Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the week of March 22-28, 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 pandemic continues to dominate regional and international headlines. In the Caribbean, several countries have now implemented states of emergency and instituted curfews.

According to the IMF, the world economy has entered a recession that will be at least as bad as during the global financial crisis or worse. Watch the IMF’s video here. The IMF has also launched a COVID-19 policy tracker which may be accessed here.

Updated estimates by UNCTAD on COVID-19’s economic impact now suggest that the downward pressure on FDI flows could range from -30% to -40% during 2020-2021, much higher than the previous projections of -5% to -15%. Read here

The G20 has agreed to inject over $5 trillion into the global economy to counteract the social, economic and financial impacts of the pandemic. The full statement from the Extraordinary G20 Summit may be read here.

The WTO has not only launched a special page dedicated to COVID-19 and world trade on its website but has asked members to notify COVID-19 trade-related policy measures. A list of these measures may be found here.

On March 27, 2020, several Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreed on a stop gap measure to ensure the continuation of a two-step system for the peaceful and orderly settlement of trade disputes amongst them at the WTO. The new temporary arrangement agreed on, known as the Multiparty Interim Appeal Arbitration Arrangement (MPIA), is based on Article 25 of the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Understanding. Read more here.

REGIONAL NEWS

Jamaica: $2 Billion Grant For Tourism, Small Business Operators

Magnetic Media: Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, has announced the provision of approximately $2 billion in grant assistance for tourism and small businesses impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Jamaica. Read more

Responding To The COVID-19 Pandemic: Jamaica Will Recover” Statement From JAMPRO Chairman, Senator Don Wehby

JIS: These are unprecedented times. The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has wreaked havoc globally with the way we live and our way of doing business. Read more

Guyana paid US$55M for first oil cargo -royalties expected next month

Stabroek: Guyana has been paid US$55 million for its first cargo of crude oil sold in February and the country will receive royalties from production by ExxonMobil in its Liza-1 field on the offshore Stabroek Block next month. Read more

Guyana operations could take a ‘hit’ from Exxon’s Coronavirus measures

Stabroek: The outbreak and subsequent spread of the Coronavirus has had a “devastating effect” on the global oil & gas industry and the likelihood that the effects could be felt in the current phase of Guyana’s fledgling oil & gas sector, which is proceeding under the control of the US super major, ExxonMobil, cannot, it seems, be ruled out. Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

G20 pledges $5 trillion to defend global economy against COVID-19

Al Jazeera: In a show of crisis unity, leaders commit to implement and fund all health measures needed to stop the virus’s spread. Read more

WTO sees sharp fall in trade, calls for global solutions to tackle COVID-19 crisis

Economic Times: WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said cross-border trade and investment flows have a role to play in efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, and will be vital for fostering a stronger recovery once the medical emergency subsides. Read more

IMF chief Georgieva says the world is in a recession, containment will dictate strength of recovery

CNBC: International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva said Friday that the global economy is now in a recession thanks to COVID-19, but that she’s heartened to see world leaders finally realizing that only a coordinated effort will be able to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. Read more

Brexit: EU-UK meeting to go ahead via video link

BBC: A post-Brexit meeting between the EU and UK will go ahead as planned next week, despite the coronavirus crisis. Read more

Kenya-US Free Trade Agreement challenged at regional court

Ventures Africa: Kenya’s plan to sign a free trade deal with the United States is set for a long legal tussle after two lawyers challenged the controversial move at the East African Court of Justice. Christopher Ayieko and Emily Osiemo filed a petition at the regional court challenging the proposed Free Trade Agreement, which is seen as a violation of the East African Community (EAC) Treaty and its protocols. Read more

AUC swears in AFCFTA Secretary General

GhanaWeb: Mr Wamkele Mene, the newly elected Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat has been sworn-in Thursday to give him legitimacy to commence business. Read more

AfCFTA secretary-general urges Africa to seize trade opportunity

CGTN: The Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Wamkele Mene urged Africa not to be discouraged by disruptive effects of the coronavirus pandemic from a trade perspective. Read more

Assessing the economic impacts of COVID-19 on ASEAN countries

East Asia Forum: The effects of COVID-19 are hitting ASEAN economies at a time when other risk factors, such as a global growth slowdown, were already rising. Read more

Oil Below $20 Will Wipe Over 10% Off Many Exporting Countries’ GDP

Forbes: The oil market has taken a hammering in recent months following a slump in crude demand caused by the global coronavirus or CoVid-19 pandemic and the collapse, on March 6, of market co-operation between Saudi and Russian-led group of OPEC and non-OPEC exporters dubbed OPEC+ by the wider market. Read more

WTO chief sees sharp fall in trade, calls for global solutions to COVID-19 crisis

Xinhua: Seeing a very sharp decline in global trade, Roberto Azevedo, director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), on Wednesday said a global solution is needed to address the global challenge brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

Brexit: UK ‘will not seek trade talks extension’ despite Barnier having COVID-19

Euronews: London insists it won’t request an extension to EU-UK trade talks despite the EU’s lead negotiator Michel Barnier announcing he has contracted COVID-19. Read more

Should Coronavirus Delay Brexit Trade Talks?

Forbes: Untangling a relationship four decades in the making, the post-Brexit trade talks were never going to be easy. Throw in a suffocatingly tight time frame—significant progress by June, completion by December—and things looked trickier still. Read more

APEC economies urged to end trade-restrictive policies to help fight COVID-19

China.org: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies must put an end to trade-restrictive policies to help fight COVID-19, the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) said on Saturday. Read more

Singapore, 6 other Pacific countries pledge to keep trade, supply chains going during Covid-19 crisis

Business Times: Singapore and six other Pacific Rim countries have pledged to keep their supply chains open during the Covid-19 pandemic, despite ongoing shocks to trade flows. 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: