Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the week of April 19-25, 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 fifteenth session of the UNCTAD Ministerial Conference (UNCTAD 15), which was to be held in October this year in Barbados, has become the latest trade conference to be postponed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Official word of this came from the Barbados Government this week which can be read here.

The USMCA will go in effect on July 1, 2020. Read more

The CARICOM Secretariat’s live blog on CARICOM Member States and Associate Members’ figures in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic may be accessed here.

REGIONAL NEWS

COVID-19 to cause biggest economic contraction ever in Latin America & Caribbean

UN: The COVID-19 pandemic will herald the worst economic contraction in the history of Latin American and the Caribbean, with a projected -5.3 per cent drop in activity this year, according to a report by the UN office for the region, ECLAC, published on Tuesday. Read more

Talking Exports: How Caribbean Export Will Support Region’s Private Sector through COVID-19

CARICOM: The COVID-19 pandemic will have a significant impact on the private sector and economies globally. The economic slowdown will severely affect MSMEs, as they suffer from the impact of government decreed shutdowns, supply chain disruption and demand contraction. Read more

Measures agreed upon to allow travel between Guyana, Suriname

CARICOM: Some new ground rules have been agreed to by both Guyana and Suriname on travels between the two neighbours, in light of the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

IICA will assist the Caribbean to boost trade in goods and agricultural information exchange, as well as to strengthen food security

St Lucia News Online: Thirteen Caribbean Ministers of Agriculture participated in a videoconference with the Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), in which they discussed strategies to bolster agricultural activity and to safeguard the food supply amidst the ongoing health crisis, in a region that relies heavily on food imports and on tourism. Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Govt sees GDP, investment boost if joins CPTPP trade pact

Bangkok Post: Thailand could expect a boost to its economic growth, investment and exports to help offset the negative impact of the new coronavirus pandemic if it participates in an Asia-Pacific trade agreement, the commerce ministry said on Monday. Read more

Covid-19 response: New Zealand and Singapore launch initiative to ensure free flow of essential goods

New Zealand Government: New Zealand and Singapore today launched a new trade initiative to ensure supply chain connectivity and the removal of blockages to trade in a list of essential products that includes medicines, medical and surgical equipment. Read more

WTO and IMF heads call for lifting trade restrictions on medical supplies and food

IMF: As our members grapple with their response to the global health and economic crisis, we call for more attention to the role of open trade policies in defeating the virus, restoring jobs, and reinvigorating economic growth. Read more

80 countries are hoarding medical supplies – here’s why it damages the global response to COVID-19

WEF: Eighty countries and customs territories have banned or limited the export of face masks, protective gear, gloves and other goods to mitigate shortages since the coronavirus outbreak began, the World Trade Organization reported on Thursday. Read more

New USMCA trade pact to go into effect on July 1

Financial Post: U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Friday said he has notified Congress that the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement will take effect on July 1, a month later than initially proposed. Read more

U.S. should avoid phased approach in trade talks with Kenya: Chamber of Commerce

Reuters: The United States should work to achieve a single, comprehensive agreement with Kenya that removes barriers to trade and investment, instead of pursuing a phased approach, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in a document viewed by Reuters. Read more

The AfCFTA Gets Locked Down for the Year

AllAfrica: The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) has become the latest in the many casualties of the devastating coronavirus pandemic which has so far infected over 2.7 million people and killed more than 191 000 globally. In Africa the toll is over 27 000 cases and 1 298 deaths. Read more

UK will need to extend Brexit transition, Merkel ally warns Britain

The Guardian: Boris Johnson must extend the UK’s transition out of the EU for up to two years to avoid compounding the economic damage of the coronavirus pandemic with a hugely disruptive and disorderly Brexit, according to a close ally of Angela Merkel. Read more

Argentina to Exit Mercosur Trade Talks to Focus on Problems at Home

New York Times: Argentina has decided to withdraw from ongoing trade negotiations with South American trade bloc Mercosur as it turns its focus on the growing economic crisis at home, the bloc said in a statement late on Friday. Read more

Mercosur: Argentina only interested in block’s negotiations with Europe

Mercopress: In the midst of the chaotic situation caused by the pandemic, the Argentine government announced the abandonment of Mercosur negotiations to prioritize the country’s domestic economy and the struggle against the virus. 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: