Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the weeks of August 18-31, 2019! We do apologise again for the delay in last week’s digest and are happy to bring you the major trade and development headlines and analysis from across the Caribbean Region and the world from the past two weeks.

We also extend our best wishes and prayers to our brothers and sisters in the northern Caribbean and the US facing Hurricane Dorian.

HIGHLIGHTS

WTO reform was one of the topics for discussion at the recently held G-7 Leaders Meeting in Biarritz, France. See G-7 speech by WTO DG on why WTO reform is an opportunity to tackle inequalities.

On the Brexit front, things took another turn for the bizarre as Prime Minister Boris Johnson requested the prorogation of Parliament until October 14, 2019.

The Amazon rainforest has been experiencing wildfires drawing the attention of the international community. It may also have implications for the EU-Mercosur trade agreement.

REGIONAL NEWS

St Kitts-Nevis records 13-year-low in exports to US in June 2019

WICNews: The value of goods and services exported from St Kitts and Nevis to the United States hit a 13 -year low for the month of June this year, 2019. Read more

Caribbean is a leading importer of US goods – US diplomat

Jamaica Observer: The Caribbean which is described as the “third border” of the United States, is a leading trade partner in terms of United States exports to the region and as the largest importer of Caribbean goods, a United States diplomat has said. Read more

Local fishermen encouraged to meet counterparts in Tobago

Barbados Today: A team of Barbadian fishermen could soon be headed to Tobago for discussions on fishing, with the expectation this could lead to the end of a years-old fishing dispute. Read more

Jamaica government labs upgraded to analyse salt, fat in foods

Jamaica Observer: For the first time, Jamaica will have the capacity to analyse the sugar, salt and fat content of food products. Read more

Cuba Seeks to Expand Ties with China

St Kitts & Nevis Observer: The director general of Bilateral Affairs of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Emilio Lozada, began this Monday a working visit to China, the Cuban Foreign Ministry reported in Havana. Read more

Secretary General of ACP urges Caribbean to negotiate new agreement with Britain post Brexit

Antigua Observer: According to CANA, the Secretary General of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group, Dr. Patrick I Gomes, says it will be in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries favour to quickly negotiate new trade agreements with the United Kingdom as it moves to leave the European Union. Read more

Barbados UN Ambassador’s Keynote Address at CTO Conference

St Kitts & Nevis Observer: It is wonderful to be in the Caribbean, in the beautiful country of St Vincent and the Grenadines, amongst brothers and sisters who are responsible for the leadership and management of our region’s premier foreign exchange earner. Read more

Rice exports dip but earnings up during first half of 2019 –GRDB

Stabroek: Despite a dip in rice exports within the first six months of the year as compared to 2018, the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) says more revenue has been earned during the same period by way of the sale of higher-value products. Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Finance ministry reviewing India’s free trade agreements

Economic Times: The Finance ministry has initiated a review of India’s free trade agreement framework to assess the impact of such pacts on the overall economy. The view has been gaining ground among policymakers and industry that these free trade agreements (FTAs) brought little tangible benefit to India, while helping the partner country. Read more

UK and South Korea sign ‘continuity trade agreement’

BBC: The UK has signed a “continuity” trade agreement with South Korea, allowing businesses to keep trading freely after Brexit. Read more

Over 100 stakeholder consultations on proposed RCEP in last 6 years: Commerce Ministry

Hindu Business Line: The Commerce Ministry, on Saturday, said over 100 stakeholder consultations have been held on the mega free trade agreement RCEP in the last 6 years. Read more

AfCFTA is game-changer for Africa’s socio-economic development – ECA

Ghanaweb: Dr Joseph Atta-Mensah, Principal Policy Advisor, Macroeconomics and Governance Division, Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has described the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA) agreement as the game-changer for Africa’s socio-economic development. Read more

As Ghana prepares to host the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat it organises a High-Level Policy Dialogue on Harnessing the benefits of the AfCFTA for a Ghana beyond Aid

Africa News: The Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and, in partnership with the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union Commission (AUC), are organising a High-Level Conference on AfCFTA from 19-21 August 2019, at the Accra International Conference Centre, Accra, Ghana focsuing on Harnessing the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for a Ghana beyond Aid. Read more

Emmanuel Macron says he will block EU trade deal with Brazil over Amazon forest fires

Independent: France will block an EU trade deal with Brazil and its neighbours over the country’s handling of fires in the Amazon rainforest, a spokesperson for Emmanuel Macron has said. Read more

Leaders Seek WTO Reform to Spur Open, Fair Trade: G-7 Update

Bloomberg: Group of Seven leaders hold their final day of talks in Biarritz, France, with U.S. President Donald Trump holding out the prospect of a meeting with Iran’s leader and signaling fresh trade talks with China. Read the developments in real time. Read more

Remarks by President Donald Tusk before the G7 summit in Biarritz, France

EU: First of all, let me express my best wishes to the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker. I always attended G7 summits with Jean-Claude, and I must say I will miss him in Biarritz. Read more

WTO reforms should be wholistic and comprehensive

Moneycontrol: Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on August 22 made a case for wholistic and comprehensive reforms of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) without ignoring the ground realities, especially the stark inequality among developed and developing nations. Read more

The crucial role of a WTO appeals court

The Hill: Imagine there were no Supreme Court, and questions about fundamental issues such as free speech, religious freedom and equal protection were left up to various lower courts to decide. Read more

What’s at Stake and at Risk in U.S.-Japan Trade Talks

Bloomberg: More than two years after U.S. President Donald Trump walked away from a regional Asia-Pacific trade agreement, the U.S. and Japan — the world’s largest and third-largest economies — are negotiating a deal of their own. Both sides say they are very close to a deal. Read more

RCEP: India wants auto-trigger mechanism to curb import surges

Hindu Business Line: To protect domestic industry against surge in imports once tariffs are brought down under the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) pact, India has suggested an auto trigger method that would automatically increase import levies once shipments cross a given threshold limit. Read more

Petition handed in opposing Switzerland-Mercosur trade deal

Swissinfo: A 65,000-strong petition has been handed into federal authorities in Bern demanding the cancellation, or significant revision, of a trade deal between EFTA – of which Switzerland is part – and the Mercosur trade bloc. 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: