Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the week of January 12-18, 2020! 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 was a busy week for trade news. The US-China phase one deal was signed. While it does not address all of the issues affecting US-China trade relations, it attempts a first crack at it. The full text of the Agreement may be accessed here.

The US is one step closer to ratification of the revised USMCA. The US Senate’s approved revised US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) by an overwhelming vote of 89 to 10, and the bill now goes to the President for signature.

REGIONAL NEWS

ACP EU CARICOM Workshop Set for Saint Lucia

The Voice: Regional and international quality professionals from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the European Union (EU) will gather in Saint Lucia next week as three days of discussions and training focussed on strengthening regional trade, get underway at the Coco Palm Resort, Rodney Bay, Castries. Read more

Trade between Cuba and Russia grows in 2019

On Cuba News: In 2019, commercial exchange between Cuba and Russia exceeded 500 million dollars, Cuban ambassador in Moscow Gerardo Peñalver Portal said to Sputnik. Read more

TT moves to improve cross-border trade

Newsday: A new port technology platform will help to improve this country’s trading across borders, said Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon. Read more

Paula pushes pan grant

Newsday: Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon told Newsday she was very pleased at Friday’s talks with Pan Trinbago president Beverly Ramsey-Moore and University of Trinidad and Tobago governor Prof Clem Imbert to promote her ministry’s new $5 million grant-facility to make steel pans. Read more

TT Chamber CEO praises non-energy export growth

Newsday: Chamber of Industry and Commerce CEO Gabriel Faria said the chamber is pleased with growth in non-energy exports. “This shows the benefit collaboration can bring,” he said. Read more

UK and TT strengthen trade ties

Newsday: British High Commissioner Tim Stew has urged local companies to engage with the UK companies which were brought in by the Department for International Trade (DIT) for the UK Defence and Security Trade Mission. Read more

Rum-makers report rising sales

Barbados Today: One of Barbados’ main rum producers is reporting a major turn around in its export business, which climbed over 80 per cent in the last three years. Read more

Local Manufacturers Welcome Article 164 Implementation

The Voice: Many St Lucians may be unaware of the January 1, 2020 implementation of Article 164 of the RTC. Read more

Jamaica import bill rises by 6.5% in the first nine months of 2019

Jamaica Observer: Jamaica’s imports for January to September 2019 were valued at US$4,816.5 million, an increase of 6.5 per cent when compared to US$4,520.4 million which was spent for the similar period in 2018 according to the International Merchandise Trade (IMT) Bulletin released recently by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN). Read more

Imports from the OECS, Haiti and Belize to attract zero percent tariff rate

St Lucia News Online: A decision by CARICOM is set to benefit less developed countries (LDCs) of CARICOM including Saint Lucia. Read more

Solving Jamaica’s Export Challenges

Jamaica Gleaner: The export of Jamaican goods and services has long been recommended as the pillar on which the country can drive real and consistent growth while positively impacting many of Jamaica’s socio-economic challenges. Read more

JMEA expresses concerns after release of import-export figures

Jamaica Observer: Following the issuing of the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) report on the state of the country’s imports and exports situation for the period January to September 2019, the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA) has expressed its concerns at the figures. Read more

Guatemala asks OAS to facilitate meeting with Government of Belize

Breaking Belize News: Guаtеmаlаn mеdіа, Аgеnсіа Guаtеmаltеса dе Nоtісіаѕ rероrtеd thаt Guаtеmаlаn Рrеѕіdеnt, Аlејаndrо Gіаmmеttі hаѕ аѕkеd thе Оrgаnіzаtіоn оf Аmеrісаn Ѕtаtеѕ (ОАЅ) tо fасіlіtаtе а mееtіng wіth thе Gоvеrnmеnt оf Веlіzе.Ассоrdіng tо thе rероrt, thе mееtіng wіll bе tо рrоmоtе іntеrасtіоn аnd gооd rеlаtіоnѕ wіth Веlіzе іn оrdеr tо tаkе аdvаntаgе оf орроrtunіtіеѕ іn trаdе аnd tоurіѕm, аmоng оthеrѕ. Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Senate OKs North American Trade Deal To Replace NAFTA, Giving Trump A Much-Needed Win

NPR: The Senate overwhelmingly approved a revised North American trade pact in a rare bipartisan vote Thursday that hands President Trump a victory on a key campaign promise just as lawmakers are preparing his impeachment trial. Read more

U.S., EU, Japan agree new subsidy rules with China trade in focus

Reuters: The United States, the European Union and Japan proposed new global trade rules on Tuesday to curb subsidies they say are distorting the worldwide economy, with China their clear target. Read more

Mercosur braces for change amid calls for new trade rules

Buenos Aires Times: Regional trade bloc faces uncertain future, with Argentina now in the minority and Uruguay and Brazil seeking the right to secure trade deals outside the bloc’s remit. Read more

Mercosur summit in Paraguay will address a review of the external tariff

Mercopress: The upcoming Summit of Heads of State of the Southern Common Market Mercosur, to be held in late June or early July this year, will be held in Encarnacion, capital of Itapúa Department, Paraguay. Read more

With Brexit imminent, what are the chances of a UK trade deal with China?

The Guardian: Last week, Donald Trump and Liu He, the Chinese vice-premier, signed phase one of a new trade arrangement between the US and China. The talks surrounding the agreement have been tortuous, leading to fears that the world could be caught up in a trade conflict between these two economic giants. Read more

Trade Peace May Hurt Countries Left Out of U.S.-China Deal

Bloomberg: President Donald Trump is set to sign his phase one trade accord with China on Wednesday and the public will finally get its first chance to look beneath the hood. A key question for other nations: How will China’s commitment to buy $200 billion worth of additional American goods and services impact their access to the world’s biggest economies? Read more

Trade centers in regional countries to spur non-oil exports

Tehran Times: To expand non-oil exports during the sanctions time, Iranian economic and trade organizations have been defining some strategies and resolved to pursue them vigorously. Read more

Europe to assess whether US-China deal is WTO compatible

Euractiv: The EU will assess whether a US-China deal to roll back some bilateral tariffs in exchange for increased US imports to China is compatible with World Trade Organisation rules, said Trade commissioner Phil Hogan on Thursday (16 January). Read more

US-China trade rapprochement round one

East Asia Forum: The conclusion of phase one of the trade negotiations between the United States and China has been welcomed by global markets because it has brushed off many uncertainties caused by the tense relationship between the world’s two largest economies over the past two years. Read more

Brexit trade deals on the table at UK-Africa summit

African Business Magazine: Organised by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), in partnership with Department of Trade (DIT), the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, (FCO) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the one-day summit and side events are designed to seal UK-African business deals as the UK prepares to formally leave the European Union (EU) on 31 January. Read more

UK channels aid budget as it seeks closer ties with Africa post-Brexit

The Guardian: Britain has unveiled plans to channel part of the £14bn aid budget through the City as it seeks to exploit the global reach of the finance sector to boost investment in Africa. Read more

BRICS: What’s in it for Africa?

Africa.com: The BRICS group of emerging economies (made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) gather at the 5th annual BRICS summit in Durban, South Africa. It is the first time the summit is being held in Africa – and rightly so – as the theme for this year is BRICS and AFRICA: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialisation. State leaders of the five countries will be among at least 5,000 delegates at the two-day summit. Read more

China’s trade with Africa grows 2.2 per cent in 2019 to US$208 billion

South China Morning Post: Two-way trade grew by just 2.2 per cent in 2019 to US$208.7 billion, compared with a 20 per cent rise a year earlier, according to official figures from China’s General Administration of Customs. Read more

Investment will overshadow trade in Japan-U.S. talks

Japan Times: The Japan-U.S. Trade Agreement (JUSTA), the pinnacle for modern trade policy between the two allies, is now in force. Read more

US tariffs on autos not mentioned in talks, EU trade chief says

Deutsche Welle: In Washington to smooth out trade differences with the Trump administration, an EU commissioner said the subject of car tariffs did not come up. German carmakers will be happy to see the issue off the negotiating table. Read more

UK treasury chief: Some businesses may hurt after Brexit

The Associated Press: The British government has announced plans for special events on the night of Jan. 31 when the country officially leaves the European Union but the country’s treasury chief has admitted that some U.K. business sectors will suffer as a result. Read more

U.K. Economy Won’t Stay Close to EU After Brexit, Javid Says

Bloomberg: U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid signaled Britain is planning to shift its economy further away from the European Union’s, firing an early salvo in what’s set to be a fractious year in hammering out their future relationship. Read more

Asean, RCEP trade partners unlikely beneficiaries from US-China trade war, Deloitte economist says

South China Morning Post: An unexpected effect of the US-China trade war has been an apparent acceleration of the process to forge an Asian trading bloc that does not include United States, according to Deloitte China’s chief economist Xu Sitao. Read more

India’s ‘door still open’ to RCEP free-trade deal: Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar

South China Morning Post: More than two months after India pulled out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has suggested New Delhi could rethink its decision. Read more

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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: