tariff standoff

CNN: Negotiations between the United States and China have stalled after President Donald Trump ordered new tariffs on Chinese goods. Read more 

European Commission presents comprehensive approach for the modernisation of the World Trade Organisation

EU: The EU’s approach to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) reform outlined in a document published today will be presented to EU partners in Geneva on 20 September during a meeting on that subject convened by Canada. Read more

Mauritania signs the Regional Economic Partnership agreement between West Africa and the EU

European Commission: Mauritania today became the 15th West African country to have signed the region-to-region Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union, an agreement negotiated with 16 countries of the region. Read more 

EU-India “fully committed” to move forward on free trade pact: Official 

Economic Times: The European Union and India are “fully committed” to moving forward on the proposed free trade agreement and discussions are on between the two sides on the much-delayed pact, according to an EU official. Read more 

USTR Finalizes Tariffs on $200 Billion of Chinese Imports in Response to China’s Unfair Trade Practices

USTR: As part of the United States’ continuing response to China’s theft of American intellectual property and forced transfer of American technology, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today released a list of approximately $200 billion worth of Chinese imports that will be subject to additional tariffs. Read more 

One year on, EU-Canada trade agreement delivers positive results

European Commission: Friday 21 September will mark the first anniversary of the provisional entry into force of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada. Early signs show that the agreement is already starting to deliver for EU exporters. Read more 

 

China-Singapore trade agreement upgrade to be concluded by year-end

Channel News Asia: Singapore and China will conclude a substantive upgrade of their free trade agreement, which first came into effect in 2009, by the end of this year, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Thursday (Sep 20). Read more 

South Korean Finance Minister Optimistic About Revised U.S. Trade Deal

Wall Street Journal: South Korean Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon expressed optimism about signing a revised U.S. free-trade pact into law, though lawmakers in Seoul have threatened to block the deal if Washington imposes new tariffs on Korean autos and auto parts. Read more 

Japan mulls bilateral trade deal with US: Nikkei

Reuters: Japan is mulling a bilateral trade agreement with the United States that would lower tariffs on U.S. agriculture imports in exchange for avoiding higher tariffs on Japanese autos, the Nikkei newspaper said on Saturday. Read more 

US very very close to Mexico-US only deal: White House

Global News: The United States is getting “very, very close” to having to move forward on its trade deal with Mexico without Canada, White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said on Friday. Read more 

Mexico will seek deal with Canada if NAFTA talks fail: Lopez Obrador

Reuters: Mexico’s incoming government will pursue a bilateral deal with Canada if talks to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement falter, Mexican president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday. Read more 

Mercosur Holds First Negotiating Round for Korea Trade Deal, Looks to EU Next Steps

ICTSD: Officials from the South American customs bloc Mercosur held negotiating meetings last week with South Korea and the European Union, respectively, as the coalition looks to cement trade ties with new partners. Read more 

Global Trade is thriving (for some)

Bloomberg: The West has turned hostile to open markets, but trade isn’t in retreat everywhere. In other parts of the world, it’s flourishing. Read more 

The Global Trade System could break down

Project Syndicate:  Ten years after the failure of Lehman Brothers, we know that multilateral action was crucial in preventing the so-called Great Recession from becoming even worse than it was. Back then, it was the global financial system that was tottering. Today, it is the global trade system that is in jeopardy. Read more 

NEW ON CTLD BLOG

This week, we were honoured to have our frequent guest author, Javier Spencer, return to give a critical analysis of what the Trump administration may mean for the WTO in this piece: Trump ‘trumps’ the WTO. You can also follow Javier on Twitter at @jav_d_spencer

The following other articles were posted:

EU makes initial proposals for WTO modernization

Urgent WTO reform needed, says G20 Trade and Investment ministers

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