Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the week of October 20-26, 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.

THE WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS

South Korea has agreed to give up its ‘developing country’ status in future negotiations at the WTO. This move is in light of increased US pressure for a change in the current system of self-designation as a developing country at the WTO. Read here.

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) held a two-day hearing in its first ever application for an Advisory Opinion. At the end of the second day, the judges indicated that they would deliver their decision in a “reasonable time”. Read more here.

The World Bank has released its latest Doing Business Report (2020). Find out how the Caribbean fared here.

REGIONAL NEWS

Bermuda Launches Two Key Fintech Initiatives, Becomes First Nation to Accept Stable Coins for Government Payments

National Law Review: On Oct. 16, 2019, Bermuda Premier the Hon. E. David Burt JP, MP announced that Bermuda has committed to accept, for payment of government taxes, fees, and services, 1:1 U.S.-dollar-backed digital currencies of entities licensed by the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) under the 2018 Digital Asset Business Act (DABA), becoming the first nation to do so. Read more

Antigua To Sell Shares In State-Owned Oil Company

Jamaica Gleaner: The Antigua and Barbuda government says it is to sell 10 per cent of its shares in the state-owned West Indies Oil Company (WIOC). Read more

Belize Senate ratifies UK-CARIFORUM trade treaty

Breaking Belize News: Тhе Ѕеnаtе mеt іn ѕресіаl ѕеѕѕіоn thіѕ mоrnіng іn rесоrd tіmе tо rаtіfу а trеаtу ѕаfеguаrdіng trаdе bеtwееn Веlіzе аnd fеllоw Саrіbbеаn ѕtаtеѕ аnd thе Unіtеd Кіngdоm. Read more

CARICOM to await CCJ decision on waiver for free movement

Jamaica Observer: The five (5) Justices of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) have promised, at a “reasonable time,” to deliver their decision on whether countries within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) can lawfully, under the legal framework of the organisation, choose to opt-out of obligations set out in the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) agreement. Read more

The Caribbean exhibits record of reforms in business sector in 2018

Prensa Latina: The economies in the Caribbean carried out a record of 19 reforms during 2018 to help private national companies do business, a report released today by the World Bank (WB) says. Read more

Jamaica Opposition welcomes reversal in Ease of Doing Business ranking

Jamaica Observer: People’s National Party (PNP) shadow minister of Industry, Competitiveness & Global Logistics Anthony Hylton has welcomed the reversal in Jamaica’s ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report 2020. Read more

Agricultural woes: building a domestically and internationally competitive sector

Dominica News Online: Finding agricultural products that can compete both on the domestic and international markets has been singled out as one of the major challenges facing the sector in the region. Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Nigeria’s border closure has implications for Africa’s economic integration

The Conversation: Nigeria recently partially closed its border with Benin in an effort to stem the smuggling of rice. It then went on to close its land borders to the movement of all goods from Benin, Niger and Cameroon, effectively banning trade flows with its neighbours. Read more

China Signs its First African Free Trade Agreement with Mauritius

China Daily Briefing: China and Mauritius signed a free trade agreement (FTA) on October 17. This is China’s first FTA with an African nation. The agreement will reportedly give Mauritius duty-free access to about 8,547 products, representing 96 percent of Chinese tariff lines. Read more

RCEP deal hangs in balance even as India, other members resolve some issues

Livemint: India and other member countries of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) may have resolved differences related to investor to state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism and data localization, but issues such as India’s demands to shift the base year for tariff cuts to 2019 and an auto-trigger mechanism to check import surge from China may make or break a deal. Read more

China submits 7th offer to join government procurement agreement at WTO

Xinhua: China has submitted the 7th offer to join the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA), which added the military sector for the first time, according to the Ministry of Finance. Read more

China’s New Investment Law a Positive Step, Foreign Firms Say

Bloomberg: China’s new law governing foreign investment will take effect next year. Read more

US-China Trade Truce: Cautious Optimism or Reasonable Pessimism?

Modern Diplomacy: China and the United States have achieved tangible progress in their recent round of trade talks. This has given rise to cautious optimism about the possibility of striking a deal, writes the Chinese edition of Global Times. Read more

Brexit: European leaders agree extension to 31 January

BBC: EU leaders have agreed in principle to extend Brexit until 31 January 2020 – meaning the UK will not leave as planned on Thursday. Read more

Breaking down the path forward for the USMCA

Politico: With fewer than two dozen legislative days left in the year, the pressing question for the USMCA is not just whether U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and House Democrats will be able to reach a deal, but whether they still have enough time to get it done by 2020. Read more

The EU should be leading this new era of FTAs, shaping new standards and spurring on growth

Euronews: The next EU Trade Commissioner faces a daunting in-tray. Certainty is in short supply and difficult decisions abound. Many of them are marked urgent. Read more

China asks WTO for $2.4 billion sanctions against U.S. in latest clash

Reuters: China is seeking $2.4 billion in retaliatory sanctions against the United States for failing to comply with a World Trade Organization ruling in a case that highlights White House complaints about the global trade body. Read more

STRAIGHT FROM THE WTO

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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:

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