Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the weeks of September 8-14, 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

Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon. Mia Amor Mottley, delivered the prestigious 16th Raul Prebisch Lecture. Prime Minister Mottley’s theme was ‘Invisible yet Indispensable’. The full lecture may be watched here.

UNCTAD held its first UN Trade Forum, with climate change as the major focal point. This week also marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the conclusion of the Uruguay Round which culminated in the formation of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

On a personal note, I had the pleasure and honour of being a panelist at the 3rd annual BITT Conference ‘Central Bank meets Blockchain. I spoke on the potential benefits of BITT’s proposed blockchain-enabled Caribbean Settlement Network (CSN) for facilitating intra-regional payments and trade, regional integration and development. Kudos to my fellow panelists, to the moderator and to the BITT team on an informative and well-executed conference!

L-R – John Williams (CEO, Cave Shepherd Group of Companies), Racquel Moses (CEO, Caribbean Climate Smart Accelerator), Marla Dukharan (Chief Economist of BITT and moderator of the panel), Alicia Nicholls (Trade Specialist, UWI) and Geoffrey Scott (Executive Director, ICBL).

REGIONAL NEWS

Barbados leader urges moral leadership to tackle climate crisis

UNCTAD: Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Amor Mottley, challenged the world to reinvent the international order and do better by small island states that are on the frontlines of the climate crisis, fighting for their survival in a war they did not start. Read more

Hefty bill for pork imports

Barbados Advocate: A Government official is gravely concerned with the fact that millions of dollars are being spent on importing pork into Barbados. Read more

JAMPRO targeting Latin America for Jamaican exporters

Loop Jamaica: To increase Jamaican exporters’ access to Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) markets, Jamaica’s trade and investment promotions agency, JAMPRO, will be leading a delegation of 6 companies to the LAC Flavors trade exhibition in Cali, Colombia. Read more

Digitally transforming the Eastern Caribbean

World Bank: The Caribbean has been at the forefront of the resilience-building agenda. For countries in the region, most of them Small Island States located in the path of strong and recurrent hurricanes, climate change adaptation is a matter of survival. The passage of Hurricane Dorian in 2019 is a stark reminder of this vulnerability. Read more

Region good for trade

Newsday: Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon believes the region has evolved to transform its economies to some extent away from traditional sectors into the production of high value-added goods. Read more

Bahamas suspends immigration crackdown

Jamaica Observer: The Bahamas Government says it has suspended the crackdown on illegal migrants in the Abacos and Grand Bahama, as the death toll from the passage of Hurricane Dorian a week ago climbed to 45. Read more

Dr. Rowley goes to Washington

Trinidad Express: Within 24 hours of his arriving in Washington DC, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley met with a number of high-ranking members of the United States Congress on Thursday. Read more

Caricom Silent While Refined Sugar Quarrel Rages

Jamaica Gleaner: It might be working feverishly behind the scenes to cool tempers and iron out differences as it normally does in these matters, but the secretariat for regional trade bloc Caricom is not saying anything publicly about the running battle between regional sugar producers on the one hand, and manufacturers and national governments. Read more

Greater ties with CARICOM-Africa Trading Partners

Barbados Advocate: The changing nature of the world economy is demanding that there be greater co-operation between Barbados and its Caribbean Community trading partners as well as with African countries. Read more

Trump admin won’t give temporary protected status to Bahamian victims of Hurricane Dorian

CNBC: The status would have let Bahamians work and live in the U.S. until it is deemed safe to return home. Read more

Trade issues too distant from climate issues, says Vaz

Jamaica Observer: Jamaica has called on member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to include the cost associated with climate change in any discussion on international trade. Read more

The Rum Market In The UK Could Grow By 8.8% In Coming Years

The Voice: Caribbean Rum is one of the preferred drinks of the British, a fact reflected in the market, which is expected to grow in the UK by 8.8% in coming years. Revenue in the rum segment for 2019 amounts to nearly £1 million. Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

All 16 nations set for final RCEP deal: Australian negotiator

The Hindu: Amidst conflicting signals from the government over whether India will join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) this year, Australia’s lead negotiator for the 16-nation free trade agreement (FTA) says all countries have “committed” to completing talks in time for the RCEP summit on November 1. Read more

Mexico may be an unexpected winner of the US-China trade war

CNBC: China and the United States are disrupting trade in much of the world with their trade war — but Mexico may be a winner. Read more

Wary of China in RCEP, India looks for bilateral deals amid mounting trade deficit

Business Today: In 2018-19, India had trade deficit with 11 out of 20 RCEP countries. In 2017-18, it had a trade deficit of $104 billion with all RCEP countries; more than half of this ($57.86 trillion) was with China. Read more

A Latin American Brexit? Analysing Brazil’s threat on Mercosur

Buenos Aires Times: Jair Bolsonaro has said Brazil could leave Mercosur if Argentina, the second-largest economy in the customs union, pivots to the left after presidential elections in October. But how feasible is such a break? Read more

South Korean Duties on Japanese Valves Violate Rules, WTO Finds

Bloomberg: The World Trade Organization on Tuesday ruled for a second time that South Korea’s anti-dumping duties on Japanese valves violate international trade rules, according to a decision published on the WTO website. Read more

Trump Advisers Consider Interim China Deal to Delay Tariffs

Bloomberg: Trump administration officials have discussed offering a limited trade agreement to China that would delay and even roll back some U.S. tariffs for the first time in exchange for Chinese commitments on intellectual property and agricultural purchases, according to five people familiar with the matter. Read more

WTO on brink of crisis due to inaction over dispute-settlement reforms, Birmingham warns

Sydney Morning Herald: Trade Minister Simon Birmingham has warned inaction over reform of the World Trade Organisation’s dispute-settlement system has taken the body to the brink of crisis. Read more

A New Phase in Japanese-South Korean Relations as Trade Becomes Weapon in Political Row

Nippon: Japanese and South Korean relations entered a new phase when the Japanese government announced on July 1 that it was going to “normalize” its export control measures, in effect curbing its trade with South Korea. The move linked a political conflict between the two countries with the economy in a way that has not been seen before. Read more

Trade rep sends responses on revised NAFTA deal to Democrats

Politico: U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Wednesday formally responded to House Democrats’ concerns about the new North American trade agreement, marking a step forward in negotiations between the Trump administration and Capitol Hill. Read more

Britain agrees post-Brexit trade deal with southern Africa

Reuters: Britain has agreed a deal with six southern African countries including South Africa, the continent’s most developed economy, that will ensure continuity of trade conditions after Brexit, the British High Commission in South Africa said on Wednesday. Read more

New EU trade commissioner is Phil Hogan

BBC: Irishman Phil Hogan has been named as the EU’s new trade commissioner. His appointment was announced at a press conference by the incoming head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Read more

Trump poised to hit EU with billions in tariffs after victory in Airbus case

Politico: The United States has gotten the green light to impose billions of euros in punitive tariffs on EU products in retaliation for illegal subsidies granted to European aerospace giant Airbus. Read more

Countries dependent on commodities should diversify economies to survive climate crisis, says UN report

UNCTAD: Economic and export diversification is the best response to the challenges posed by climate change in developing countries that depend on commodities, according to UNCTAD’s Commodities and Development Report 2019. Read more

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