Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the week of May 2-9, 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

UNCTAD released a special issue of its Investment Policy Monitor outlining the latest developments in national and international investment policies in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The report may be accessed here.

A report by the World Trade Organization (WTO) examining the role of e-commerce in COVID-19 was released this week. Read it here.

Regionally, the CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) agreed on a strategy for re-opening the region’s economies. CARICOM Heads of Government also met virtually on 5 May 2020 to continue their efforts to harmonise their responses to and policies on the multifaceted impact of COVID-19. The full statement from the meeting may be read here.

The Bahamas, Barbados and Jamaica have been included on the European Commission’s revised draft AML/CFT List of High Risk Third Countries released last week. Read my article on this here.

REGIONAL NEWS

Export revenues decline for January

Jamaica Observer: The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) reported that for the month of January, revenues from exports amounted to US$102.7 million or 27.8 per cent lower than the US$142.3 million earned in the similar period last year. Read more

COVID-19 presents great opportunities for J’can businesses — US ambassador

Jamaica Observer: United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Donald Tapia says the COVID-19 pandemic presents great opportunities for Jamaican businesses to reach out to companies in the United States. Read more

Regional Foreign Ministers meet to coordinate CARICOM’s foreign policy amid COVID-19 pandemic

CARICOM: CARICOM Foreign Ministers were reminded of the importance of regional foreign policy coordination in the current uncertain times, as they opened the 23rd Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) via video conference, Thursday. Read more

Haiti’s Foreign Minister calls for collective action amidst coronavirus pandemic

CARICOM: Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Haiti, His Excellency Dr. Claude Joseph, has urged his regional counterparts to take collective action as far as possible in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Minister Joseph chaired the 23rd Meeting of CARICOM’s Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) which opened Thursday via video conference. Read more

Regional govts discuss united COVID response

Barbados Today: Caribbean leaders are contemplating a region-wide policy that would re-open airports and hotels for intra-regional travel along with passengers from “selected” international countries, a CARICOM statement has revealed. Read more

OECS plans regional virtual marketplace

OECS: Plans for a regional virtual marketplace continue to be a key priority for the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States. Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

OACPS condemns new EU black list

CARICOM: The Secretary-General of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, Thursday condemned the decision by the European Commission to include several African and Caribbean countries on a new list of high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies in their regime regarding anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing. Read more

China says exports rose 3.5% in April, crushing expectations for a decline of 15.7%

CNBC: China’s dollar-denominated exports unexpectedly rose in April, but imports fell the same month as movement restrictions to contain the coronavirus outbreak eased. Read more

Covid-19 crisis has highlighted e-commerce importance,cooperation in cross-border goods, services movement: WTO

Economic Times: Highlighting that network capacity and higher bandwidth services have proved to be crucial, not only during the pandemic itself, but also for e-commerce and economic inclusion in general, it said in an information note: “What can WTO members do to improve communications networks and services?” Read more

ASEAN Intervenes to Fight Death Spiral of Food Export Restrictions

VoA: Few images conjure the 1930s Depression like people standing in soup lines while farmers dump food they can’t sell. That is a tragedy Southeast Asia is fighting to avoid, though it is starting to happen in pockets around the world in the midst of COVID-19. Read more

Under COVID-19 Pandemic, Global Remittances Expected to Decline 20%

VoA: Stay-at-home quarantines and the temporary shutdown of some banks and establishments that provide money transfers are hindering how immigrants can send money back to their home countries, according to a special report by the World Bank. As a result, global remittances are projected to plunge by 20% in 2020. Read more

Indonesia-Australia free trade deal to be activated by July

Brisbane Times: A free trade deal covering $18 billion in agriculture, education and health services between Australia and Indonesia will be activated within two months, as the Morrison government looks to push the economy out of the coronavirus pandemic. Read more

EU-Mexico trade deal prompts French farming backlash

Euractiv: The European Union signed a free trade agreement with Mexico on Tuesday (28 April), provoking strong reactions. EURACTIV’s partner Ouest-France reports. Read more

Trade deal promises falter as US exports to China fall 15%

Nikkei Asian Review: American exports of goods to China dropped 14.7% on the year for the January-March quarter, as the coronavirus pandemic batters the global economy, raising the specter of Beijing unable to fulfill purchases promised under an initial trade deal. Read more

Coronavirus: can China and the US uphold the phase one trade deal amid Covid-19?

South China Morning Post: The economic damage being caused by the coronavirus, and the war of words over who is to blame for the pandemic, are rapidly increasing the doubts over whether the United States and China can uphold the terms of their phase one trade deal. Read more

Brexit: Tension and uncertainty stalk trade talks

BBC: Despite the fear, the misery and the suffocating uncertainty of Covid-19, by now you’ve no doubt heard on the Brussels-Paris-Berlin-Dublin-Belfast-London grapevine: the post-Brexit trade talks between the EU and the UK are in trouble. Read more

UK to blame hard Brexit on COVID-19, warns EU trade chief

Euractiv: The United Kingdom is preparing to walk away from trade talks with the EU and blame the impasse on the coronavirus pandemic, EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan said on Thursday (7 May). Read more

Report: Rwanda most committed to AfCFTA

The New Times: Rwanda is the country most committed to the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement, a new report, dubbed, The AfCFTA Year Zero Report, has 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: