Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the week of July 7-13, 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

In this week’s headlines, fifteen countries in the West African regional bloc ECOWAS have agreed to adopt a single currency called the ECO next year. Regionally, Jamaica aims to deepen its trade and other bilateral relations with the Cayman Islands, while Barbados has its eye on investment opportunities in Guyana.

REGIONAL NEWS

Jamaica – Cayman Islands to strengthen trade, bilateral relations

Caribbean News Now: Jamaica is moving to improve trade relations with the Cayman Islands, prime minister Andrew Holness said speaking to the Jamaican diaspora in the Cayman. Read more

WTO ‘devastating’ for farmers and fisheries

Tribune 242: Becoming a full World Trade Organisation (WTO) member will be “devastating” for Bahamian farmers because they are “not prepared” for the competitive demands of liberalised trade regimes. Caron Shepherd, president of the Farmers United Cooperative, told Tribune Business. Read more

Barbados seeking to encourage investments in Guyana

Jamaica Observer: The Barbados Government is seeking to lure local investors to invest in Guyana, which is the world’s second-largest stock market, NASDAQ last month named as the fastest growing economy in the world. Read more

Investment potential in Guyana

Barbados Today: Investment opportunities in Guyana worth millions of dollars appear to have captured the attention of dozens of workers and entrepreneurs eager to tap into its growing market. Read more

Antigua PM Reports Positive Talks On Ownership In Scotiabank Country Branch

Jamaica Gleaner: The Antigua & Barbuda government is reporting positive feedback to a proposal that would allow it to own at least 40 per cent of the local Scotiabank operation, under a regional transaction in which the Canadian owner is offloading some of its Caribbean assets to Republic Financial Holdings Limited. Read more

Antigua – Barbuda and the Dominican Republic forge closer relations: Embassy to break ground soon

Caribbean News Now: Prime Minister Gaston Browne fulfilled a promise made three years ago to the president of the Dominican Republic to transfer one acre of land for the construction of an embassy and residences for the Dominican Republic in St John’s, presented the land certificate to foreign affairs minister of the Dominican Republic, Chancellor Miguel Vargas who paid an official visit to Antigua and Barbuda over the weekend. Read more

Statistical Capacity-Building Underway in CARICOM Member States

CARICOM: The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has embarked on a series of exercises across the Region as it steps up its efforts to build capacity in statistics. The Community is working towards providing robust, quality statistics to inform and advance its development thrust. Read more

Caribbean Countries to Benefit from Access to Insurance for the Fisheries Sector

OECS: CCRIF SPC and the World Bank are pleased to announce that on July 1, the Facility issued the Caribbean Oceans and Aquaculture Sustainability FaciliTy (COAST) fisheries parametric insurance policy to two of its member governments – Grenada and Saint Lucia. Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

ECOWAS West African nations to adopt unified ‘eco’ currency

IOL: The Economic Community of West African States announced at the end of its summit in Abuja, Nigeria, that it would be adopting the ECO as its shared currency by 2020. Read more

France passes tax on tech giants despite US threats

BBC: France has approved a digital services tax despite threats of retaliation by the US, which argues that it unfairly targets American tech giants. The 3% tax will be levied on sales generated in France by multinational firms like Google and Facebook. Read more

Trump-China Trade Tensions Hit Panama Canal Revenues

Bloomberg: Cargo from the U.S. to China going through the key waterway has slumped this year as the Asian giant cuts its imports of American food and fuel, according to Panama Canal Authority CEO Jorge Luis Quijano. Read more

Beijing to impose sanctions on US firms involved in US$2.2 billion Taiwan arms deal

South China Morning Post: Beijing said on Friday it will issue sanctions against the US companies involved in the latest arms sale to Taiwan, as tensions between China and the United States continue to rise. Read more

US tells Britain: Fall into line over China and Huawei, or no trade deal

Telegraph: Donald Trump’s negotiators have signalled that the next prime minister’s hopes of a post-Brexit trade deal with the United States rest on his willingness to fall in line with tough American policies against the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. Read more

EU-Mercosur trade agreement: The Agreement in Principle and its texts

EU: In view of the Commission’s transparency policy, the Commission is publishing the texts of the Trade Part of the Agreement following the agreement in principle announced on 28 June 2019. Read more

Nigeria signs Africa free trade agreement: statement

Reuters: Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has signed up to the $3 trillion Africa free trade agreement, a spokesman confirmed on Sunday. Read more

African Leaders Launch First Continental Trade Agreement

VoA: Leaders discussed “operational” parts of the agreement at a recent gathering of the African Union in Niger. The deal had been under discussion since 2002 and a general agreement to form the trade area was reached in March. Read more

Canada posts rare trade surplus as exports to U.S. hit record high

Financial Post: Canada’s trade balance unexpectedly swung into surplus for the first time in 10 months on a broad-based jump in exports, adding to evidence the economy has returned to a more solid footing. Read more

Germany Sees 50% Chance for EU-U.S. Trade Deal, Possibly in 2019

Bloomberg: German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier sees a 50% chance of the European Union striking a trade agreement on industrial goods with the U.S., possibly this year. Read more

A Deeper Look at Vietnam’s Trade Deal With Europe

The Diplomat: The EU’s drive to become the defender of multilateralism promises further opportunities for Southeast Asia. Read more

What is GATT 24: What is the WTO clause at the centre of Andrew Neil’s grilling of Boris Johnson

Independent: Boris Johnson was taken to task by the BBC’s Andrew Neil over his knowledge of GA​TT 24 – the clause in WTO rules he believes could allow the UK to continue to trade freely with the EU in a no deal scenario. Read more

Australia steps up sugar trade fight with India, moves WTO

Hindu Business Line: Australia has intensified its sugar related dispute with India by formally asking World Trade Organisation (WTO) to set up a panel to probe if the world’s second-largest sugar producer was breaching its obligations, a media report said Friday. Read more

Japan denies imposing South Korean trade embargo at WTO

Reuters: Japan denied imposing a trade embargo on South Korea on Tuesday, after a complicated diplomatic dispute that could disrupt global supplies of chips and smartphones erupted over forced labor in World War Two and banned trade with North Korea. Read more

Global trade: Making a start for WTO reforms

Financial Express: Members desirous of preventing disruption of the appellate process in WTO disputes would enter into a plurilateral accord providing for appeal arbitration. Read more

Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan for businesses dismissed by head of WTO

Independent: The head of the World Trade Organisation has blown a hole in Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans as Conservative members vote on whether he should become party leader and prime minister. Read more

Brazil escalates WTO dispute over India sugar subsidies that distort global sugar markets

Business Today: The Brazilian government said on Thursday it had asked the World Trade Organization to establish a panel aimed at resolving its dispute over Indian sugar subsidies, according to a joint statement by the foreign and agriculture ministries. Read more

India involved in 14 disputes at WTO currently, says Piyush Goyal

Business Standard: At present, India is involved in 14 WTO disputes, all of which are being handled by domestic law firms. Read more

USTR Announces Fiscal Year 2020 WTO Tariff-Rate Quota Allocations for Raw Cane Sugar, Refined and Specialty Sugar and Sugar-Containing Products

USTR: The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative today announced the country-specific and first-come, first-served in-quota allocations under the tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) on imported raw cane sugar, refined and specialty sugar and sugar-containing products for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 (October 1, 2019 through September 30, 2020). Read more

USTR Announces Initiation of Section 301 Investigation into France’s Digital Services Tax

USTR: On July 10, 2019, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) initiated an investigation under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 of the Digital Services Tax (DST) of the Government of France. Read more

WTO NEWS

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The Caribbean Trade & Development Digest is a weekly trade news digest produced and 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 subscribe to our Blog below: