Caribbean Trade & Development Digest – October 28 – November 3, 2018

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development Digest for the week of October 28-November 3, 2018! We are happy to bring you the major trade and development headlines and analysis from across the Caribbean Region and the world from the past week.

THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS

Caribbean trade officials and experts met in Guyana this week to discuss emerging trade issues, while Barbados hosted Africa, Caribbean, Pacific (ACP) private sector consultations.  On the Brexit front, business leaders in the UK are calling for a new EU referendum. The EU is reportedly revising its WTO reform proposals released in September in order to gain US support.

Please have a read of the week’s other headlines below:

REGIONAL

What’s at stake as EU, Africa, Caribbean, Pacific, negotiate new accord

Devex: After years of preparation and posturing, negotiations on the new relationship between the European Union and 79 African, Caribbean, and Pacific states are finally underway. Read more 

OECD support on economic citizenship programmes unreasonable, says OECS

Caribbean News Now: The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Authority, the highest decision-making body of the nine-member sub-regional bloc, has responded to the recent Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report that listed five of its members for tax evasion concerns with regard their citizenship by investment (CBI) programmes. Read more 

OECS to establish a diplomatic presence in Africa

Searchlight: Eastern Caribbean States will soon have a strong diplomatic presence on the world’s second largest continent, Africa. This decision was made on Tuesday, during the 66th meeting of the OECS Authority, which took place in St Vincent and the Grenadines at Beachcombers Hotel. Read more 

OECS to hold Blue Economy Seminars in Member States

St Lucia Online: Transitioning to a Blue Economy is critical to ensuring continued economic growth in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), given that the marine space of small island states is significantly larger than their land mass and clearly a substantial asset. Read more 

TCI needs UK letter of approval to start APIS with CARICOM

Magnetic Media: The United Kingdom has to give the Turks and Caicos permission to continue on its path to having APIS or the Advanced Passenger Information System with its country partners in CARICOM. Read more 

Caribbean countries discuss global trade challenges

Commonwealth: Caribbean countries of the Commonwealth met in Georgetown, Guyana this week to deliberate on how to respond to major shifts in the global trade landscape. Read more 

Guyana trade mission jets into Aberdeen

Energy Voice: A trade mission from Guyana will visit Aberdeen later this month to foster business links with north-east oil and gas companies. Read more 

Guyana/China MOU signals “unfettered” partnership in every possible area

Kaieteur News: Finally, the APNU+AFC Government has released the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, signed with China to facilitate the infamous Belt and Road Initiative. The MOU was signed on July 27, last. Read more 

CARICOM countries join call for US to lift embargo against Cuba

RJR: Two days after the House of Representatives in Jamaica approved a resolution calling for the lifting of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba by the US, other CARICOM countries have taken a similar stance. Read more 

INTERNATIONAL

Vietnam is winning the US-China trade war

Foreign Policy: The facts on the ground are clear; Vietnam, once dependent on garments and other cheap exports, has begun to rival China’s tech sector. And with Asian businesspeople increasingly resigned to a protracted trade war between Washington and Beijing, firms are more eager than ever to escape tariffs by relocating to China’s smaller southern neighbor. Read more

Pacific-Rim trade deal to kick in December

CBC (Canada): U.S. President Donald Trump tried to kill it, but the Trans-Pacific Partnership wouldn’t stay dead. Less than two years after the U.S. withdrew from the landmark Pacific Rim trade deal it once saw as key to an Asian trade strategy, six of the remaining countries have ratified it. Read more 

Future economy minister says Mercosur is not a priority for Bolsonaro

Mercopress: Mercosur is not a priority, and Argentina is not a priority for the new government of Brazil, the priority is to trade with all the world. The strong statement came from Paulo Guedes, signaled as the next Finance minister of president elect Jair Bolsonaro’s cabinet and a crucial player in that team since the newly elected leader has admitted a limited knowledge of economics. Read more 

US attacks UK plan for digital services tax on tech giants 

BBC: The US has hit back against a UK plan to impose a new tax on sales by technology giants. Read more

US, China ‘not on the cusp of’ trade deal: White House advisor

Reuters: The United States and China are not close to a deal to resolve their trade differences, the White House’s top economic adviser said on Friday, adding that he was less optimistic than previously that such an agreement would come together. Read more

USTR to hold hearing in December over trade talks with Japan

Japan Times: The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative will hold a hearing on Dec. 10 regarding bilateral trade negotiations with Japan that Washington plans to launch in mid-January, according to the Federal Register. Read more

Trump vows close ties with Brazil’s Bolsonaro on trade, military

Reuters: The United States will work closely with Brazil on trade and military issues following Jair Bolsonaro’s presidential election victory, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday. Read more 

Alibaba launched Africa’s first electronic trade platform

Africa News: Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba on Wednesday launched Africa’s first Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) at a special ceremony in Kigali, Rwanda. Read more 

Critics of EU-Mercosur deal name conditions for support

Swissinfo.ch: A coalition of Swiss farming organisations, consumers and NGOs says it is in favour of a free trade agreement between Switzerland and the four Mercosur countries: Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. But it is demanding binding criteria concerning sustainability.  Read more 

Continental free trade agreement bodes well for future of trade policy across Africa

Business Day: On March 21 2018, 44 African countries signed the African Union’s continental free trade agreement (Acfta). The AU aims to use the agreement as a conduit for the creation of a single market and customs union on the continent, akin to the trade blocs established by the EU. Read more 

EU-Africa trade will only blossom when all are treated as equals

The East African: China’s use of trade and investment links to expand its influence in Africa is fuelling growing concern in some European capitals. But, instead of complaining about China’s activities, the European Union should be deepening its own engagement with the continent. Read more 

Nigeria is set to host Africa Trade Forum 2018

African Review: The Africa Trade Forum 2018, set to take place on 2-3 November 2018 in Lagos, will discuss the process for realising the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Read more 

Dairy farmers ‘very disappointed’ with USMCA

South Western Ontario:  Very disappointing was how Dairy Farmers of Ontario spokesperson Ralph Dietrich described the pending United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. Read more 

Commonwealth concerned at technological gap in trade

St. Lucia Online: A senior official of the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat says efforts are being made to bridge the technological gap in trade. Read more

RP-US bilateral trade agreement

Manila Standard: As the Philippines is about to renew its bilateral trade agreement with the US, President Duterte has expressed concern that concluding a free trade agreement with the US might jeopardize our bilateral relations with China and with the Asean where we currently enjoy robust trade relations. Read more 

India, China to undertake joint research on WTO reforms

Economic Times: India and China Thursday agreed to undertake joint research in the areas of WTO reforms, urbanisation and frontier technologies with a view to enhancing economic cooperation between the countries, an official statement said. Read more

Report: EU trade agreements deliver on growth and jobs, support sustainable development

EU: According to the second annual report about the implementation of trade agreements issued today, these agreements – covering nearly 70 markets all over the world – are proving effective in removing barriers to trade and promoting high standards of labour and environment protection. Read more 

Brexit: Relations ‘fraying’ between Britain and Ireland

BBC: The Irish prime minister says Brexit is fraying relations between Ireland and Britain. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said it had also “undermined” the Good Friday Agreement (GFA). Read more 

Brexit: Business leaders call for new EU referendum

BBC: More than 70 business leaders have signed a letter to the Sunday Times calling for a public vote on the UK’s Brexit deal. Read more 

Minister Pato signs ACP administrative cooperative agreement

ACP Secretariat: Papua New Guinea has taken steps to strengthen and deepen its Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU and other ACP states that have similar trading arrangements. Read more 

EU Revises Plan to Fix WTO in Bid to Get U.S. on Board

Bloomberg: The European Union is revamping its plan to reform the World Trade Organization in an effort to win support from the U.S., according to two people briefed on the process. Read more 

Women-supporting trade policies need better data, experts say

UNCTAD: The idea that governments around the world must support women as traders, workers and entrepreneurs to drive international commerce has been recognized in several multilateral agendas in recent years, but experts say that a data gap needs to be filled before the most effective policies can be designed. Read more 

WTO members discuss implementation of the Information Technology Agreement

WTO: Implementation issues concerning India and China were flagged once more at the Committee meeting. WTO members raised concerns about the import duties that India has introduced on mobile phones and their parts, which members consider to be covered by the ITA. Read more

Panels established to examine Pakistani duties on film, Korean duties on steel

WTO: At a meeting of the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) on 29 October, WTO members agreed to a request from the United Arab Emirates for the establishment of a panel to examine anti-dumping duties imposed by Pakistan on biaxially oriented polypropylene from the UAE as well as a request from Japan for a panel to examine anti-dumping duties imposed on stainless steel bar from Japan. Read more

White House officials are pushing back on the idea that a trade deal with China is imminent

CNBC: For a brief moment Friday, there was optimism in the market that the Trump administration was getting closer to a trade deal with China. But administration officials are telling CNBC that there is no indication of an imminent agreement. Read more 

RCEP nations unlikely to reach agreement this year

Japan Times: The 16 mostly Asian countries negotiating what will be the world’s largest free trade area might not be able to achieve their target of a substantive deal by the year’s end, an official source familiar with the talks has said. Read more

Philippines, Japan eye inclusion of e-commerce

Business Inquirer: Japan might include e-commerce under its free trade deal with the Philippines as both sides review the merits of the nearly decade-old agreement. Read more

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The Caribbean Trade & Development Digest is a weekly trade news digest published by the Caribbean Trade Law & Development Blog. Liked this issue? To read past issues, please visit here. To receive these mailings directly to your inbox, please follow our blog.

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