Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development Digest for the week of April 21-27, 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.


THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS

This week, Caribbean representatives were among 5,000 delegates from around the world who attended the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing April 25-27, 2019. The key note speech delivered by President Xi Xinping of China may be viewed here, while the Joint Communique of the Leaders’ Roundtable may be accessed here.


REGIONAL NEWS

Jamaica’s annual exports up by one-third

Jamaica Gleaner: Jamaican exports grew by nearly 38 per cent last year, a pace that was nearly four times faster than the rise in imports. Read more 

EU blacklisting causing irreparable harm to Caribbean says St Kitts-Nevis foreign minister

Caribbean News Now: St Kitts and Nevis wasn’t blacklisted by the European Union in a revised blacklist for tax havens outside the EU last month; however, that hasn’t stopped foreign affairs minister Mark Brantley denouncing what he considers unfair targeting of Caribbean countries. Read more

Closer EU-Caribbean ties mean greater prosperity for all

EU Observer: This month ministers and officials from across the Caribbean assembled in Jamaica to discuss the future of our collective relationship with the European Union. This was the latest in a series of forums that have taken place in the past eighteen months, all with the aim of working toward a bolstered agreement that will further integrate our political and economic interests. Read more 

Renewable energy is making its way into Guyana’s agriculture sector

IICA: A pilot project by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the Organization of American States (OAS), and the state-owned company, Guyana Power & Light Inc., will promote the adoption of renewable energy in the Guyanese agriculture sector. The project will unfold in the final six months of 2019. Read more 

China says Latin America and Caribbean will benefit significantly under BRI

Jamaica Observer: China’s Ambassador to Dominica Lu Kun says his country’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will bring tangible benefits to Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Read more 

Ghana and Suriname sign four agreements

Government of Ghana: Ghana and Suriname on Tuesday signed four separate agreements as part of efforts to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two nations. Read more 

ITFC signs 6 trade deals worth over $1.1bn, including with Suriname

Trade Arabia: ITFC’s framework agreement with the Republic of Suriname will see it mobilize up to $75 million financing for SME’s, exports and lines of finance to local banks, in addition to a Murabaha agreement over three years to boost the import of essential goods. Read more 

King Sugar takes a break as Belize exports fall sharply

Breaking Belize News: Belize’s number one export is grinding into high gear for the end of the season in May and June. But in March it counted for just under three million of Belize’s almost $26 million in exports, representing a slash by more than half of March 2018’s total. Read more 

China and the Caribbean’s future 

CGTN: China’s highly anticipated second Belt and Road International Cooperation Forum (BRF) wrapped up on April 27. Initially not including Caribbean nations, the country’s signature policy has gained increasing momentum in the region since 2017. So far, several Caribbean countries, such as Barbados, Jamaica, Dominica and Grenada, etc., have signed up to the initiative, which provides a useful context for offering some reflections on the place of China in the future development of the independent states of the English-speaking Caribbean. Read more 

COTED officials hold preparatory meeting

CARICOM: Work in preparation for the Forty-Sixth Ministerial Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) began on Thursday. Read more

CARICOM leaders to meet in Trinidad next week

CARICOM: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders will meet in Trinidad and Tobago early next month to discuss security issues within the 15-member regional integration movement. Read more 

Future EU-Caribbean Relations in New ACP-EU Partnership

ACP: As the EU is working to modernise its relations with 79 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP), the two groups’ chief negotiators Neven Mimica and Robert Dussey met with ACP Caribbean leaders for a dedicated dialogue on the regional EU-Caribbean pillar in the framework of the post Cotonou ACP-EU partnership. Read more 


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Eswatini walking tightrope to become Africa’s trade hub

Yeni Safak: The Kingdom of Eswatini in Southern Africa is walking a tightrope in its bid to become Africa’s trade hub and is competing against some of the continent’s biggest economies to win hosting rights for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat. Read more 

AfDB signs $50m agreement with Natixis to boost trade finance in Africa

Ghanaweb: The African Development Bank (AfDB) has signed a $50 million risk participation agreement (APR) with investment and corporate bank Natixis. Read more 

EU and Japan in delicate trade talks

EU Observer: Top EU officials will meet Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday (25 April) in Brussels as world leaders prepare for their G20 meeting in June in Osaka, Japan. Read more 

USTR Releases Annual Special 301 Report on Intellectual Property Protection and Review of Notorious Markets for Piracy and Counterfeiting

USTR: The Office of the United States Trade Representative today released its annual Special 301 Report on the adequacy and effectiveness of trading partners’ protection of intellectual property rights and the findings of its Notorious Markets List, which highlights online and physical markets that reportedly engage in and facilitate substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting. Read more 

Turkey-Africa trade volume totals $179 billion in last decade

Daily Sabah: Turkey’s improving relations with African countries have also been reflected in the growing trade volume. Between 2009 and 2018, bilateral trade volume between Turkey and the African continent stood at $179 billion. Read more 

P&O sues over £33m Eurotunnel payout in Brexit ferry fiasco

The Guardian: P&O Ferries is suing the government over its £33m settlement with Eurotunnel, in the latest controversy over the Department for Transport’s fraught no-deal Brexit preparations. Read more 

Amid Brexit uncertainty and allegations, UK lawmakers consider Mueller-like inquiry

ABC News: The parallels between Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election and the Brexit referendum in Britain are striking. In fact, calls among lawmakers have been growing for a public inquiry, according to The Guardian, into Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit strategy. Read more 

‘Running OUT OF TIME’ – EU expert issues DAMNING statement on May’s latest extension

Express: Although Mrs May has managed to buy some valuable time to get her Brexit deal through, the UK is only just coming to the end of the beginning of the whole process. Dr Simon Usherwood, deputy chair at The UK in Changing Europe think tank, has argued that with every extension, the UK is cutting into the crucial transition stage of the Brexit negotiations. Read more 

U.S. organized labor opposes USMCA in current form, says official

Japan Times: The head of the largest U.S. labor union said Tuesday he opposes ratification of the new North American free trade pact, because he doubts Mexico will enforce labor reforms required by the deal. Read more 

U.S. considers concessions on drug protections in China talks: Sources

BNN Bloomberg: The Trump administration may concede to a Chinese proposal that would give less protection for U.S. pharmaceutical products than they receive at home, according to people familiar with the matter, a move that could draw opposition from the American drug industry. Read more 

U.S. and Japan Push for a Trade Deal Following Failed Pacific Partnership

New York Times: President Trump said on Friday that trade talks between the United States and Japan were “moving along very nicely” and suggested a deal might be reached by late May as he met with Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, at the White House. Read more 

Donald Trump pulls US out of UN Arms Treaty

Euronews: Donald Trump has said he is pulling the United States out of an international arms treaty designed to prevent weapons being sold to those who abuse human rights. Read more 

Qatar withdraws measures established against UAE at WTO

Al Arabiya: Qatar has decided to withdraw its measures against the UAE in a significant concession aimed at averting the consequences of the UAE’s case in WTO against an illegal Qatari ban on UAE goods and services. Read more 

U.S. says WTO national security ruling ‘seriously flawed’

Reuters: The United States said on Friday a World Trade Organization ruling on national security was “seriously flawed”, a warning not to use it as a precedent to judge U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariffs on imported steel and cars. Read more 

Japan seeks to join WTO dispute consultations over India’s import duties on ICT products

Business Today: Japan has expressed interest to join consultations in a dispute case filed by the EU in the WTO against India’s import duties on some information and communications technology products, including mobile phones, according to a communication of the World Trade Organization. Read more

Wine, beef imports rise after free trade pacts

NHK: Japan’s Finance Ministry says wine and cheese imports from Europe, and beef imports from Canada and New Zealand, increased considerably up to March after two free trade deals came into effect. Read more


WTO NEWS

WTO Forum looks at addressing food safety concerns through trade and cooperation

WTO rules on food safety play an important part in enabling governments to protect their citizens while ensuring trade can play its critical part in maintaining timely supplies of safe and affordable food, said Director-General Roberto Azevêdo in opening the International Forum on Food Safety and Trade taking place at the WTO on 23-24 April. Read more 

DDG Wolff suggests members look at accessions as source of inspiration for WTO reform

Is there scope for members to look at the experience of WTO accessions for additional inspiration in the ongoing WTO reform debate, asked Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff at a meeting of the Informal Group of Acceding Governments on 25 April. Read more

DDG Wolff welcomes timely and substantive discussions on trends in food safety and trade

Speaking at the pre-event session of the International Forum on Food Safety and Trade on 23 April at the WTO, Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff stressed the importance of interlinkages between trade and food safety standards, as recognized by WTO members in the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Agreement. Read more 

International Forum on Food Safety and Trade

Remarks by WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo. 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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