Welcome to our final Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the year 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 week of December 9-14, 2019! We do hope that you have enjoyed our Digests over the past year!

THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS

Several major trade developments happened this week. It is quite a mouthful so let us go one by one, starting with the bad and ending with the good:

The bad

One sad development is that as of December 11, the WTO’s Appellate Body no longer has the quorum required to hear new appeals to panel decisions. It was later reported that the two outgoing Appellate Body members will stay on temporarily to complete some existing appeals. Read more here.

The WTO Director-General’s annual report to the TPRB of trade-related developments shows that between mid-October 2018 and mid-October 2019, the trade coverage of import-restrictive measures implemented by members was estimated at USD 747 billion – the highest trade coverage recorded since October 2012. Read the full news item here.

On the COP25, the climate talks have ended with a compromise. Read here

The good

Some good news is that the WTO’s General Council at its last meeting for the year has approved the WTO’s budget for 2020 and extended two important moratoria related to customs duties on electronic transmissions and the initiation of “non-violation” complaints under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Read more here.

Additionally, the Trump Administration finally struck a deal with congressional Democrats on changes to the USMCA – the agreement to replace NAFTA. This should hopefully clear the path for US domestic ratification of the deal which was originally signed in November 2018 and whose amended version was signed by the three countries this week. Read the Protocol of Amendment here.

The 9th ACP Summit of Heads of State and Government was held this week in Nairobi, Kenya from December 9-10. The ACP has been renamed the Organisation of Africa, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS).

Turning to Brexit, the British electorate has given the ruling Conservative Party a decisive win. Does this mean a clear path forward now for Brexit? Maybe or maybe not. Read my commentary on it here!

On the US-China trade war front, the US and China have announced completion of a ‘phase one’ trade deal. As such, the anticipated December 15, US tariffs on Chinese goods have not been implemented.

REGIONAL NEWS

CARICOM countries to benefit from global e-mobility programme

Dominica News Online: Three Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries are to benefit from a new Global Environment Facility (GEF) global e-mobility programme that has been launched at the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25). Read more

UWI Strengthening Canada-Caribbean Relations

UWI: Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI), Professor Sir Hilary Beckles is pleased to announce that the proposal for the establishment of the Canada-Caribbean Institute (CCI) was approved at a meeting of the University Finance and General Purposes Committee UFGPC) on October 30, 2019. Read more

Barbados ‘may seek WTO ease’ on milling competition

Barbados Today: Competition is heating up among the regional flour mills, threatening the milling industry in Barbados and the wider region, the industry and commerce minister said today, suggesting that Barbados ought to appeal to global trade arbiter for protection against extra-regional suppliers. Read more

WTO: Are we in or out?

EyeWitness News: The country’s World Trade Organization (WTO) accession has effectively come to a standstill, the nation’s chief negotiator has confirmed. Read more

Social Media ‘Untruths’ Impact Bid To Join Wto

The Tribune: The Bahamas’ bid to attain full World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership has been made harder by the spread of untruths on social media, the Government’s top negotiator has argued. Read more

Wto: Bahamas May Have To Open Reserved Industries

The Tribune: The Bahamas may have to open some of the 16 industries reserved solely for local ownership to foreign competition in becoming a full WTO member, the government’s top negotiator is warning. Read more

Bahamas must flip approach to WTO

The Tribune: The Bahamas should go “full steam ahead” in pursuing World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership through a private sector-driven approach that improves competitiveness, an attorney is arguing. Read more

Belarus and Barbados establish diplomatic ties

Belarus News: Permanent Representative of Belarus to the UN Valentin Rybakov and Permanent Representative of Barbados to the UN Henrietta Elizabeth Thompson signed a joint communique to establish diplomatic relations between the countries, BelTA learned from the press service of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Read more

Action Being Taken To Make The Export Of Goods And Services Easier

JIS: State Minister for Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, says the Government is working to make the export of local goods and services easier, by reducing the associated costs and processes. Read more

South Holland Council is working on trading links with Jamaica

Spalding Today: Officials have been forging closer relationships for trading produce between South Holland and Jamaica. Read more

AMCHAM Jamaica signs MoU with US Embassy

Jamaica Observer: United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Donald Tapia today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the American Chamber of Commerce of Jamaica (AMCHAM Jamaica) cementing the business relationship between the two organisations. Read more

CARICOM and AFRICA – The Ties That Bind

New York CaribNews: We are pleased to see the furtherance of collaboration between Africa takes another step with the opening of a CARICOM Office in Nairobi, Kenya. The Pan African movement of decades ago promoted the cultural heritage and historic ties and one that should also involve economic development. Read more

Jampro Eyes Threefold Export Sales Growth For Max III Companies

Jamaica Gleaner: Jampro president Diane Edwards is ­expecting the third cohort of companies selected for the Export Max programme to triple their export sales through their participation in the initiative. Read more

Africa to open air and sea for trade with Caribbean and Pacific

Star: The ninth African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) ended in Nairobi on Tuesday, with 79 countries pledging to promote inter Africa trade against unfair global trade practices. Read more

79-member ACP now Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States

Jamaica Observer: The African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group yesterday ended a two-day summit here, agreeing to rename the 45-year-old organisation as the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS). Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

WTO chief: ‘Months’ needed to fix disputes body

BBC: Director General of the World Trade Organisation Roberto Azevedo says it will take “a few months” to fix its main body for settling trade disputes. Read more

What’s in the U.S.-China ‘phase one’ trade deal

Reuters: The United States and China have agreed on the terms of a “phase one” trade deal that reduces some U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods while boosting Chinese purchases of American farm, energy and manufactured goods and addressing some U.S. complaints about intellectual property practices. Read more

US, Mexico, Canada sign USMCA trade deal

DW: Canada, Mexico and the United States have reached an agreement on a revised North American free trade pact. The deal, seen as a replacement for the 25-year-old NAFTA, is the result of more than two years of wrangling. Read more

New North America Trade Deal Seen as Template for Deals to Come

WSJ: USMCA’s provisions could find their way into other trade deals, based on Trump administration’s reworking of Nafta. Read more

Evaluating the new USMCA

CATO: Read the analysis from CATO Institute on the new USMCA. Read more

ACP renamed as the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States

Papua New Guinea Today: The 9th Summit of Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Head of States and Government Tuesday approved the renaming of the group to be now called the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS). Read more

UK must be loyal on standards in return for market access – Macron

The Guardian: Emmanuel Macron has warned Boris Johnson that the UK must remain “loyal” to EU standards post-Brexit for British companies to maintain access to the European market. Read more

Sturgeon: Scotland wants different future from rest of UK

BBC: SNP leader says election results made clear Scottish voters don’t want a Boris Johnson government or Brexit. Read more

Michael Gove promises Brexit trade deal with EU by end of 2020

Guardian: Minister says transitional arrangements will definitely stop on 31 December next year. Read more

Election results 2019: Five big things on Boris Johnson’s to-do list

BBC: With a substantial majority in Parliament, Boris Johnson can push ahead with his plans, confident that MPs will back them. So, what’s in the prime minister’s in-tray as he returns to work in Downing Street? Read more

Brexit and EU trade deal are Boris Johnson’s priorities, says Michael Gove

EU Today: The top priority of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is to leave the European Union on January 31st, and to secure a new trade deal with the EU by the end of next year, cabinet office minister Michael Gove, who is likely to be the UK’s lead trade negotiator with the EU, said on Sunday. Read more

Europe reacts: Time frame for post-Brexit trade deal ‘is challenging’, says EU chief

Euronews: The European Union have welcomed Boris Johnson’s thumping general election victory, calling for the Brexit deal to be ratified as soon as possible with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stressing that “the time frame ahead of us is very challenging”. Read more

Australian trade to be a winner in post-Brexit world, Brandis says

The Sydney Morning Herald: Australia’s top envoy in London says political obstacles in the path of a massive free-trade agreement between Boris Johnson and Donald Trump leave Prime Minister Scott Morrison as the frontrunner to strike the world’s first post-Brexit economic deal with the United Kingdom. Read more

ACP summit ends with adoption of resolutions to boost multilateralism

XInhua: The ninth summit of African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) heads of state and government ended in Nairobi on Tuesday with the adoption of resolutions to promote a rules-based international order. Read more

WTO Appeals Judges to Stay On to Complete Several Decisions-WTO Official

NY Times: World Trade Organization (WTO) judges will complete decisions on three pending appeals for which hearings have been held – despite the collapse of the Appellate Body earlier this week – a WTO official said on Thursday. Read more

Experts call for integrating digital economy with AfCFTA to spur Africa’s development

News Ghana: African experts and policymakers on Thursday called for integrating the digital economy with the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) so as to harness potentials of the continental free trade pact. Read more

Experts meet to validate African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Business Index

Business Ghana: The aim of the index is to provide an assessment of the extent to which businesses across Africa find trading across borders in Africa challenging, and to identify the main barriers to trade. Read more

Cut red tape to boost trade, Uhuru urges Africa, Caribbean, Pacific states

Business Today: President Uhuru Kenyatta has called for improvement of regulatory and institutional frameworks to promote faster economic growth among developing countries in Africa and the Caribbean. Read more

The African Continental Free Trade Area Could Boost African Agency in International Trade

Chatham House: The agreement, which entered into force in May, could be a major step for Africa’s role in international trade, if the continent can overcome barriers to implementation. Read more

Uhuru seeks to review skewed EU trade agreements

Nation: President Uhuru Kenyatta has termed current trade agreements with the European Union as largely imbalanced. Read more

STRAIGHT FROM THE WTO

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