Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the week of June 28- July 4, 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 UNCTAD-OECD-WTO Report on G20 Trade and Investment Measures released June 29, 2020 found that during the review period, G20 economies implemented 154 new trade and trade-related measures, 95 of them trade-facilitating and 59 trade-restrictive. It further found that “of these measures, 93 – or about 60% – were linked to the COVID-19 pandemic”. Read the full report here.

The USMCA, the replacement for NAFTA, has taken effect but there is no end to the trade tensions among the three parties.

This week the Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) held its first virtual hearing on whether it has jurisdiction in the territorial dispute between Guyana and Venezuela to find that the 1899 arbitral award is binding. Read here

The big news this week in the Caribbean has been the decision by leaders of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to dissolve regional air carrier LIAT. However, not all leaders are in favour. Antigua & Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne has indicated his disagreement with giving up on the regional airline.

CARICOM leaders met virtually on Friday, July 3. Barbados Prime Minister, Mia Amor Mottley, who held the six month rotating chairmanship of the regional bloc since January 2020, officially handed over to incoming chairman St Vincent & the Grenadines Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves. Watch a video from the Hand Over here.

REGIONAL NEWS

Guyana short-lists 19 companies to market its oil

Reuters: A group of 19 companies including oil majors, trading houses and state-run firms were approved by Guyana’s government for the next phase of a competitive process aimed at selecting an agent for marketing its share of crude produced in the country. Read more

Guyana Wants World Court To Confirm Border With Venezuela

News Americas Now: Guyana may be embroiled in its own election fiasco, but it took time out Tuesday to urge the world court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), to confirm the border between Venezuela and the then-colony of British Guiana once and for all. Read more

Tourism bodies get funding to help in fight against illegal trade in wildlife

Stabroek: The Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG) and the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) have received funding from the Latin American Trade Association (LATA) Foundation to create a Counter Wildlife Trafficking Communications Toolkit. Read more

MSME Sector hard hit by COVID-19

Barbados Advocate: The micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, as businesses have reported a fall-off in revenue due to measures taken to curb the spread of the virus and employers opted to go the route of layoffs rather than implementing pay cuts for their employees, during the lockdown period. Read more

Government initiatives to help struggling small businesses coming soon

LoopBarbados: Government will be rolling out a variety of programmes and initiatives to help Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) over the next few months. Read more

PM Minnis: No Free Trade Zone for Andros

EyeWitness News: Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday assured that the government will not approve a free trade zone in Andros and insisted his administration will not sell vast tracks of Bahamian land. Read more

Saint Lucia launches ‘I AM CARICOM’ campaign

St Lucia News Online: The Regional Integration Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister, in collaboration with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, announces the launch of the ‘I AM CARICOM’ Communications Campaign in Saint Lucia. Read more

Challenges of 2020 Amplify Importance of Regional Cooperation – CARICOM Outgoing Chair

CARICOM: Outgoing Chair of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Prime Minister Mia Mottley of Barbados, has expressed profound gratitude to the organisation and institutions that have steered the Community through the unprecedented challenges posed so far by the year 2020. Read more

PM Gonsalves Praises CARICOM Achievements, says Challenges Must Strengthen Movement

CARICOM: The challenges of nature and the global political economy must serve as driving forces to build a stronger, better Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Read more

CARICOM to conduct survey on impact of COVID-19 on food security

NYCaribNews: The Guyana-based Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat Monday announced the launch of the second round of the Caribbean coronavirus (COVID-19) Food Security and Livelihoods Survey. Read more

New models needed to encourage FDI in agriculture

Barbados Today: The agriculture sector, which makes a significant contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in many Caribbean economies, must look at new financing models to encourage foreign direct investment (FDI), as it seeks to rebuild from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

Imports down 39.7% in May, says SIB

Amandala: The Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) reported that Belize’s imports for May 2020 saw a dramatic decrease of $67.3 million, down 39.7% from the $169.4 million worth of goods we imported in May 2019. The SIB attributes most of this decrease to the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in an economic slowdown. Read more

Jampro Pitching Seven Limestone Packages To Big Investors

Jamaica Gleaner: Jampro on Wednesday pitched seven limestone packages to local and investors geared at exploiting around 50 billion tonnes of reserves laying idle across Jamaica. Read more

We Gatherin’ could restart

Barbados Today: Government has not closed the door on the possible restart of its Vision 2020 We Gatherin’ campaign that would see Barbadians from the diaspora returning to connect with their heritage, according to Project Coordinator for the campaign Selma Green. Read more

Caricom SG says last four months exceptional for region

NYCaribNews: Caribbean Community (Caricom) Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque said yesterday that the past four months have proven to be the “most exceptional periods” for the 15-member regional integration movement. Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

The WTO needs a shake up before it’s too late

Telegraph: Our global trading system is in trouble, and it’s only going to be made worse by the coronavirus pandemic. Read the full op-ed by Liam Fox here.

EU trade chief Hogan says he will not seek to head WTO

Euractiv: European Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan said on Monday (29 June) he would not seek to become the next director-general of the World Trade Organisation, despite having previously stated he was looking into the possibility. Read more

Who Will Lead the WTO and Help It Avoid Collapse?

Washington Post: The campaign to lead the World Trade Organization during the most turbulent period of its 25-year existence has officially begun. Playing out against the backdrop of a pandemic, a worldwide recession, the U.S.-China battle for trade supremacy and the American presidential election, there couldn’t be more at stake. Read more

WTO needs urgent reform, says Saudi trade group

Arab News: The World Trade Organization (WTO) requires urgent reform in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Think20 (T20) engagement group. Read more

As New NAFTA Takes Effect, Much Remains Undone

New York Times: The beginning of a new trade deal does not signal an end to trade disputes between United States, Canada and Mexico. Read more

Justin Trudeau might skip US-Canada-Mexico summit due to tariff and coronavirus

New York Post: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau might be skipping the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) summit in Washington DC next week. Read more

Brexit: Serious differences over trade deal, say UK and EU

BBC: The UK and EU have said serious differences remain over a post-Brexit trade deal, following the latest negotiations in Brussels. EU negotiator Michel Barnier said the bloc’s position needed to be “better understood and respected” by the UK if an agreement is to be found. Read more

U.K., Kenya to Negotiate Post-Brexit Trade Deal

Bloomberg: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta agreed to start negotiations for a post-Brexit trade agreement between the two nations. Read more

UK sets September deadline for EU trade deal

Euractiv: The UK has earmarked September as its deadline for agreeing on a new trade deal with the EU after negotiators held their first face-to-face meetings since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Read more

A ‘new Cold War’?: How the US-China trade dispute is deepening

Al Jazeera: More industries are being penalised as bipartisan anti-China sentiment rises before the November polls in the US. Read more

Niue ratifies regional PACER Plus trade agreement

Radio New Zealand: Niue has ratified the regional trade agreement PACER Plus, pushing it closer to implementation. Read more

China and India are sparring but neither can afford a full-on trade war

CNN: Last month’s deadly border battle between India and China has already begun to affect business and technology. But the world’s two most populous countries have a lot to lose should the dispute escalate into a full-on trade war. Read more

Why Accelerating Implementation of AfCFTA Must Remain a Top Priority

Inter-press Service: 1 July 2020 was supposed to be the official date to start trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). It was a much-anticipated follow up to the 2019 African Union Summit, that launched the operational phase of the AfCFTA in a colorful ceremony in Niamey – Niger. Read more

India may invoke GATS security exception at WTO to justify ban on Chinese apps

Hindu Business Line: India may use its right to invoke security exceptions under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) at the World Trade Organization (WTO), if required, to justify the ban on 59 Chinese mobile apps, including the popular TikTok app, imposed by the Centre earlier this week, a government official has said. Read more

UK statement to the WTO Committee on Trade and the Environment

Gov.uk: The UK’s Ambassador to the WTO and UN in Geneva, Julian Braithwaite, delivered this statement at a meeting of the WTO Committee on Trade and the Environment on 3 July 2020. 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: