Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development Digest for the week of November 25-December 1, 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
This week, leaders of the EU-27 at their summit in Brussels approved the draft Brexit deal struck between the UK and EU. Ahead of the UK parliamentary vote later this month, Prime Minister Theresa May has been trying to sell the deal to UK parliamentarians and the UK public alike, including in a public letter to the nation.
G20 leaders met in Buenos Aires from November 30-December 2 for the group’s thirteenth summit and its first held in a South American country. Specifically, the leaders noted the following at paragraph 27 of their declaration:
International trade and investment are important engines of growth, productivity, innovation, job creation and development. We recognize the contribution that the multilateral trading system has made to that end. The system is currently falling short of its objectives and there is room for improvement. We therefore support the necessary reform of the WTO to improve its functioning. We will review progress at our next Summit.
On the sidelines of the G20 Summit, the leaders of the US, Mexico and Canada signed the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), meant to replace NAFTA. The deal now needs domestic ratification.
In regional news, The Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotia Bank), announced its withdrawal from nine Caribbean countries. Its operations are being sold to the Trinidad-based financial services group, Republic Financial Holdings. This move has raised concern in several of the affected countries.
Some sad news is that the Geneva-based International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) closed its doors this week. Through its publications, the ICTSD was a reliable source for free, timely, high quality and cutting-edge trade reporting and analysis relied on by trade and development academics, practitioners and policymakers alike. Their presence will indeed be missed.
Please see below some of the other major headlines:
T&T to host special CSME meeting in December
LoopTT: Trinidad and Tobago will host a Special Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) from December 3 to 4 which will focus on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). Read more
Takeover of Scotiabank likely to be raised in caucus at special CARICOM meeting
Stabroek: Republic Bank’s planned acquisition of Scotiabank’s operations in Guyana and eight Caribbean countries is not on the agenda of the upcoming special meeting of the Caribbean Community Heads of Government on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) but Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge expects that it will be raised in caucus. Read more
Republic Financial Holdings to acquire Scotiabank in nine Caribbean countries
Nation News: Republic Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL) announced today, that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Scotiabank’s banking operations in Guyana, St Maarten and the Eastern Caribbean territories, including Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines. Read more
St Lucia Times: Former government minister, Peter Josie, has warned of potential dire consequences from a decision by Scotiabank to exit nine Caribbean countries, including Saint Lucia. Read more
CARICOM Sugar Industries prepared to supply total regional demand
RJR News: The Sugar Association of the Caribbean has stated that for the 2017/18 crop, its members met 80 per cent of the brown sugar needs of Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Read more
T&T can lose CARICOM market for fuel
Trinidad Guardian: T&T faces the possibility of losing Caricom markets for the export of fuel as the price of fuel coming out of T&T is likely to increase. Read more
Cuba’s most valuable exports: its doctors
TRT World: Cuba over the last 50 years has honed in on its medical expertise to be able to punch above its weight in the international arena and garner soft power. Cuba has begun to withdraw more than 8,300 Cuban doctors from Brazil, potentially leaving millions of Brazilians, particularly its indigenous communities, without access to basic healthcare. Read more
CARICOM Leaders claim T&T has unfair advantage in manufacturing sector
Power 102 FM: Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley, says CARICOM leaders believe this country has an unfair advantage in the manufacturing sector because it benefits from lower electricity rates. Read more
CARICOM calls for seat on ICAO council
Stabroek: CARICOM is calling for a seat on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as a means of having its concerns properly represented. Read more
CARICOM highlights work against gender violence in the region
Prensa Latina: The Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), Irwin LaRocque, highlighted on Sunday the important work being done in the region against gender violence. Read more
CARICOM Secretary General describes new management system
CARICOM: A detailed update on the new Results-Based Management (RBM) System being pursued by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat was described by Deputy Secretary-General, Ambassador Dr. Manorma Soeknandan during a courtesy visit with Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris. Read more
US Government makes US$1 million computer equipment to CARICOM IMPACS
Bajan Reporter: U.S. Embassy Bridgetown, through its Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), participated in an official handover ceremony to commemorate the Government of the United States of America’s U.S. $1 million computer equipment donation to the CARICOM IMPACS/Joint Regional Communication Centre (JRCC). Read more
G20 agreement backs ‘rules-based’ order but bows to Trump on trade reforms
The Guardian: World leaders have signed off on an agreement which reaffirms a basic commitment by the world’s biggest economies to multilateral trade and a “rules-based international order”, but bows to US demands for urgent reform of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Read more
G20: US and China agree to suspend new trade tariffs
BBC: US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have agreed to halt new trade tariffs for 90 days to allow for talks, the US says. Read more
WTO reform: EU proposes way forward on the functioning of the Appellate Body
EU: The EU together with other members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) – Australia, Canada, China, Iceland, India, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore and Switzerland – unveiled a proposal for concrete changes to overcome the current deadlock in the WTO Appellate Body. The proposal will be presented at the meeting of the WTO General Council on 12 December. Read more
USTR Statement on China’s Auto Tariffs
USTR: U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer released a statement regarding China’s tariffs on U.S.-produced automobiles. Read more
Brexit: Trump says May’s Brexit plan could hurt UK-US trade deal
BBC: Donald Trump has suggested Theresa May’s Brexit agreement could threaten a US-UK trade deal. The US president told reporters the withdrawal agreement “sounds like a great deal for the EU” and meant the UK might not be able to trade with the US. Read more
Argentina, India agree to increase trade flows
Prensa Latina: Argentine President Mauricio Macri and India”s Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged on Saturday to increase trade flow on several fronts and delved into the possibility that Argentina exports lithium to India. Read more
EU leaders agree UK’s Brexit deal at Brussels summit
BBC: EU leaders have approved an agreement on the UK’s withdrawal and future relations – insisting it is the “best and only deal possible”. Read more
U.S., Mexico and Canada ink new trade agreement, but final ratification remains big hurdle
USA Today: President Donald Trump and the leaders of Mexico and Canada signed a revised trade pact Friday that changes many of the rules governing the free flow of commercial goods across North America. Read more
After signing new North American trade pact at G-20, Trump turns sights to China
Washington Post: President Trump suggested his Saturday showdown with Chinese President Xi Jinping could produce a cease-fire in the tariff war, capping a day that saw the American leader reach a milestone in his populist economic crusade by signing a regional trade deal with Mexico and Canada. Read more
Parties to government procurement pact approve UK’s terms of participation post-Brexit
WTO: At a meeting of the WTO’s Committee on Government Procurement on 27 November 2018, parties to the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) approved in principle the United Kingdom’s final market access offer to take part in the GPA, in its own right, following its departure from the European Union. Read more
New WTO publication analyses potential impact of Blockchain on international trade
WTO: Amid growing interest and debate on Blockchain, the WTO launched a new publication today (27 November) that seeks to demystify the technology and analyse its capacity to transform world trade. The publication entitled “Can Blockchain revolutionize international trade?” explores how the technology could enhance areas related to WTO work and examines challenges that will have to be tackled to unlock the technology’s potential. Read more
World Trade Outlook Indicator signals further loss of momentum in trade growth into Q4
WTO: Trade growth is likely to slow further into the fourth quarter of 2018 according to the WTO’s latest World Trade Outlook Indicator (WTOI) released on 26 November. The most recent WTO reading of 98.6 is the lowest since October 2016 and reflects declines in all component indices. It is below the previous value of 100.3 and falls under the baseline value of 100 for the index, signalling that trade growth in the coming months is expected to be below-trend. Read more
Unlocking Africa’s trade potential
Forbes Africa: The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has identified intra-African trade as a critical factor for unlocking Africa’s trade potential. Read more
Study: Trade supports over 36 million jobs across the EU
EU: Two new studies published today by the European Commission highlight the increasing importance of EU exports for job opportunities in Europe and beyond. Read more
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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