Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development Digest for the week of April 14-20, 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.

HIGHLIGHTS

The major news this week is the release of the highly anticipated US International Trade Commission (USITC) report on the likely impact of the USMCA.The full report may be found here.

Regionally, representatives of the EU and Caribbean met in Jamaica to discuss the EU-Caribbean pillar of the new ACP-EU partnership. Read the EU statement here.

The Caribbean Court of Justice presented its judgement in the TCL/Arawak Cement v Rockhard Cement/Government of Barbados dispute regarding Barbados’ import tax on cement. Read the full judgement here.

REGIONAL NEWS

Caribbean Countries to benefit from Partnership to Develop Climate resilient Fisheries and Aquaculture Industries

CARICOM: The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and CCRIF SPC have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop climate-resilient fisheries and aquaculture industries in the region. Read more 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer Meets With Haitian Leaders

Haitian Times: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer met with Hervé H. Denis, the newly-appointed Haitian Ambassador to the United States, last week in Washington D.C. and promised to be an advocate of both the temporary protected status (TPS) of Haitian nationals and the Caribbean Basin Recovery Act. Read more 

Post-Cotonou negotiations an opportunity for agreement to reflect changing times – Amb. LaRocque

CARICOM: We are embarking on an ambitious programme which involves two sets of simultaneous negotiations. While it is important that we progress equally on both fronts, it is equally important to note that the Regional Protocol cannot be finalised before completion of the Foundation Agreement. This is to ensure consistency and policy coherence. Read more 

Jamaica leads regional consultations on new EU-ACP agreement

Jamaica Observer: Last week the EU’s team and representatives from the various Caribbean territories which are involved with the consultations were in Jamaica where Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Senator Kamina Johnson Smith hosted and chaired the two-day event at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston. Read more

Johnson Smith urges priority for regional issues in the ACP/EU Successor agreement 

Jamaica Observer: Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Kamina Johnson Smith says Jamaica expects that the interests of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries will be prioritised in the ACP/EU successor agreement currently being discussed. Read more

Jamaica trade information portal to go live in May — Shaw

Jamaica Observer: Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, says the Jamaica Trade Information Portal is expected to go live in May. Read more

EU, Latin America and the Caribbean: Partnering for prosperity, democracy, resilience and global governance

EU: The vision for a stronger and modernised bi-regional partnership focused on trade, investment and sectoral cooperation is set out in a new joint communication presented by the European Commission and the High Representative. This new partnership aims at working together in changing global and regional realities that require joint efforts to address common challenges and opportunities. Read more 

China ready

Nation News: The People’s Republic of China is ready to join hands with Barbados for the second phase of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, China, from April 25 to 27. Read more 

Canadian firms lining up to do medical ganja business here

Barbados Today: Barbados is moving to cash in on the growing medical marijuana industry by teaming up with a number of firms in Canada with “great interest” in setting up here, the Prime Minister has revealed. Read more

Suriname, Guyana seek Islamic funding for development

Gulf Times: Amid growing popularity of Islamic finance in parts of South America, two small nations in the north of the continent with a relatively sizeable Muslim minority population are now proactively seeking Islamic funding by the top international Islamic banking institution. Read more 

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

25 WTO members to participate in mini-ministerial meet on May 13-14

Business Line: About 25 developing countries will be participating in a meeting to be held in the national capital from May 13-14 to discuss various issues related to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), an official said. Read more 

India suspends Kashmir border trade

France24: India has suspended trade across its disputed Kashmir border with Pakistan, alleging that weapons and drugs are being smuggled across the route, as tensions simmer between the nuclear-armed neighbours. Read more 

Africa: Continental Free Trade Area – Stakeholders Examine Modus Operandi

AllAfrica: A two-day national awareness and information workshop on the free intraAfrican trade area opened in Yaounde, Tuesday April 16, 2019. Read more 

Why Traditional Chinese Medicine is China’s Fastest-growing Export to Africa?

Pandaily: China is Africa’s single largest business partner, with growing bilateral trade volume every year. On one hand, the value of Chinese extraction in Africa has been heavily documented. Moreover, Chinese medicine seems to take over health centers in Africa. The amount of Chinese medicine in pharmacies across African cities is skyrocketing each year. Read more 

Brexit better opportunity for African countries?

New Vision: Events in the past couple of weeks’ point in a clear direction of a Britain that eventually ceases to be a member of the European Union (EU). Much disagreement, horse trading, voting, resignations and criticisms have trailed the idea of whether or not Britain should still go ahead and exit the EU. Read more 

US handbags, helicopters and hazelnuts all put on $20 billion EU tariff list after Boeing ruling

CNBC: Helicopters, handbags and hazelnuts are among the U.S. goods facing EU tariffs, after the European bloc hit back against U.S. subsidies of Boeing aircraft. The European Commission threatened to impose charges on U.S. imports worth $20 billion on Wednesday, following a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling last month which said the U.S. government had failed to end illegal support of Boeing. Read more 

WTO Boeing dispute: EU issues preliminary list of U.S. products considered for countermeasures

EU: The European Commission has today launched a public consultation on a preliminary list of products from the United States on which the European Union may take countermeasures in the context of the ongoing Boeing dispute at the World Trade Organization (WTO). The public consultation will last until 31 May 2019. Read more

Switzerland to sign belt and road deal during President Ueli Maurer’s China trip

South China Morning Post: Switzerland will sign an accord backing China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” when President Ueli Maurer visits China this month, cementing ties with a major trading partner as other Western countries view the gargantuan project with scepticism. Read more

Europe remains the world’s biggest development donor – €74.4 billion in 2018

Modern Diplomacy: The European Union and its Member States continued to be the world’s leading provider of official development assistance in 2018 and stepped up their efforts directed at developing countries. Read more 

EU-U.S. Trade: Commission welcomes Council’s green light to start negotiations with the United States

EU: The European Commission welcomes today’s decision by the Council to adopt the negotiating directives for trade talks with the United States, thus continuing to deliver on the implementation of the Joint Statement agreed by Presidents Juncker and Trump in July 2018. Read more 

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) co-hosted an international symposium on 9 April.

ICC: Held under the theme: The World Trading System at a Crossroad and WTO Reform for a Sustainable World Economy, the symposium took place in Tokyo and focused on how the global trade system could be reformed to be fit-for-purpose in the 21st century. Read more 

China tells WTO that Australia’s ban on 5G technology is ‘obviously discriminative’

South China Morning Post: Australia’s restriction on Chinese 5G telecoms technology was “obviously discriminative” and appeared to break global trade rules, Beijing told Canberra at the World Trade Organisation on Friday, according to a transcript seen by Reuters. Read more 

EU threatens WTO action after US paves way for Cuban property lawsuits

Euractiv: The EU has reacted angrily to a Trump administration announcement that Americans to sue foreign firms over seized Cuban property, threatening to take a case to the World Trade Organisation. Read more 

Much is at stake in the Japan-U.S. trade talks

Japan Times: In the first round of bilateral trade talks between Japan and the United States, under a framework agreed on by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Donald Trump last September, the two sides agreed to expedite negotiations on reducing tariffs on agricultural and industrial products — and to negotiate over digital trade, including e-commerce and music distribution services. Read more 

Australia PM reveals international trade priorities

SBS: Scott Morrison will prioritise finalising the EU trade deal and aim for more countries to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership if he wins the election. Read more 

Trade deal nears, but tensions are rising over China’s inroads into America’s backyard

South China Morning Post: While China and the United States are edging closer to a trade deal to end their protracted tariff war, the mutual distrust and geopolitical rivalry between the world’s top two economies appears to be escalating. Squabbles over China’s growing influence in Latin America and the Caribbean broke out again after Beijing last week secured Jamaica’s official endorsement of its vast “Belt and Road Initiative”. Read more 

Canada’s trade deficit narrows to $2.9 billion

CBC: Canada’s February trade deficit was $2.9 billion, narrowing the gap from a revised shortfall of $3.1 billion in January. Read more

Qatar-Canada trade volume jumps 42% to QR671m in 2018

The Peninsula: Bilateral economic relations between Qatar and Canada have witnessed exponential growth over the past few years as a result of friendly relations between the two countries. That growth momentum continued in 2018 as the recently released statistics show a sharp jump of nearly 42 percent in the two-way trade exchange. Read more

India is not a tariff king 

Business Standard: Rejecting the US allegation that India’s import duties are one of the highest in the world, experts said that several developed countries and regions including Japan, South Korea, European Union, and America maintain “extremely high” tariffs primarily on agriculture products. Read more 

Trump forces Brussels’ hand on trade despite tariffs backlash

Deutsche Welle: Donald Trump’s threat of auto tariffs has finally spurred EU leaders into action on a new trade deal with Washington. As the US president seeks reelection next year, will Europe hold more clout in upcoming negotiations? Read more 

Afghanistan Trade Policy Achievements and Issues – Analysis

Eurasian Review: In this article, it has been tried to present an argument about trade policy development in Afghanistan. Initially, providing a brief background, then summarising key policy achievements and issues in the post and pre Afghanistan WTO membership, arguing how WTO membership has worked out, existing institutional challenges to policy development and finally presenting conclusion and recommendation. Read more 

Britain to become one of only two countries to export shellfish to China under new laws

The Sun: International Trade Secretary Liam Fox announced the deal that marks a milestone for the sector and shows a ‘clear demand for the world-class quality of British seafood’. Read more

Interview: BRI may help SMEs tackle global trade challenges: ITC head

Xinhua: The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) may help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) tackle infrastructure obstacles they encounter in global trade, the head of the International Trade Center (ITC) has said. Read more 

Maine has 171,300 jobs related to international trade, study says

Bangor Daily News: Maine jobs related to international exports and imports totaled 171,300, with 31 percent of them linked to trade with neighboring Canada and Mexico, a new study released Thursday found. Read now

WTO NEWS

WTO issues panel report regarding Chinese tariff rate quotas on agricultural imports

On 18 April the WTO circulated the panel report in the case brought by the United States in “China — Tariff Rate Quotas for Certain Agricultural Products” (DS517). Read more

Colombia launches safeguard investigation on sheets of cardboard and polyethylene

On 16 April 2019, Colombia notified the WTO’s Committee on Safeguards that it initiated on 9 April 2019 a safeguard investigation on certain sheets of cardboard and polyethylene. Read more 

Marrakesh milestone — 25th anniversary of the WTO’s founding agreements

Twenty-five years ago, on 15 April 1994, representatives from more than 120 nations gathered in Marrakesh, Morocco, to sign what was described at the time as the “greatest trade agreement in history”, one which led to the establishment of the WTO and created a new global framework for liberalizing trade in goods and services, protecting intellectual property rights, and easing trade tensions through a new dispute resolution mechanism. Read more 

Report sheds light on impact of digital technologies on global value chains

Global value chains (GVCs) have regained momentum in recent years, leading to the creation of new jobs and increased prosperity, especially in developing economies, according to a new report co-published by the WTO and five other institutions. New digital technologies, such as robotics and big data, are reshaping GVCs and creating new opportunities for the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises but policymakers will need to ensure the benefits are shared widely. Read more

Azevêdo urges finance ministers to take coordinated steps to address economic imbalances

Meeting with finance ministers and Central Bank presidents from around the world at the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington DC on 13 April, Director-General Roberto Azevêdo warned that the global imbalances driving current trade tensions can only be addressed by coordinated action. He cautioned that responding through trade policy measures alone would not solve these imbalances, but would likely make the problem worse. 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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