Happy Women’s Day! Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the week of March 1-7, 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

The COVID-19 outbreak has intensified, with the number of reported cases now surpassing 100,000. With over 80,000 cases to date, China – where the virus first originated in December 2019 – remains the most affected country. South Korea, Iran and Italy have also seen a high number of cases. Coronavirus fears continue to negatively impact stock markets and global shipping.

According to a recently published technical note by UNCTAD, COVID-19 has not only led to a slowdown in manufacturing in China, but “is disrupting world trade and could result in a $US50 billion decrease in exports across global value chains”. Read more

The WTO’s General Council met this week. Among other things, Members agreed to launch a Working Party for the accession of Curacao as a separate customs territory.

REGIONAL NEWS

St. Lucia to launch new National Export Strategy

NYCaribNews: The St. Lucia government will launch the island’s five- year National Export Stagey (NES) that it says provides a roadmap to the growth and development of the export sector. Read more

Expect to feel the effect of coronavirus in the next two months

The Guardian (TT): The lo­cal busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty is brac­ing for the im­pact of the coro­n­avirus, from the im­ple­men­ta­tion of con­ti­nu­ity plans to lo­cat­ing al­ter­nate sup­pli­ers to ad­just­ing busi­ness mod­els; lo­cal play­ers are work­ing ve­he­ment­ly to en­sure their sur­vival as in­ter­na­tion­al ex­perts warn “the worst is yet to come.” Read more

CARICOM diplomats to Chair two WTO bodies

CARICOM: Representatives from two CARICOM Member States have been identified to Chair World Trade Organisation (WTO) bodies. Read more

Business urged to partner with Government on the SDGs

Barbados Today: With Government preparing for a comprehensive review of its progress in achieving the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Foreign Minister Senator Jerome Walcott has challenged businesses to do more to join the effort. Read more

Cruise ships divert as Caribbean countries implement coronavirus travel bans

Miami Herald: Two Carnival Cruise Line ships are redrawing Caribbean itineraries this week as several countries tighten travel restrictions to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Read more

Pakistan Eager To Trade With Jamaica – I Will Strongly Push For A Head-Of-State Visit – High Commissioner Khan

Jamaica Gleaner: If Pakistan High Commissioner to Jamaica Dr Asad Khan has his way, Jamaica could shortly be on the list of countries for the next visit by President Arif Alvi or Prime Minister Imran Khan. Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

How making trade faster and easier empowers women around the world

World Economic Forum: International women’s day is an opportunity to reflect on solutions to achieving gender equality goals. One such route to women’s empowerment is by providing opportunities for women to trade and ensuring that the benefits of trade facilitation reform – making trade faster, easier and more cost-effective – reach women around the world. Read more

Barnier warns of grave differences between EU and UK in trade talks

The Guardian: EU negotiator sets out main obstacles to deal, including rights convention and fishing. Read more

Coronavirus outbreak has cost global value chains $50 billion in exports

UNCTAD: The slowdown of manufacturing in China due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is disrupting world trade and could result in a $US50 billion decrease in exports across global value chains, according to estimates published by UNCTAD on 4 March. Read more

Coronavirus COVID-19 wipes $50 billion off global exports in February alone, as IMF pledges support for vulnerable nations

UN: In remarks made at a joint press conference with the head of the World Bank Group, the IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, said that the UN-backed global funds would make up the shortfall, in effect, by offering to inject around $50 billion into low-income and emerging market nations, pending requests for support. Read more

East African nations projected to earn $1.8 billion from AfCFTA

CGTN Africa: Eastern African nations are anticipated to earn 184 billion shillings (about 1.8 billion U.S. dollars) in welfare gains from the successful implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), says a United Nations report released on Thursday. Read more

Commodity economies face their own reckoning due to covid-19

Economist: Now, as the shock of the covid-19 pandemic works its way through the world’s new, tangled economic plumbing, commodity-dependent economies find themselves exposed. Read more

Covid-19 Threatens Global Trade, Hits Shipping Industry Hard

Hellenic Shipping News: Since the outbreak of Coronavirus (nCovid-19) in China, trade especially shipping which has been the most affected sector around the world as the international shipping industry is responsible for the carriage of around 90 per cent of the world’s trade. Read more

Coronavirus: Fear returns to stock markets

BBC: Global stock markets have fallen sharply as investors continue to worry about the broader economic effects of the coronavirus. Read more

Coronavirus: Eight charts on how it has shaken economies

BBC: The coronavirus outbreak, which originated in China, has infected tens of thousands of people. Its spread has left businesses around the world counting costs. Read more

Von der Leyen sees ‘momentum’ for improving EU-US relations

Euractiv: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday (5 March) “there might be momentum” for improving the EU’s relationship with the US, but it remained unclear when she will present a trade offer to US President Donald Trump to avoid further tariffs. Read more

Africa urged to mobilize FDIs to expand intra-African trade

KBC: African states have been urged to be open to foreign direct investment from African countries as well as adopt regional concepts of local content to boost intra African trade in readiness for theroll out of the African continental free trade agreement in three months. Read more

Brexit: Preparations cost government more than £4bn says watchdog

BBC: Government departments spent more than £4bn on preparations for leaving the EU, says the public spending watchdog. Read more

‘Virus’ of US unilateralism threatens WTO

Hindu Business Line: The US’ persistent efforts to deny special and differential treatment to developing countries has destabilised the institution. Read more

The U.S.-India trade deal fell through. What happens now?

Washington Post: The United States and India failed to produce a trade agreement, although there were repeated hints that the two sides were racing to complete the deal. Read more

India blocks first request by EU at WTO for dispute panel on ICT import duties

Hindu Business Line: India has blocked a first request from the European Union for the establishment of a dispute panel to rule on tariffs imposed by New Delhi on certain information and communication technology (ICT) goods including mobile phones, cameras, headphones and earphones at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Read more

UK statement to the WTO Trade Negotiations Committee

Gov.uk: The UK’s Ambassador to the WTO and UN in Geneva, Julian Braithwaite, delivered a statement to the WTO Trade Negotiations Committee on 2 March 2020. Read more

Brazil, Argentina representatives meet over trade concerns

BN Americas: A delegation led by Argentina’s head of congress, Sergio Massa, visited Brazilian counterparts in a sign of slowly thawing relations between the countries. Read more

Indonesia still deserves special treatment in global trade: Economists

Jakarta Post: Indonesia still deserves special treatment in global trade despite the United States recently taking the archipelago off its list of developing countries, local economists have said. 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: