Welcome to the final Caribbean Trade & Development Digest for 2018! We are happy to bring you the latest trade and development news and analysis for the week of December 9-16, 2018!
As this will be our last edition for 2018, we take this opportunity to thank you for your readership over the past year and to wish you and yours the very best for the season!
THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS
At COP24, nearly 200 countries have reached an agreement on the implementing guidelines – the ‘Rulebook’ – for the operationalization of the Paris Agreement (2015). This agreement came on Saturday night, a day after the two week UN Climate Talks were scheduled to end.
The Brexit saga continued. UK Prime Minister Theresa May postponed a scheduled vote on her draft Withdrawal Agreement with the EU in the face of fervent political opposition, survived a confidence vote and has been thus far unable to win additional concessions from the EU to placate MPs’ fears about the Withdrawal Agreement.
See my article with Dr. Jan Yves Remy, Deputy Director of the University of the West Indies’ Shridath Ramphal Centre, analysing what these latest Brexit political headwinds mean for CARIFORUM-UK trading relations!
Below are the other major trade and development headlines from across the Caribbean region and the world for last week:
Antigua-Barbuda calls on WTO to reform dispute settlement body
Caribbean News Now: Antigua and Barbuda has officially intervened in the ongoing discussions concerning the reform of the Dispute Settlement Understanding of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Read more
Barbados Ambassador to Geneva sounds warning
CBC (Barbados): Ambassador Blackman was addressing the WTO’s General Council Meeting. He told the body Barbados continues to believe in the WTO’s rules based trading system, but the country remains concerned about the impasse in the selection process for Appellate Body members. Read more
St Vincent becomes first OECS island to decriminalise marijuana
LoopT&T: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) has made history as the first OECS Member State to decriminalise marijuana for medical purposes and scientific research. Read more
CARICOM to review intra-regional transportation
LoopBarbados: Come next year, the Caribbean region will see a host of new measures, including improved intra-regional transportation. Read more
Antigua Asks For Delay In Further Free Movement, Says It Already Has Large Numbers Of CARICOM Nationals
Antigua News Room: The Government of Antigua and Barbuda says it has asked to be excluded, for now from implementing measures under Caricom which would see free movement of more classes of people. Read more
CARICOM Secretary General holds talks with Aruba on associate membership
TV6 (Trinidad): The Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Ambassador Irwin LaRocque on Wednesday met with Prime Minister of Aruba Hon Evelyn Wever-Croes on Associate Membership in the 15 member regional grouping – the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for the Dutch Territory. Read more
Regional Statement on the IPCC Special Report
CARICOM Today: CARICOM ministers with responsibility for addressing climate change released a statement on the IPCC’s Special Report. Read more
Belize accepts chairmanship of AOSIS
CARICOM: Belize’s acceptance of the chairmanship of AOSIS from the Maldives in January 2019. Belize will hold the chairmanship for two years to be followed by Antigua and Barbuda in 2021. Read more
UK and Switzerland agree to transition trade agreement after Brexit
UK Government: The UK Government and the Swiss Federal Council have approved the transition of a trade agreement, allowing businesses to continue trading freely after the UK leaves the European Union. Read more
Commission reports on trade negotiations with Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia
EU: As part of its commitment to transparency, the European Commission published today a report from the latest round of negotiations between the EU and Australia, as well as the EU’s six initial text proposals tabled during this round. Read more
U.S. Rejects the EU’s Trade Reform Proposal, Putting WTO at Risk
Bloomberg: The U.S. rejected the European Union’s proposal to reform the World Trade Organization, dealing a blow to international efforts to bolster the Geneva-based body, which has come under attack from President Donald Trump’s administration. Read more
EU-Japan trade agreement on track to enter into force in February 2019
EU: The European Commission welcomes today’s approval in the European Parliament of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and the EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement. Read more
China buys US soybeans for first time since trade war
BBC: China has bought US soybeans for the first time since the trade war between the two countries started in July. The country’s finance ministry also confirmed it would temporarily reduce tariffs on US car imports from 40% to 15%, beginning on 1 January. Read more
Shipping costs from China to the US have more than doubled as trade war sparks a ‘bonanza’
CNBC: The price of shipping a container from China to the United States has risen dramatically in the last year due to uncertainty surrounding trade tensions between Washington and Beijing. Read more
AEC pushes for an inclusive African Continental Free-Trade Agreement
African Review: A successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement cannot be achieved without the “people dimension,” ensuring that the integration process does not lead to widening inequalities or exclusion, the AEC Forum observed. Read more
Appellate Body issues report on revised US “dolphin-safe” tuna labelling measure
WTO: On 14 December the Appellate Body issued its report in the cases brought by Mexico and the United States in “United States — Measures Concerning the Importation, Marketing and Sale of Tuna and Tuna Products — Second Recourse to Article 21.5 of the DSU by Mexico” (DS381). Read more
India appeals panel ruling in dispute with Japan over safeguard duties on steel products
WTO: India filed an appeal on 14 December concerning the WTO panel report in the case brought by Japan in “India — Certain Measures on Imports of Iron and Steel Products” (DS518). The panel report was circulated to WTO members on 6 November. Read more
Appellate Body issues report regarding Brazil tax measures
WTO: On 13 December the Appellate Body issued its report in the cases by the European Union and Japan in “Brazil — Certain Measures Concerning Taxation and Charges” (DS472 and DS497). Read more
Trade Policy Review Body: Overview of developments in the international trading environment
WTO: Speech by WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo. Read more.
WTO-World Bank joint publication highlights need for policies to maximize trade gains for extreme poor
WTO: Trade has made a significant contribution to poverty reduction but further integration of developing countries into international markets and policies to share the gains from trade more widely will be essential for further reducing poverty and ensuring that no one is left behind, according to a joint publication by the World Bank Group and the World Trade Organization launched today (11 December). Read more
Report shows sharp rise in the coverage of trade-restrictive measures from WTO members
WTO: The Director-General’s annual overview on trade-related developments presented to members on 11 December at a meeting of the Trade Policy Review Body (TPRB) shows a significant increase in trade coverage of trade restrictive measures by WTO members from mid-October 2017 to mid-October 2018. Read more
EU parliament approves huge free trade deal with Japan
Japan Today: The European Parliament on Wednesday approved an accord with Japan that has been dubbed the world’s biggest trade deal, covering economies that represent a third of the world’s GDP. 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.