Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the week of November 24-30, 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

At the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body meeting on 22 November, some 117 WTO members have again called for a launch of the process for filling vacancies on the Appellate Body, which is currently at three members and is set to lose 2 other members when their terms end on December 10. If this happens, the WTO AB will no longer have a quorum to hear appeals. Read more here.

On 27 November the WTO held a conference to mark the 30th anniversary of the Trade Policy Review Mechanism (TPRM). Read more here. The WTO also held its fourth Natural Disasters and Trade symposium on 29 November. Read more here.

And lastly, it would be remiss of me if I did not say Happy Independence to my country Barbados which celebrated its 53rd year of independence on November 30! Barbados, as you may know, will be co-hosting the UNCTAD XV quadrennial with the United Arab Emirates in October, 2020.

REGIONAL NEWS

Government launches Belize’s 1st National Investment Policy and Strategy

Breaking Belize News: Тhе Gоvеrnmеnt оf Веlіzе (GОВ) thrоugh thе Міnіѕtrу rеѕроnѕіblе fоr Іnvеѕtmеnt, Тrаdе аnd Соmmеrсе, ВЕLТRАІDЕ аnd thе САRІСОМ Dеvеlорmеnt Fund (СDF) wіll lаunсh thе Веlіzе Nаtіоnаl Іnvеѕtmеnt Роlісу аnd Ѕtrаtеgу (NІРЅ) оn Моndау, Dесеmbеr 2, 2019, аt 10 аm аt thе Веѕt Wеѕtеrn Віltmоrе Рlаzа іn Веlіzе Сіtу. Read more

Why the WTO Appellate Body Crisis Matters to the Caribbean

CARICOM Today: The Appellate Body (AB) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) – the final court charged with hearing appeals on points of law at the WTO – faces an existential crisis. On 10 December 2019, the terms of two of its remaining three members – the quorum needed to adjudicate an appeal – will expire. Read more

Guyana commits to direct flights from C’bean to Africa

News Room: The Governments of Guyana and Ghana Friday morning signed an Air Services Agreement, paving the way for direct flights between the two countries. Read more

Barbados ‘ready for Brexit EPA’, says Husbands

Barbados Today: Barbados is ready to take full advantage of an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with post-Brexit Britain, Minister of Foreign Trade Sandra Husbands has declared. Read more

Barbados, Ghana explore business opportunities

Joy Online: Trade and investment relations between Ghana and Barbados has received a further boost with the signing of a partnership agreement between an indigenous Ghanaian firm and its counterpart from Barbados. Read more

Ghana: Govt Completes Recruitment of 120 Nurses for Barbados

AllAfrica: The Ministry of Health (MOH) has completed the recruitment processes to send the first batch of 120 qualified nurses to work in the Caribbean nation of Barbados. Read more

Bridgetown and Tema sign agreement establishing sister-port

Joy Online: Ghana and Barbados on Friday, November 15, 2019, signed an agreement establishing a sister-port relationship between the two cities to facilitate the expansion of trade between the two countries, especially trade transiting through Barbados from Ghana and onward to other Caribbean and Latin America destination ports. Read more

Ghana, Barbados sign agreement to boost e-commerce

Ghanaweb: In its quest to facilitate the expansion of trade and investment between Ghana and Barbados, an indigenous Ghanaian firm and its counterpart from Barbados have signed a partnership agreement to boost e-commerce within the two countries. Read more

US Envoy Says Jamaica Ready For Greater Investment Flow From The North; Hails Improvements In Local Economy

Jamaica Gleaner: The United States envoy in Jamaica says the prospects for greater investments by his country on the island have never been better, pointing to major improvements in the local economy and efforts by the government to make it easier to do business. Read more

Jamaica Re-Elected To Powerful Category C Of IMO Council

Jamaica Gleaner: Jamaica was re-elected to Category C of the Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), confirming the island’s position at the centre of international maritime legislature. Read more

Exclusive: Caribbean officials linked to diplomatic passport sale

Al Jazeera: Politicians in the Caribbean are said to be involved in a corrupt trade of diplomatic posts in exchange for money, an Al Jazeera investigation has revealed. Read more

COTED decision a lifeline for CARICOM sugar

Jamaica Observer: Directors of the Sugar Association of the Caribbean (SAC) are due to meet in early December to reflect on the 49th Meeting of The Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) outcomes, which agreed to the incremental enforcement of tariffs on imported white sugar as and when the region produces it. Read more

