Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the week of December 1-8, 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

This week, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Members agreed to a preliminary 2020 budget, but succumbed to US demands regarding funding for the Appellate Body. According to Bloomberg, “the deal limits annual spending for appellate body members to no more than 100,000 francs, an 87% reduction from the full allotment, and caps spending by the body’s operating fund to 100,000 francs, a 95% reduction.”

This coming week is a big week for the WTO and global trade in general. All eyes will be on the General Council meeting on December 9-11, 2019. A draft proposal on changes to the beleaguered Appellate Body will be considered by the General Council in a last ditch effort to save the WTO’s appellate jurisdiction from becoming inoperable when the terms of two of its three remaining Members expire this week. Read about the crisis here.

On another note, the US revised and resubmitted (again) its proposal on Special and Differential Treatment for General Council consideration. Read my note on it here.

On the Brexit front, the UK is set to hold its general elections this week, December 12, 2019. In the US-China trade war, December 15 is the date the Trump Administration set for imposition of the next round of tariffs on Chinese goods. Will the tariffs be imposed or will they be postponed again? The world watches…

REGIONAL NEWS

PM Mottley accepts CARICOM office space in Nairobi, Kenya

Barbados Today: Prime Minister Mia Mottley today accepted, on behalf of her regional colleagues, space in an ultra-modern business complex in Nairobi, Kenya to be the home of a joint diplomatic mission. Read more

As impact of climate crisis worsens, Caribbean islands see six-fold increase in number of children displaced by storms, new UNICEF report shows

UNICEF: The estimated number of children displaced by storms and flooding in the Caribbean islands* saw a six-fold increase in the past five years, a new UNICEF report said today. Read more

UK Expanding Regional Presence: High Commissioner

Barbados Advocate: The United Kingdom (UK) is expanding its presence in the Eastern Caribbean.Word of this comes from British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Her Excellency Janet Douglas. Read more

Belize/Taiwan finalizing trade agreement

LoveFM: Among all the projects between Belize and The Republic of China (Taiwan), the two countries are now trying to finalize a new agreement. This agreement will help Belize in exporting more products, including sugar. Read more

US ambassador shares priority list with AMCHAM executives

Jamaica Observer: United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Donald Tapia has reiterated that cyber security, energy, and closer US-Jamaica trade links are some of the key areas on his priority list for Jamaica. Read more

CARICOM works to increase cooperation with the European Union

Prensa Latina: The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is committed today to increasing trade and services cooperation with the European Union (EU), after 11 years of the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). Read more

Jampro encourages local companies to use services

Jamaica Observer: President of Jamaica Promotions Corporation (Jampro) Diane Edwards is encouraging local companies to take full advantage of Jampro’s range of services to drive investment and trade in Jamaica. Read more

CLA licensees trade $84m in cannabis since May

Jamaica Observer: For the period May to November this year, trading among Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) licensees has been valued at US$629,000 (J$84.2 million). Read more

CARICOM Special Rapporteur wants more access for Persons with Disabilities

The Montserrat Reporter: the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Special Rapporteur on Disability, Dr. Floyd Morris, Tuesday reiterated a call for access for Persons with Disabilities as the region joined the global community in observing International Day of Disabled Persons. Read more

20,000 CARICOM citizens await response on cheaper airfares

Loop St Lucia: The petition to address high intra-regional travel taxes has been signed, sealed and delivered to all CARICOM Heads of Government. Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

WTO Members Agree on a 2020 Budget, Averting Jan. 1 Shutdown

Bloomberg: World Trade Organization members agreed to a preliminary 2020 budget, bowing to U.S. demands to choke off funding to the alliance’s appellate body. Read more

WTO faces crisis over settlement disputes unless Trump backs off

The Guardian: The World Trade Organization is set to plunge into the biggest crisis in its 25-year history later this week as the climax to a long-running and bitter dispute means the Geneva-based body will cease to be able to settle disputes between its member states. Read more

WTO tries to grapple with existing caseload before critical date next week

CBC: The World Trade Organization (WTO) battled on Tuesday over whether to bring its Appellate Body to an abrupt halt or allow its adjudicators to settle a handful of pending cases, according to trade officials present at a meeting on the subject. Read more

RCEP countries must pay heed to India’s concerns

Hindu Business Line: India’s doubts on issues like exports and its economic relations with China are genuine and crucial for growth. Only when these are resolved, should India consider joining the agreement again. Read more

China exports fall again as US trade war continues

BBC: China’s exports fell in November as shipments to the US slowed sharply, adding to concerns about the effects of the two nations’ trade war. Read more

U.S. trade deficit shrinks sharply; labor market tight

Reuters: The U.S. trade deficit dropped to its lowest level in nearly 1-1/2 years in October, suggesting trade could contribute to economic growth in the fourth quarter, though a broad decline in imports hinted at a slowdown in domestic demand. Read more

Boris Johnson refuses to rule out leaving EU on WTO terms

The Guardian: Boris Johnson has left the door open to coming out of the EU on World Trade Organization terms next year, after his foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, said it was “absolutely” right to keep a no-deal outcome on the table in trade talks. Read more

WTO: 163 countries agree to make changes in rules governing trade dispute resolution

Hindu Business Line: In an unusual development on Friday, 163 countries agreed to make comprehensive changes to the rules governing the resolution of trade disputes merely to placate one member — the US — for keeping the Appellate Body afloat, trade envoys said. Read more

Drug protections to be rolled back in USMCA, Mexico says

Washington Examiner: A top Mexican official has claimed that protections for biologic drugs are being rolled back in the pending trade deal being negotiated by the Trump administration, an apparent compromise that could attract Democratic support at the cost of the pharmaceutical industry. Read more

AU urges greater intra-Africa trade

Xinhua: The African Union (AU) on Tuesday stressed the need to unlock intra-Africa trade as only less than 20 percent of goods produced in Africa currently staying within the continent. Read more

US vows 100% tariffs on French Champagne, cheese, handbags over digital tax

Euractiv: The US government on Monday (2 November) said it may slap punitive duties of up to 100% on $2.4 billion in imports from France of Champagne, handbags, cheese and other products, after concluding that France’s new digital services tax would harm US tech companies. Read more

We will ‘react as one’, EU tells US over French digital tax dispute

Euractiv: The European Commission wants to settle the latest trade dispute with the US over the French digital tax “amicably” but warned that the bloc will “react as one” if Washington slaps tariffs on Paris. Read more

EU-Ghana endorse market access offer and schedule under Economic Partnership Agreement

EU: The second meeting of the EPA Committee under the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Ghana and the EU was held in Brussels on 29th November 2019. Read more

Apec must press on towards free trade area of the Asia-Pacific, says Chile’s president Sebastian Pinera

Strait Times: Apec has to continue working towards its goal of a free trade area spanning the Pacific Ocean, the outgoing chairman of the regional grouping said on Saturday (Dec 7). Read more

APEC pledges to further cooperation in Chile year’s closing meeting

Xinhua: Members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) pledged to further their cooperation at the APEC Concluding Senior Officials’ Meeting (CSOM) held here on Saturday. Read more

STRAIGHT FROM THE WTO

NEW ON THE CTLD BLOG

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: