Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the week of July 5-11, 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

With nominations closed on July 8, there are now officially eight (8) candidates in the race to become the next World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General. The candidates, all well-qualified and experienced, hail from Egypt, Kenya, Mexico, Moldova, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and the United Kingdom (UK). Learn more about the candidates in this Bloomberg piece here.

Data published by UNCTAD on June 11 show that merchandise trade fell by 5% in the first quarter of the year and forecast a 27% drop for the second quarter and a 20% annual decline for 2020. Read the UNCTAD report here.

REGIONAL NEWS

PM Gonsalves: LIAT liquidation unanimously agreed to last month

LoopBarbados: At the June 27 meeting on LIAT with the major shareholder governments, it was unanimously agreed there would be the liquidation of the airline. Read more

The pivotal role of air transportation in CARICOM

Searchlight: Within the past week, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nationals got wind of the imminent liquidation of LIAT, a process which if carried out, would bring an end to over 60 years of aviation history for the airline. Read more

Caribbean leaders meet amid concerns over regional transportation, COVID

Jamaica Observer: Caribbean Community (Caricom) leaders were meeting virtually on Friday, overshadowed by the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on their socio-economic future and the plight of the regional transportation with the decision to liquidate the financially strapped regional airline, LIAT. Read more

Jamaica’s trade agenda needs to be more ambitious, says Hylton

Jamaica Observer: People’s National Party spokesman on industry, competitiveness and global logistics, Anthony Hylton says the country’s trade agenda needs to be more ambitious than the current “defensive posture” of Caricom on external trade. Read more

Antiguan government establishes “travel bubble” for Caribbean travelers

CARICOM: The Antigua and Barbuda government says it has established a “travel bubble” that will allow citizens from several identified states within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to travel to the island without the necessity to have coronavirus ( COVID-19) tests and certificates to be presented upon entry. Read more

Protocols For Air Travel To Barbados Effective July 12

Barbados GIS: Visitors to Barbados, once commercial flights resume on July 12, are being strongly advised to undergo a COVID-19 PCR test at an accredited or certified facility, or laboratory before travelling. Read more

CARICOM Chairman: Several airlines ready to step in for LIAT

Loop Jamaica: Six airlines have expressed interest to serve the gap that could be left in the wake of LIAT’s current challenges. They include SVG Air, One Caribbean, Caribbean Airlines (CAL), interCaribbean airlines, Silver Airways and Air Antilles. Read more

Region celebrates first virtual CARICOM Day

Barbados Today: CARICOM Day, July 4, achieved another first, as the Caribbean Community’s Heads of Mission in the United Kingdom came together to celebrate the achievements of the region with a number of messages, in a special virtual session under the theme “We are CARICOM, Resilient and Diverse”. Read more

CARICOM granted access to Africa Medical Supplies Platform

Searchlight: Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have been given access to the Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP), a procurement system for supplies and equipment in the fight against COVID-19. Read more

Caribbean Rum to benefit from maintained Brexit Tariffs

Searchlight: Despite changes coming as a result of Brexit, Caribbean Rum will continue to be protected from unfair competition from subsidised cheap rum entering the UK market from other countries. Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

U.S., Kenya formally launch trade deal talks

Reuters: Kenya and the United States formally launched negotiations on Wednesday for a bilateral trade pact that the two economies hope could serve as a model for additional agreements across the African continent. Read more

Trump administration sends letter withdrawing U.S. from World Health Organization over coronavirus response

Washington Post: The Trump administration has begun the process of withdrawing the United States from the World Health Organization, a move that could hurt the U.N. agency’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and reshape public health diplomacy. Read more

U.S. slaps French goods with 25% duties in digital tax row, but delays effective date

Reuters: The Trump administration on Friday announced additional duties of 25% on French cosmetics, handbags and other imports valued at $1.3 billion in response to France’s digital services tax, but would hold off on implementing the move for up to 180 days. Read more

EU urges U.S. to return to negotiations at OECD on digital taxes

Reuters: The European Union on Friday urged the United States to return to negotiations about digital taxation at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, but said it stood ready to make a new proposal at the EU level if those talks failed. Read more

What do you need to know: What comes next in the WTO director-general race

Borderlex: Dmitry Grozoubinksi on what comes next in the nomination process for the World Trade Organization’s top job. We are now off to the races, but the finishing line is still far away. Read more

Brexit: UK nominates Liam Fox to lead World Trade Organization

BBC: The UK government has nominated former cabinet minister Liam Fox as its candidate to lead the World Trade Organization. The body is searching for a new director-general to replace Brazilian Roberto Azevedo at the end of August. Read more

Free trade ‘will not go away’ – leaders and experts weigh in on trade in a post-COVID world

World Economic Forum: Free trade is important and it will not go away – it’s for us just to make sure we are on top of it.”Those were the words of Mattias Hedwall, Global Head of International Commerce & Trade at Baker & McKenzie International, at the start of the first public session of the Forum’s Trade Multistakeholder Conversation on 8 July. Read more

Trade multilateralism need to be sustained in post Covid world: Think-tank

Economic Times: Trade multilateralism need to be sustained in post Covid world: Think-tank
Drawing from the historical role that multilateralism has played in fostering global peace and stability, Rohinton Medhora, President of Canada-based Centre for International Governance Innovation, said that “Not just the decline in the volume of trade, we need to understand how that undermined the values of the multilateral trading system”. Read more

Turkey, UK ‘very close’ to free trade deal

Anadolu Agency: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says 2 countries are close to finalizing talks, according to Financial Times report. Read more

Taiwan Preps for Possible End to Landmark Trade Deal with China

VoA: China now has the chance to reconsider its 10-year-old Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement with Taiwan, the biggest-ever trade pact between the two rivals, and a Chinese media outlet hints at the agreement’s demise. Read more

Pandemic highlights importance of AfCFTA

African Business Magazine: A delay to implementation of the AfCFTA should provide the opportunity for a much-needed rethink of Africa’s development trajectory, says Dianna Games. Read more

Trudeau ‘concerned’ by U.S. threat of tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel

CBC Canada: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today he is concerned by reports suggesting Washington is considering reimposing tariffs on Canadian metals just as Canada, the United States and Mexico are celebrating the launch of a new free trade deal. Read more

Liz Truss: US trade deal ‘won’t mean lower food standards

BBC: International Trade Secretary Liz Truss has denied the UK is preparing to water down its food safety standards in order to reach a trade deal with the US. Read more

STRAIGHT FROM THE WTO

NEW ON THE CTLD BLOG

This week I participated as a panelist in a UWI Open Campus/Global Executive Trade Webinar on ‘Global Trade & Supply Chains: Tips for your Business to Succeed”.

I was also presenter at a CAC-ECSEA Webinar on ‘Welcoming the New Normal’ where I discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the Caribbean, the need for a relook of our trade and investment agreements if we are to navigate this ‘new normal’.

Here is the latest content on the CTLD Blog:

BONUS

Watch this great interview by Prof. Gilbert Morris discussing the impact of COVID-19 on the Caribbean and some economic solutions for recovery.

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: