Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the week of March 15-21, 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

COVID-19

Several Caribbean countries are now among those well over 100 countries worldwide which have reported cases of COVID-19. Globally, cases have reached over 200,000 while Italy has overtaken China’s death toll.

Caribbean governments’ policy responses to mitigate the human and economic impact of COVID-19 have varied. Read more about Caribbean governments’ COVID-19 policy measures in my latest article here: COVID-19: How have Caribbean governments responded so far?

CARICOM Agricultural Ministers met 19 March 2020 to chart a COVID-19 food and nutrition security and availability response.

CCJ delivers first Advisory Opinion

On March 18, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has released its first Advisory Opinion. Among other things, the Court has opined that freedom of movement of skilled nationals is a ‘fundamental objective’ of the Community, but that the opt-out granted by the Conference of Heads of Government to two Member States (Antigua & Barbuda and St. Kitts & Nevis) from the enlargement decision of Feb 2019 extending freedom of movement to security guards and agricultural workers is not prejudicial to this fundamental objective. Read more about the Advisory Opinion here.

REGIONAL

Cuba and China send aid and doctors around the world in fight against Covid-19

Morning Star: China and Cuba continued to lead the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic today. Read more

New CARICOM/ private sector body formed

Barbados Today: A new CARICOM/Caribbean private sector organization has been established to facilitate the planning processes of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and to help with implementing some of the various initiatives under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). Read more

Barbados PM rolls out COVID-19 economic plan

Nation News: Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley last night rolled out several initiatives expected to help Barbados keep its head above water in the battle with the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more

Major losses, tourism business slumps in Barbados

Barbados Today: Hoteliers are reeling from cancellations and no-shows from the COVID-19 pandemic, with millions of dollars in losses, some attractions reporting up to 70 per cent decline in business and others facing possible closure, tourism officials and executives said today. Read more

JSE Roiled By Virus As Investors Head For Safe Haven

Jamaica Gleaner: Jamaican stocks suffered another collapse on the first day of a government shutdown Wednesday as a virus-containment strategy, then clawed back a tiny portion of those losses on Thursday. Read more

Business Continuity Insurance Not On Offer – It’s Too Difficult To Price, Says IAJ Spokesman

Jamaica Gleaner: Business continuity insurance will not cover Jamaican companies in the event of losses arising from the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus. That’s the word from the general insurance sector, while businesses contemplate the likely fallout from forced absence and low productivity as they scale back to mitigate the spread of the virus. Read more

Entire closure of Jamaica’s tourism industry due to COVID 19

Jamaica Observer: Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett is admitting that the entire tourism industry in Jamaica is facing imminent closure given the travel restrictions on many of its source markets as well as local containment and restriction protocols. Read more

INTERNATIONAL

Coronavirus: E.U. announces sweeping ban on most nonessential incoming travel

NBC: “We need to do more to reduce huge pressure on our health care system,” said Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president. Read more

COVID-19 Pandemic and Latin America and the Caribbean: Time for Strong Policy Actions

IMF Blog: COVID-19 is spreading very quickly. This is no longer a regional issue—it is a challenge calling for a global response. Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have been hit later than other regions from the pandemic and therefore have a chance to flatten the curve of contagion. Read more

Statement on COVID-19 economic policy response

EU: Following up on the videoconference on 10 March 2020 between European Council Members, as well as the ECB President, the Eurogroup President and the High Representative, the Eurogroup held an in-depth discussion today, together with non-Euro Area Members, on how to respond to the extraordinary human and economic crisis caused by the Corona virus. Read more

Majority of Britons support extending Brexit transition period amid coronavirus outbreak, new poll shows

The Independent: The majority of Britons want the Brexit transition period to be extended after negotiations were put on ice due to the coronavirus outbreak, a new poll shows. Read more

World Bank Group Increases COVID-19 Response to $14 Billion To Help Sustain Economies, Protect Jobs

World Bank: The World Bank and IFC’s Boards of Directors approved today an increased $14 billion package of fast-track financing to assist companies and countries in their efforts to prevent, detect and respond to the rapid spread of COVID-19. Read more

Kenya, US start talks on trade agreement

Business Daily: The US trade department has started negotiations on comprehensive trade agreement with Kenya in a move that will extend Kenya’s preferential access after the current deal ends in 2025. Read more

Turkey challenges EU steel import curbs at WTO

Daily Sabah: Turkey has launched a legal challenge at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against an EU-imposed curb on steel imports after the effective closure of the U.S. market. Read more

U.S. to boost tariffs on Airbus planes Wednesday, adding pressure on airlines

Reuters: The United States is expected to increase U.S. tariffs on Airbus planes by 50% on Wednesday, U.S. and European officials say, dealing a further blow to U.S. airlines already hammered by sharp drops in travel due to the coronavirus pandemic. Read more

Japan Wants WTO Panel on India’s Smartphone Tariffs

Nippon: The Japanese government Thursday asked the World Trade Organization to set up a dispute settlement panel over India’s tariffs on smartphones and some other electronic products. 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: