Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the week of June 14-20, 2020! And a Happy Father’s Day to all readers who are fathers, fathers-to-be or father figures! 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

Global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows are forecast to decrease by up to 40% in 2020, from their 2019 value of $1.54 trillion, according to UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2020 released this week. The report also shows that reshoring, diversification and regionalization will drive restructuring of global value chains in the coming years.

US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer testified before the US House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee and the US Senate Finance Committee about the Trump Administration’s trade policy, including on hot button issues such as the US-China trade deal, the USMCA, and the administration’s plans for a ‘reset’ of tariffs at the WTO.

Moldova became the fourth WTO Member to officially nominate a candidate for the post of WTO Director-General to succeed incumbent DG Roberto Azevedo who this May announced his decision to step down a year early.

After three months of shutdown and in some cases border closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most Caribbean countries are slowly reopening their air and sea borders to commercial traffic in an effort to kickstart their economies. However, with infection rates continuing to surge in several US states, including Florida, a major gateway to the Caribbean, one questions whether it might be too soon to resume air traffic from the US considering that Jamaica recorded 14 new cases for the first time in weeks, all of which were imported from US flights.

Guest Contribution: This week’s guest contributor Deah James examines the impact of COVID-19 on Micro, Small and Medium-Sized enterprises, including in the Caribbean nation of St. Vincent & the Grenadines. Have a read of her insightful piece here!

On a final editorial note, this publication announces its solidarity with the movements currently taking place across the US and the world for racial equality and justice #blacklivesmatter.

REGIONAL NEWS

Johnson: Missed WTO targets not the focus for the Bahamas

EyeWitness News: The Minnis administration had set June 2020 as a the target for World Trade Organization (WTO), a process which the country undertook two decades ago. Johnson spoke to the initiative during his contribution to the budget debate yesterday. Read more

Bahamas Govt Not Hostage To WTO ‘Target Dates

Bahamas Tribune: The government will not be held hostage to any deadlines or timelines for completing The Bahamas’ accession to full World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership, a Cabinet minister said yesterday. Read more

JMEA Reports Success In Local And Export Markets

JIS: The Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (JMEA) is reporting that members are having success on the local and export market since the COVID-9 outbreak in March. Read more

JAMPRO woos logistics investors

JIS: President of Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Diane Edwards, is wooing overseas investment in Jamaica’s logistic services, noting that the country’s location, within reach of 800 million customers, makes it ideal to offer cutting-edge services to the global market. Read more

TTMA launches 5-year strategic plan

Newsday: The focus of the TT Manufacturers’ Association’s (TTMA) manufacturing export strategy 2025 is to increase exports through private sector initiatives over the next five years. TTMA President Franka Costelloe said the aim for 2020 is to restabilise the export market share and sales for the non-energy sector. Read more

Guyana will attract more investment if border controversy is settled

South Florida Caribbean News: The Guyana/Venezuela Border controversy needs to be resolved soonest so that Guyana can further exploit the resources of its maritime space and landmass which is being claimed by Venezuela. Read more

Rice exports up by 13% – GRDB

Stabroek: The Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) has reported a 13% hike in rice exports between January and May this year when compared to the same period last year. Read more

EU AML/CFT Listing of Countries Among the Priority Issues of OACPS-EU Post Cotonou Negotiations

Bahamas Information Services: A series of virtual negotiation meetings held between the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and the European Union (EU) more specifically the European Commission during the week of 8 through 12 June 2020 featured prominently the unilateral action of the EU and its publication of a listing of High-Level Third Risk Countries due to strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism regimes. Read more

How OECS nations managed to get rid of Coronavirus

WIC: Coronavirus and the lockdowns across the globe are considered the only way to control the contamination of the virus. All the major economies are either under 24-hour lockdowns or observing partial curfews. While lockdowns and curfews are considered to be the one and only way to break the chain of the virus, but some nations have shown otherwise. Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

European Commission kicks off major EU trade policy review

European Commission: Today, the European Commission launched a major review of the European Union’s trade policy, including a public consultation seeking input from the European Parliament, Member States, stakeholders and civil society. The Commission’s objective is to build a consensus around a fresh medium-term direction for EU trade policy, responding to a variety of new global challenges and taking into account the lessons learned from the coronavirus crisis. Read more

US-EU trade war feared after Washington quits digital tax talks

Al Jazeera: The EU could press ahead with plans for digital tax on giants like Google, Facebook and Amazon. Read more

5 ways to advance digital trade in the post-COVID world

World Economic Forum: Globalization is under threat. Even before the pandemic, globalization was already struggling due to years of stagnation in trade growth and uncertainties at the World Trade Organization (WTO) due to US-China trade tensions. COVID-19 was another blow to the system. And the early departure of the WTO Director-General doesn’t help. Yet, international trade is critical to economic recovery. This is especially true for digital trade. Read more

US looks at digital economy trade deal with Australia

Financial Review: The Trump administration is looking at a groundbreaking digital economy trade deal with Australia that would supercharge the 21st century’s main growth engine while bolstering co-operation to compete with China’s more insular system. Read more

Why ‘digital taxes’ are the new trade war flashpoint

Daily Herald: The U.S. decision to withdraw from international efforts to harmonize global tax rules for digital companies risks triggering a new trade war. The move came after the U.S. and a group of nations failed to agree on the best way to tax revenue from digital companies such as Facebook and Alphabet’s Google. Read more

Brexit: UK plans to keep post-transition trade with EU flowing

BBC: Last week, the government announced that relaxed controls will apply for goods coming into the UK from the EU for a period of six months. These will apply whether the UK and the EU conclude a free trade agreement before the end of the year or not. Read more

97% Bangladeshi products get duty free access in China

Anadolu: 5,161 more products to get the treatment effective from July 1, while there is huge trade deficit between two countries. Read more

India rejects market economy tag for China

Livemint: India on Monday rejected China’s demand to grant it market economy status, amid the ongoing face-off between the two armies along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). New Delhi will continue to treat its neighbour as a non-market economy, which allows it to impose steep anti-dumping duties on imports from China. Read more

US Mulling Over Restoring India’s Status Under GSP

Outlook India: The top trade official from Donald Trump Administration said the US is currently in a big trade negotiations with India. Read more

A Roundup of Recent Perspectives On the Proposed USA-Kenya Free Trade Agreement

Patrick Anam: By now the news and debates around the proposed US- Kenya FTA is in the offing have gained notoriety and has been reported widely in various media both in the US and in Africa. Read more

New trade deal between US and Kenya will be a win for Africa, says Uhuru

The Standard: President Uhuru Kenyatta has sought to dispel fear that the ongoing trade talks between Kenya and the United States will undermine the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). Read more

Add Logs to a Growing List of Canada-China Trade Problems

Financial Post: Canadian officials are investigating after China said it discovered pests in shipments of hardwood and softwood. The move comes three weeks after a judge ruled that extradition proceedings may continue against Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou and is raising concerns the pest issue may be politically-motivated. Read more

New NAFTA takes effect next month. U.S. is already threatening legal challenges

CBC: Trump’s trade rep says Canada, Mexico could face cases after deal enters force July 1. Read more

Trump Administration to push for a reset of global tariffs

New York Times: The Trump administration plans to continue its aggressive trade tactics this year by pushing for a “broader reset” of the tariffs set at the World Trade Organization, a top trade official plans to tell Congress in testimony on Wednesday. Read more

China pulls WTO suit over claim to be a market economy

Reuters: China has halted a dispute at the World Trade Organization over its claim to be a market economy, a panel of three WTO adjudicators said on Monday, meaning Beijing must accept continued EU and U.S. “anti-dumping” levies on cheap Chinese goods. Read more

It is critical to restructure the supply chains during the COVID-19 period

Fiji Village: FMF Foods Limited Managing Director Ram Bajekal says it is critical to restructure the supply chains during the COVID-19 period as they experienced a dip with change in schedules in shipment and air freights. Read more

India to remain most resilient in South Asia, continue to attract FDI even in Covid-19 crisis: UNCTAD

Economic TImes: However, inflows May shrink sharply. As per UNCTAD, India jumped to ninth spot in 2019 on the list of global top FDI recipients from the twelfth spot in 2018. Read more

Japan And ASEAN To Improve Trade Deal

The ASEAN Post: The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement released earlier this week that it has notified ASEAN countries that it had completed the legal procedures to amend the First Protocol of the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP). Read more

Japan criticizes South Korea for requesting WTO review of export controls

Japan Times: The government on Friday criticized South Korea’s decision to ask the World Trade Organization (WTO) to set up a dispute settlement panel over Japan’s tightening of export controls on semiconductor materials. Read more

China loses landmark WtO dispute against EU

Japan Times: China spent four years fighting for market-economy status, a designation that would give it stronger footing with commercial partners while also curtailing their ability to retaliate over trade disputes. This week, China quietly lost that battle. Read more

It the US wants a better WTO, it should lead the way

The Hill: In the wake of the sudden departure of World Trade Organization (WTO) Chief Robert Azevêdo, multiple nominees have been put forward to lead the organization into the next phase, which at the moment feels very uncertain. But one name is missing: That of an American. With two of its largest member countries, the United States and China, in conflict about the WTO’s direction, this is an opportunity to defend the rules-based trading system that the United States founded and professes to value. Read more

Government endorses Irish Commissioner Phil Hogan for World Trade Organisation chief

Independent.ie: The Government has backed Irish EU Commissioner, Phil Hogan, for the post of director general of the World Trade Organisation. The decision will increase his prospects of becoming the EU candidate for the prestigious post which falls vacant on September 1. Read more

US says a UK trade deal ‘unlikely’ before November

BBC: America’s top trade negotiator has said a deal with the UK is unlikely before the US presidential election in November. Read more

U.K. wants to join Pacific trade pact as trade deal with Canada approaches its end

CBC: With just over six months remaining before Canada’s current free trade arrangement with the United Kingdom expires, the British government signalled today that it intends to join another trade agreement in which Canada is already a partner: the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership. Read more

UK begins talks with Australia and New Zealand on free trade deal for post-Brexit era

The Guardian: Australian and New Zealand ministers say they are eager to do deals with the UK as their economies emerge from the coronavirus crisis. Read more

Some U.S. aluminum producers are again pushing for tariffs on Canada as others warn of ‘great Canadian distraction’

Financial Post: Tensions around aluminum appear to be rearing their head again even as the new NAFTA is only weeks away from taking effect. Read more

STRAIGHT FROM THE WTO

NEW ON THE CTLD BLOG

EVENTS

Last week Wednesday, I had the pleasure of moderating an all-star panel of experts on Webinar 3 Recovering and Transforming our Economies – New Legal, Regulatory and Trading Imperatives of the seven-part G.O.Lynch Consultancy Inc. Webinar series. Please join them for the remainder of the panels in this exciting series.

This week I look forward to being a panelist on the AfronomicsLaw webinar entitled “Vulnerability in the Trade and Investment Regimes in the Age of COVID-19”. See flyer below for further details and to register!

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: