Caribbean Trade & Development Digest – September 23-29, 2018

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development Digest for the week of September 22-29, 2018! We are happy to bring you the trade and development headlines and analysis from across the Caribbean Region and the world from the past week.

THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS

World leaders gathered for the 73rd Session of the United Nations’ General Assembly this week where issues of trade and wider multilateralism featured prominently. Economic releases by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and World Trade Organisation (WTO), respectively, have warned of the risks posed by escalating trade tensions to global economic and trade growth. In its flagship Trade and Development Report 2018 released this week, UNCTAD highlighted that the current trade tensions were a symptom of excessive financialisation and imbalances in trade and economic power. This week, the US also blocked the reappointment of a fourth WTO Appellate Body judge, which will reduce that body’s roster of judges to three, the bare minimum needed to hear a dispute.

On the NAFTA front, the promised release of the renewal text agreed to by the US and Mexico has been delayed with hopes that the impasse between the US and Canada will be surmounted as the Sunday (today) deadline for agreement on the updated NAFTA looms.

REGIONAL

Tourism investments under the microscope

The Gleaner: Jamaica Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett has put a cork on new approvals of tour businesses, while his Tourism Working Group (TWG) examines the degree to which large hotel groups may be crowding out local destination management companies and tour operators from the market. Read more 

No significant return (on Carnival), says (Trinidad tourism minister)

Trinidad Express: More than $500 million was spent on promoting Carnival over the last ten years and Trinidad and Tobago failed to get a significant return in terms of its investment, says Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell. Read more 

Guyana to sign economic cooperation agreement with Barbados

Caribbean360:  President David Granger has announced that Guyana will soon sign a framework agreement for economic cooperation with Barbados. The announcement came 24 hours after a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago for energy cooperation. Read more 

Producers Seek CET Protection To Launch White Sugar Market

The Gleaner: The sugar sector in the Caribbean is protected from outside competition by a 40 per cent tariff on brown sugar imports, and producers want that protection extended to refined sugar as a predicate to developing a market internally. Read more 

Guyana should be pressing Trinidad & Tobago over artificial trade barriers -Ramkarran

Stabroek: With opportunities now opening up due to Guyana’s advantageous position in the emerging oil and gas sector, it should begin pressing Trinidad and Tobago to remove its artificial barriers to trade, says commentator Ralph Ramkarran. Read more 

T&T to continue restricting trade in honey produced in other CARICOM countries

CNC3: The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has vowed to continue restricting the trade in honey being produced by CARICOM countries to prevent the spread of diseases. Read more 

Caribbean region is the top destination for investors looking for second citizenship

Global Trade Magazine: The 2018 CBI Index—a special report published by the Financial Times’ Professional Wealth Management magazine—has revealed that Caribbean nations remain the top destinations in the world to apply for second citizenship. Read more 

Study: Post-Maria Contracts Go To Mainland, Not Puerto Rico

The Gleaner: A study published last Wednesday found that the bulk of federal funds slated for post-hurricane reconstruction efforts in Puerto Rico are going to mainland companies despite a federal provision that states that local companies should receive priority. Read more 

INTERNATIONAL

World trade’s top court close to breakdown as U.S. blocks another judge

Reuters: The supreme court of world trade is close to breakdown after the United States turned down a last-ditch petition to reappoint one of the four remaining judges at the World Trade Organization. Read more

WTO downgrades outlook for global trade as risks accumulate

WTO: Escalating trade tensions and tighter credit market conditions in important markets will slow trade growth for the rest of this year and in 2019, WTO economists expect. Read more

Trade Deals, Multilateralism in the Spotlight as UN General Assembly Gets Underway

ICTSD: Trade has been a high-profile topic both at this week’s UN General Assembly (UNGA), featuring during leaders’ speeches and at meetings in the margins, as officials lay out their visions on trade and multilateralism while also working to advance different negotiating processes at the political level.  Read more

Sustainable Financing, Climate Action Take Centre Stage During New York, Halifax Meetings

ICTSD: Boosting the political momentum for climate action has taken centre stage in multiple high-level meetings across North America this month, including at this week’s UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. Read more 

Members conclude first review of Nairobi Decision on export competition, seek details on US farm aid package

WTO: WTO Members approved by consensus the first triennial review of the 2015 Nairobi Decision on export competition during a meeting of the WTO’s agriculture committee on 25-26 September. Read more 

Panels established to rule on US safeguards, Canadian wine measures

WTO: At a meeting of the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) on 26 September, WTO members agreed to requests from Korea for the establishment of two panels to determine whether safeguards imposed by the United States on imports of solar cells and washers are compatible with WTO rules. Read more 

Canada unveils plan to strengthen WTO in face of U.S. protectionism

Bloomberg: The proposal, called “Strengthening and Modernizing the WTO,” seeks to forge an alliance of like-minded countries to “restore confidence in the multilateral trading system and discourage protectionist measures and countermeasures,” according to a copy of the eight-page document obtained by Bloomberg. Read more 

Commissioner Malmström visits Canada to take stock of progress with EU-Canada trade agreement

EU: On Wednesday 26 September, the Commissioner met with the Canadian Minister of International Trade Diversification, James Gordon Carr. Together, they attended the first EU-Canada Joint Committee, which is the highest body for the two partners to discuss issues of interest related to the agreement. Read more

Trade conflicts to dampen growth in Asia

Deutsche Welle: Rising debt, US interest rate hikes, but above all simmering trade conflicts will take their toll on Asia’s growth prospects next year, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has said in an update of its regional outlook. Read more 

NYTimes: President Trump signed a revised free trade agreement with South Korea on Monday in New York, cementing the first bilateral trade deal of his administration and suggesting the United States could soon win similar agreements with other trading partners. Read more 

EU, Japan and US met at Ministerial level

EU: The three met as a continuation of the trilateral talks launched last year, to address issues such as trade-distortive practices. Read more 

India-South Asia trade has potential to triple to $62 billion, says World Bank 

Economic Times: Deeper regional trade and connectivity has the potential to more than triple India’s trade with its South Asian neighbors, World Bank said in a report on Monday. Read more 

EU, China to meet on WTO reform in October

Reuters: European Union trade officials will travel to Beijing next month for talks with Chinese counterparts on ideas for reform of the World Trade Organization, EU ambassador to the WTO Marc Vanheukelen said on Wednesday. Read more

US, Japan agree to negotiate a free trade agreement

Washington Post: The United States and Japan announced Wednesday they will open negotiations on a bilateral trade agreement between the world’s first- and third-largest economies. Read more 

India sees opportunity in escalating US-China trade war

Livemint: India has spotted an opportunity to boost its exports with the second round of tariff hikes by the Donald Trump administration on $200 billion of Chinese imports putting the US at a disadvantage. Read more 

Courting Canada, U.S. and Mexico cancel plans to publish NAFTA texts: sources

Reuters: The United States and Mexico abruptly canceled plans to publish NAFTA texts on Friday, sources said, as signs of renewed efforts by Canada and Washington to settle differences raised hopes a breakthrough could be made to keep the deal trilateral. Read more 

Brexit costings 500M a week, study says

Politico: The British economy is 2.5 percent smaller today than if the U.K. had voted to remain in the European Union, according to the Center for European Reform, a think tank. Read more 

The closer we get to Brexit, the more polls show Britain wants to remain in Europe

Business Insider: The closer we get to the Brexit deadline in March 2019, the more British people tell pollsters they think their decision to leave the European Union was wrong. Read more 

Economists are severely underestimating the amount of trade between African countries

Quartz Africa: The share of internal trade in Africa remains low, as reflected by official statistics. This is despite numerous regional trade agreements that have led to tariffs removal within the trading blocs. At least in principle. Read more 

UNCTAD releases Trade and Development Report 2018

UNCTAD: The world economy is again under stress. The immediate pressures are building around escalating tariffs and volatile financial flows but behind these threats to global stability is a wider failure, since 2008, to address the inequities and imbalances of our hyperglobalized world. Read more 

African Development Bank Launches first Africa-to-Africa (A2A) Investment Report

AfDB: The report unearths the realities African companies face when investing in the continent, the emerging trends in A2A investment and the steps African policymakers can take to accelerate intra-African investment. Read more 

Africa: Kagame – CFTA Will Help the World Better Relate to Africa

All Africa: The African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) Agreement is a bold framework that stands to define the future of relations between the continent and the rest of the world, President Paul Kagame has said. Read more 

ECA emphasizes holistic approach to realize Africa’s ambitions in trade

Xinhua: The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on Wednesday called for greater all-rounded involvement in Africa’s trade policy processes, with due emphasis given to the success of Africa’s flagship trade agreements and policies. Read more 

Commonwealth countries back rules-based global trade

Commonwealth Secretariat: Commonwealth members in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreed that despite their rich diversity, including in levels of development, they are united in recognising the importance of the rules-based multilateral system as a common good. Read more

NEW ON CTLD BLOG

US-China Trade Tensions: What may these mean for the Caribbean?

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