No 40% CARICOM tariff on white sugar until regional producers can supply – Dookhoo

Stabroek: The Council for Trade and Eco-nomic Development (COTED) of CARICOM will not erect a 40% common external tariff (CET) against extra-regional white sugar until regional producers are able to supply the quantity and quality needed by regional manufacturers for their food and beverages operations. Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Top Japan negotiator says it is not considering signing RCEP trade pact without India

Strait Times: Japan is not considering signing a regional trade pact without India at this juncture, the top Japanese negotiator said on Friday (Nov 29), ahead of a series of diplomatic exchanges in the coming weeks that include a visit to Delhi by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Read more

China small manufacturers’ rising exports to Africa help offset plunging sales to US amid trade war

South China Morning Post: Growing optimism is spreading among some small Chinese manufacturers in sectors ranging from car parts to textiles, as a spike in exports to countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative is starting to offset a portion of lost demand from the United States due to the trade war. Read more

General election 2019: Second Brexit referendum will be needed unless a majority is won, report says

iNews: The Conservatives have said a second referendum is off the table, but academics believe it’s their only option unless they win a majority. Read more

With the WTO Appellate Body Becoming Dysfunctional on December 11, What Happens to Pending Appeals and Other Open Issues?

WITA: There was another WTO Dispute Settlement Body (“DSB”) meeting on November 22, 2019. In addition to the normal agenda item of receiving reports and comments by other members on the status of implementation of recommendations on disputes where reports had previously been adopted by the DSB, there were a number of other agenda items, one of which was not addressed. Read more

Japan indicates efforts on to address India’s concerns over RCEP

Economic Times: Japan on Sunday gave clear indications that efforts were on to make India join the ambitious Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), saying all member countries of the grouping were committed to address New Delhi’s concerns. Read more

Rwanda’s port – creating a hub for Intra-African trade

Euronews: One of the largest dry ports (30 hectares) in-land in Africa is working towards a different kind of management system to create a faster and more efficient process for its customers. It means landlocked countries will be free from market-barriers. Read more

ITFC seeks to boost Arab-Africa trade

GTR: The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) has committed to a credit facility agreement worth US$100mn with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank). Read more

New move to boost trade between Ireland and Africa

Irish Times: Plans are afoot to increase the value of two-way trade between the Republic of Ireland and Africa to at least €5 billion by 2025. Read more

AfCFTA: Boosting intra-regional trade in goods and services

Business Report: According to new research from Baker McKenzie and Oxford Economics – AfCFTA’s $3 trillion (R44.18trln) Opportunity: Weighing Existing Barriers against Potential Economic Gains – many opportunities for increasing intraregional trade exist in Africa, in goods and services. Read more

Morocco, Turkey Launch Negotiations to Save Free Trade Agreement

Morocco World News: Turkey and Morocco appear to have launched negotiations to maintain their in-question Free Trade Agreement with the aim of “rebalancing” trade terms and satisfying both parties. Read more

South Korea’s export decline suggests no easing up on world trade slump yet

Business Times: South Korea’s exports, a closely watched bellwether for world trade, fell more than expected in November, dealing a blow to nascent optimism that a prolonged slump in global demand may be bottoming out. Read more

Japanese and South Korean trade officials to hold export control talks in December

The Japan Times: Senior trade officials from Japan and South Korea will meet next month to discuss Tokyo’s tightened controls on tech-related exports to its neighbor, trade minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said Friday. Read more

USMCA: Ratification is getting there but ‘difficult issues’ remain

Financial Post: The push to ratify a new North American trade pact is “getting there” Mexico’s top negotiator says, though some “difficult issues” remain as U.S. Democrats continue to insist on stronger labour enforcement. Read more

U.S., Canada, Mexico Meet to Push for Final Agreement on USMCA

Bloomberg: The White House pushed Wednesday to wrap final negotiations with Democrats on President Donald Trump’s top legislative priority, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, in meetings with top Mexican and Canadian officials. Read more

Lower trade barriers helped faster economic and wage growth in Latin America, IDB report

Mercopress: Latin America and Caribbean region saw faster economic and wage growth thanks to a lowering of trade barriers, a new report by the Inter-American Development Bank shows. The study also provides policy recommendations to ensure the region is better positioned to take advantage of trade liberalization and make its benefits more tangible to citizens. Read more

Making EU trade deals work for citizens

EUObserver: As global trade disputes increase, protectionism is on the rise, and climate protection becomes a mainstream political objective, trade is becoming an increasingly political topic. 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: