Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the week of June 21-27, 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 number of nominees for next World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General continues to increase. This week, South Korea nominated its trade minister, Ms Yoo Myung-hee.

The candidates have been making their case to the public on their vision for the WTO which is currently in crisis. For example, Nigerian candidate Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala penned an op-ed on reviving the WTO here. Egyptian candidate, Hamid Mamdouh, participated in a WITA Webinar to discuss his candidacy and vision for the WTO which you can watch here.

Yesterday, June 27 was UN Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (MSME) Day. Read some of our previous posts on MSMEs and the COVID-19 crisis here:

COVID-19’s Impact on Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (Guest contribution by Deah James)

COVID-19 and MSMEs: Impacts and Options

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

CARICOM’s stake in the WTO Director-General Race

Barbados Today: Incumbent World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General (DG) Mr Roberto Azevedo’s recent announcement of his resignation a full year before concluding his second term of office took the world by surprise and presents another plot twist among the mounting challenges confronting the guardian of the multilateral trading system. Read more

DR has opportunity to attract investment due to COVID-19

Dominican Today: The Dominican Republic has the opportunity to attract foreign investment from multinationals that will seek to have their factories close to the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was stated by Ana Arias Urones, Senior Specialist of the Trade and Investment Division of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), who stressed that in the next six months the country will have the opportunity to take advantage of post-covid-19 recovery scenarios to position itself as a foreign investment destination. Read more

C’bean among countries unfairly targeted by US senators over Cuba

Jamaica Observer: Three US senators — who have done little to advance the interests of the Caribbean and with whom requests for meetings by many Caribbean ambassadors are usually shunted to their staff — are now proposing US Government punishment for Caribbean countries that request assistance from Cuba for medical personnel. Read more

EU seeking to improve on its financing conditions

Barbados Advocate: The European Union has a vision to provide grants and loans together in a financing package so that it can improve the financing
conditions that it offers its partner countries. Ambassador Daniela Tramacere, Head of the EU Delegation to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean States, the OECS and CARICOM/CARIFORUM noted the
above as she spoke recently during the launch of the Barbados Water
Supply Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project by the Barbados Water
Authority. Read more

Operations Of 20 Entities To Be Digitised Under Single Window Initiative

JIS: The operations of approximately 20 State entities that facilitate imports and exports are earmarked for digitisation under the Jamaica Single Window for Trade (JSWIFT) initiative, which is being implemented by the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA). Jamaica. Read more

US$12.5 billion limestone potential

Jamaica Observer: As the country seeks to expand its investment opportunities, stronger calls are being made for investors and exporters to take advantage of the emerging benefits in the value-added limestone industry. Read more

Shaw denies companies leaving Ja due to cannabis regulation lag

Jamaica Observer: MINISTER of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw has denied claims that cannabis companies are leaving Jamaica as a result of the country’s failure to implement import/export regulations. Read more

Region Cannot Return To Pre-COVID-19 Era – Bartlett

Jamaica Gleaner: Jamaica’s Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, says for the first quarter of this year, international tourism has recorded 67 million fewer arrivals and a loss of US$80 billion in exports. Read more

Tian Qi | Enhancing China-Caribbean Cooperation In Building Belt And Road

Jamaica Gleaner: On June 18, the high-level videoconference on Belt and Road international cooperation was held in Beijing under the theme ‘Belt and Road International Cooperation: Combating COVID-19 with Solidarity’. Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Ottawa Group Recommends Actions on COVID-19, Signals Continued Interest in WTO Reform

IISD: The Ottawa Group, comprised of 13 World Trade Organization (WTO) members, has released a statement outlining six action areas to focus on in light of COVID-19. Formed in the wake of the Ottawa Ministerial on WTO Reform, held 24-25 October 2018, the Group seeks to address specific challenges that are putting the multilateral trading system under stress. Read more

Liam Fox and Peter Mandelson compete to be next world trade chief

The Sunday Times: Ministers are considering whether to nominate Liam Fox, the former international trade secretary, as Britain’s candidate to become the next head of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Read more

Kenya-U.S. Trade Talks to Start Next Month, President Kenyatta Says

AllAfrica: President Uhuru Kenyatta has said the much-anticipated trade talks between Kenya and the United States of America will start on 7th July 2020. Read more

RCEP members to keep aiming for deal this year, with hopes India will rejoin

The Japan Times: Ministers from 15 Asia-Pacific countries negotiating a sprawling free trade agreement agreed Tuesday to continue aiming for a deal by the end of the year, while keeping the door open for India to return to the talks. Read more

U.S. Still Committed to Digital Tax Talks, OECD Tax Chief Says

Bloomberg: The U.S. is still actively participating in OECD negotiations on global digital tax rules, the organization’s top tax official said Wednesday. Read more

USTR Lighthizer and US trade policy: Right goals, wrong strategy

VoxEU: Joshua Meltzer argues that the Trump administration has failed to provide a coherent vision for maintaining and expanding US competitiveness in the 21st century, including through its trade policy. Read more

China ‘interested’ in Trans-Pacific trade deal but keen to gauge Japan’s ‘attitude’ ahead of potential talks, ex-minister says

South China Morning Post: China is keen to first understand Japan’s “attitude” before beginning formal negotiations to join the Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, according to former commerce minister Chen Deming. Read more

COVID-19, trade war take toll on trans-Pacific volumes through April

JOC: Total container volume carried by the top 15 lines in the US trade with Asia fell 7.2 percent through the first four months of the year, but a recent spike in imports from Asia and a cut in blank sailings this summer should stem declines going forward. Read more

Trump threat to ‘decouple’ U.S. and China hits trade, investment reality

Reuters: Conflicting talk from Trump administration officials about “decoupling” the U.S. economy from China is running into a challenging reality: Chinese imports of U.S. goods are rising, investment by American companies into China continues, and markets are wary of separating the world’s biggest economies. Read more

Despite Economic Turmoil, Indonesia-Australia Trade Agreement Pushes Ahead

The Diplomat: In the midst of COVID-19, an unlikely trade agreement breaks through. Read more

ECOWAS endorse Okonjo-Iweala as DG of the World Trade Organization

Nairametrics: The West African Regional political and economic block, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has announced the backing of the candidature of Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, as the Director-General of World Trade Organization (WTO). Read more

The WTO’s Fall from Grace: Disputes About Dispute Settlement

McGill International Review: The future of the World Trade Organization (WTO) has come under recent scrutiny, with its Director General (DG), Roberto Azevêdo, announcing plans to resign one year early. Yet the demise of the WTO has been a long-standing issue, particularly linked to the lack of support shown for the organization by one of the world’s largest economies, the United States. Read more

Support for Brexit is collapsing as poll finds big majority of British people want to be in the EU

Business Insider: A newly released survey found just 35% of British people supporting Brexit, with 57% wanting to rejoin the European Union. Read more

Brexit: Angela Merkel says Britain must ‘live with the consequences’ of Boris Johnson’s decision to ditch close alignment with EU

The Independent: Angela Merkel has said that Britain will have to “live with the consequences” of Boris Johnson’s decision to ditch Theresa May’s plans for close alignment with the European Union after Brexit. 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: