Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development Digest for the week of March 3-9, 2019! 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.

REGIONAL

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines increases export of livestock in 2019

OECS: SVG is known internationally for it’s beautiful chain of islands, but is also taking the Caricom region by storm, as the island witnesses significant increases in fish and livestock exports. Read more 

Renewed Calls To Do More To Protect Conch

Tribune242: There are renewed calls for conch protection measures from environmentalists, including banning the exportation of conch meat and ramping up efforts to tackle the “scourge” of poaching. Read more 

US to allow lawsuits against Cuban firms, foreign businesses excluded for now

CNN: US citizens and companies with claims to Cuban property will soon be allowed to sue Cuban entities, according to a senior State Department official. But foreign businesses operating on the island will be excluded from any lawsuits under the decision to partially suspend Title III of the Libertad Act. Read more

Guadeloupe to accede to associate membership of OECS at Opening Ceremony for Special Meeting of OECS Authority on March 14, 2019

OECS: The OECS Authority is scheduled to meet in special session in Guadeloupe on 14-15 March 2019 at which time Guadeloupe will be admitted as an associate member of the Organisation. Read more 

National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce among entities pushing for passage of North American trade agreement.

Caribbean Business: The Pass USMCA Coalition, an alliance advocating for the passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, welcomed the National Association of Manufacturers, Domino’s Pizza, Dow, and the National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce as its newest members. Read more 

Export development workshop held today in Corozal

Breaking Belize News: The Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Commerce announced that as part of a major deliverable under this consultancy, it is hosting a Validation Workshop of a “Draft Regional Economic Development Master Plan for Corozal” that looks at two main components under the consultancy: I. Free Zone review and repurposing and II. The preparation of an Economic Development Master Plan for the Corozal Region. Read more 

Barbados dismisses claims that island could suffer as a result of CSME requirement

TV6: Barbados has dismissed as “propaganda”, claims that the island could suffer a social fallout as a result of the implementation of the Protocol of Contingent Rights that allows for spouses, young children and dependent parents of skilled Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nationals to reside here. Read more 

All CSME Member States Sign on to Contingent Rights Protocol

Caribbean360: Member States that are participating in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) have all signed on to the Protocol on Contingent Rights and most of them are prepared to immediately begin provisional application of the Protocol. Read more

Caricom grants deferral to two member countries on freedom of movement

Jamaica Observer: Two Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries have been granted a five-year deferral on the freedom of movement of Caribbean nationals under the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) that allows for the free movement of goods, skills, labour and services across the 15-member grouping, Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has said. Read more 

PROCOMER Will Promote Export Competencies in Businessmen of the Caribbean Region

Costa Rica News: With the objective of developing export capacities for entrepreneurs in the agricultural, food, and logistics services sectors, the Office of the Costa Rican Foreign Trade Promotor (PROCOMER) in the Huetar Caribe region prepares the 5th edition of the Caribbean Business Meeting. It will take place on March 20th and 21st, 2019, starting at 8:00 am, at the EARTH University of Guácimo. Read more 

Oil import bill on the increase 

Barbados Advocate: AFTER declines in recent years, Barbados’ oil import bill is back up in the air.This increasingly high bill of more than $700 million last year was one of the challenges which continued to confront the Barbados economy in 2018. Read more 

INTERNATIONAL

The Kiwi leading the fight to fix the WTO

Newsroom: With a critical component of the international trading system at risk of collapse, a New Zealander has been tasked with helping to avert crisis. Sam Sachdeva speaks to David Walker about the task ahead of him. Read more

Malaysia says EU palm oil curbs lack scientific proof, breach WTO rules

Reuters: A European Union proposal to limit the use of palm oil lacks comprehensive scientific evidence and breaches global trade rules, Malaysia’s marketing agency for the edible oil said on Friday. Read more 

Kenya negotiating AGOA extension despite low exports

The Star: The government is negotiating for a post Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) initiative to grow exports to US. AGOA was enacted in May 2000 and now has seven years to 2025 after its renewal, under which the country is to export duty-free products. Read more 

Americans will need a visa to visit 22 countries in Europe starting in 2021

Insider: In two years, Americans will need to apply for something called ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) in order to enter the continent. The European Commission says the new visas will be enforced as an effort to upgrade international security, effective January 1, 2021. Read more 

Liam Fox: I fear Brexit may never happen

BBC: A cabinet Brexiteer has voiced fears that Remain supporters in parliament will seek to overturn the referendum result over the next week. Liam Fox told BBC Newsnight that a large number of MPs want to keep the UK “locked in the EU”, adding there needs to be an end to the “self-induced pessimism” which is denying the opportunities offered by Brexit. Read more 

UK and South Africa to co-lead initiative on digital trade, aiming to boost Commonwealth trade to $2tn

UK Government: The Commonwealth initiative will seek to increase prosperity in least developed and developing countries through digital trade. Read more 

Malmström calls for renewed transatlantic cooperation on trade

EU: EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström appealed to the US not to stray from the international trade order and instead work with Europe to face the challenges of the modern global economy, including China. Updating the World Trade Organisation (WTO) should be at the heart of this rejuvenated reform effort, she argued. Read more 

Trade agreement between the EU and the Republic of Korea shown to have increased EU exports by 76%

EU: A European Commission evaluation shows that the trade agreement between the EU and Korea has been effective in making trade and investment easier, simpler and less costly. This in turn increased trade in both goods and services between the two sides, contributing to jobs, growth and more consumer choice. Read more 

Foreign Investment Screening: new European framework to enter into force in April 2019

EU: The Council of the EU today approved a new framework to screen foreign direct investments coming into the European Union, thus concluding the legislative process on this proposal. Read more 

China’s foreign investment law to usher in new chapter of opening up

ECNS: With a new draft foreign investment law submitted to national lawmakers for a third reading, China is a big step closer to adopting a unified “fundamental law” that will better protect foreign investors and start a new chapter for its opening up. Read more 

Mercosur hopes to become main food supplier of ASEAN

Saigon Online: The South American trade bloc Mercosur hopes to become a main food supplier of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the next 50 years, according to President of the Mercosur-ASEAN Chamber of Commerce Rodolfo Caffaro. Read more 

Trade barriers stall Asean integration, say experts

The Nation: ASEAN integration is “not going anywhere” if trade regulations between Asean countries are not reformed, a recent forum heard. Read more 

In Blow to Trump, America’s Trade Deficit in Goods Hits Record $891 Billion

New York Times: America’s trade deficit in goods with the rest of the world rose to its highest level in history last year as the United States imported a record number of products, including from China, widening the deficit to $891.3 billion and delivering a setback to President Trump’s goal of narrowing that gap. Read more

Europe Trade Czar Warns of ‘Tariffs on Day 1’ After Hard Brexit

Bloomberg: The European Union’s top trade official warned that the U.K.’s impending exit from the bloc risks being “chaotic’’ with some of the EU’s other member states still not prepared for the practical realities of a no-deal Brexit that may be just three weeks away. Read more 

Kenya bank to open office in China to facilitate Sino-Africa trade

Business Report: Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), a regional financial institution, plans to open a representative office in China in order to lower cost of Sino-Africa trade, officials said Wednesday. Read more 

Brexit: Will it affect the Kenyan flower trade?

BBC: As Britain prepares to leave the European Union, workers in Kenya’s flower industry are closely monitoring developments. Read more

EU trade chief says no support in Europe for US trade deal that includes agriculture

Independent (Ireland): The European Union will not support a comprehensive trade deal with the United States that includes agriculture, the EU’s top trade negotiator said on Thursday, so she is working toward a narrower deal focused on industrial goods and automobiles. Read more 

A key measure of global trade just had its biggest tumble since 2015

Business Insider: Air freight has been weakening since mid-2018 due to “protectionist measures and trade tensions,” according to the International Air Transport Association director general and CEO. Read more 

Venezuelan Diaspora May Number 8 Million by Next Year, Group Says

Bloomberg: More than 3.4 million Venezuelans have already fled in the most severe migration crisis in the world after Syria, the study found. This diaspora will swell to 5.4 million by the end of this year, and to 7.5 million to 8.2 million by the end of 2020, according to the OAS. Read more 

Ports That Boomed on China May Never Be the Same as Trade Shifts

Bloomberg: An industry that saw dramatic growth in the decade before Donald Trump took office is now concerned his administration’s trade tussle with China, and the lack of a deal with Japan, will cut future growth short. Read more 

Big Brexit vote: What do I need to know?

BBC: On Tuesday MPs will pass their verdict on Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to take Britain out of the European Union on 29 March. Here is what you need to know about the vote. Read more 

China Export Slump Adds to Concerns Over Weakening Global Growth

Bloomberg: China’s exports slumped in February as seasonal factory shutdowns and continued uncertainty from the trade war combined to drag on shipments, adding to concerns over a weakening global economy. Read more

US to Suspend India’s Preferential Tariff Status

Times of India: The US decision to withdraw GSP benefits from India will not have a significant impact on Indian exports to US, says top official. Read more 

India, Australia locked in sugar trade dispute at WTO

Livemint: India has to enter into consultations and answer all the specific issues within 30 days after Australia told the World Trade Organization (WTO) that the minimum support prices (MSP) and export subsidies provided to sugarcane and sugar producers by the Narendra Modi government and several state governments violate global trade rules. Read more

US-Mexico-Canada trade deal is ‘crucial’ for future negotiations and needs to get approved: GOP congressman

CNBC: The trade deal between the United States, Canada and Mexico is crucial for future trade agreements and needs to be “put on the books,” Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., told CNBC on Thursday. Read more 

Peru Moves to Ratify Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement in March

Bloomberg Tax: Peru expects to ratify an 11-nation Asia-Pacific trade agreement in March, slightly more than a year after it was signed. Read more

WTO NEWS

Trade and gender training, new research and EIF initiative announced on Women’s Day at WTO

Director-General Roberto Azevêdo announced new efforts for women’s economic empowerment through trade, including a training module and new research on trade, gender and the environment, at an event at the WTO celebrating International Women’s Day on 8 March 2019. Read more 

“Gender issues are central to who we are,” says DG Azevêdo on Women’s Day

At an event at the WTO celebrating International Women’s Day on 8 March 2019, Director-General Roberto Azevêdo reviewed the organization’s current work in trade and gender, and talked about future work and initiatives. “Gender issues are central to who we are as an organization,” he said in opening the event. Read more

Brazil, Australia initiate WTO dispute complaints against Indian sugar subsidies

Brazil and Australia have requested WTO dispute consultations with India regarding domestic support measures and alleged export subsidies provided by India to producers of sugarcane and sugar. The requests were circulated to WTO members on 5 and 7 March. Read more 

Trade Policy Review: Ecuador

The third review of the trade policies and practices of Ecuador takes place on 5 and 7 March 2019. The basis for the review is a report by the WTO Secretariat and a report by the Government of Ecuador. Read more 

South Africa launches safeguard investigation on threaded fasteners of iron or steel

On 4 March 2019, South Africa notified the WTO’s Committee on Safeguards that it initiated on 1 March 2019 a safeguard investigation on threaded fasteners of iron or steel. Read more 

DG Azevêdo urges open and inclusive discussions on investment facilitation

Speaking at a meeting of the Structured Discussions On Investment Facilitation for Development on 4 March, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo welcomed the progress made in the talks. He said participants have proceeded in an open and transparent manner and urged them to keep working to inform and interact with the full membership. Read more 

NEW ON THE CTLD BLOG

In commemoration of International Women’s Day 2019, I co-authored an article with Dr. Jan Yves Remy, Deputy Director of the University of the West Indies’ Shridath Ramphal Centre for International Trade Law, Policy & Services, discussing the importance of accelerating gender mainstreaming in CARICOM trade policies in order to foster inclusive development. Have a read here: Accelerating Gender Mainstreaming in CARICOM Trade Policy

Also feel free to take a look at my other commentary this week: CARICOM Protocol on Contingent Rights: An important Step to CSME Consolidation

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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