Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the week of July 12-18, 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

This week members of the World Trade Organization got to officially meet the eight candidates in the running to succeed incumbent Roberto Azevedo as next WTO DG. From July 15-17, each candidate participated in a special meeting of the WTO General Council and took questions from the membership, followed by a press conference. You can also access each candidate’s statement to the General Council once available here and watch the recordings on the WTO’s website here.

Barbados’ soon to be rolled out special 12-month remote visa programme called the ‘Welcome Stamp‘ has created much excitement and largely positive international headlines. However, the island may soon have competition from other jurisdictions which have also announced digital nomad visas. In early June, Estonia adopted amendments to its laws to create a digital nomad visa programme, while Bermuda this week announced it will be launching a special one-year residential certificate. Read more

REGIONAL NEWS

More support for Govt’s new visa plan

Barbados Today: The Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) has welcomed Government’s proposed 12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp initiative. BIBA President Derrick Cummins told Barbados TODAY there were several benefits that could be derived from the initiative including increased economic activity. Read more

Now is the moment for CARICOM to re-engage with the Dominican Republic

Dominican Today: There is a real case to be made for CARICOM setting aside its reservations and seeking an early engagement with the new administration in Santo Domingo, not least because as a former businessman Mr Abinader knows the Anglophone Caribbean. Read more

LIAT’s creditors to meet July 31

Barbados Today: Creditors are about to have their say on whether cash-strapped regional carrier LIAT should go into liquidation. Almost three weeks after Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne announced the airline would be liquidated and a new airline formed, LIAT has called a meeting of the company’s creditors to discuss its wrapping up. Read more

Antigua hopes to save LIAT with legislation

Nation News: The Antigua and Barbuda government has provided an avenue for the regional airline, LIAT, to seek Court protection rather than being forced into liquidation after it announced that the Companies (Amendment) Act 2020 was gazetted on Wednesday. Read more

JAMPRO, BSJ Partner To Develop Bamboo Industry

Jamaica Gleaner: The Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) and the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) are increasing their collaboration to develop Jamaica’s bamboo industry, as demand grows globally for renewable material sources for paper and other manufacturing needs. Read more

Jamaica launches ‘Return to Set’ guidelines as filming resumes

Loop Jamaica: JAMPRO and the Jamaica Film and TV Association (JAFTA), have officially launched the “Safe Return to Set” industry guidelines that will govern filming during and after the COVID-19 pandemic in Jamaica. Read more

14 Entrepreneurs to start the OECS-Caribbean export coaching programme

Dominica News Online: The OECS-Caribbean Export Development Agency’s Technical Assistance and Coaching Programme launched on July 8, 2020 with the aim of strengthening the entrepreneurial and leadership skills of 14 selected young entrepreneurs from six countries of the Eastern Caribbean. Read more

Grenada to Reduce Airline Ticket Taxes to Encourage Regional Travel

Caribbean National Weekly: Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell has disclosed that Grenada will soon be reducing taxes on airline tickets as part of measures aimed at encouraging intra-regional travel within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Read more

Trinidad & Tobago PM: No Involvement in LIAT

Newsday: The Trinidad & Tobago Prime Minister implied the Government will not step in to save cash-strapped LIAT by reversing TT’s past surrender of most of its shareholding, speaking at a briefing on Monday at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s. Read more

Leaders ‘accept’ regional airfare levies too high

Barbados Today: High airline taxes, long blamed by many regional experts for their role in a slump in intra-regional travel, may, after all, have to be lowered, a Caribbean leader has hinted. Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Brexit no obstacle to WTO leadership bid, says Liam Fox

BBC: Liam Fox has downplayed the importance of Brexit in his bid to be the first British boss of the World Trade Organization. Read more

WTO, ICC, B20 Sound Alarm on Diminishing Availability of Trade Finance Amid Pandemic

IISD: The World Trade Organization (WTO), International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), and Business Twenty (B20) Saudi Arabia have issued a joint statement that shines a spotlight on “the diminishing availability of trade finance.” Read more

The formidable challenges facing the WTO’s next Director General

ING: The World Trade Organisation has begun choosing its new Director General, with eight candidates in the running. As if safeguarding the rules of world trade during a pandemic wasn’t challenging enough, dispute settlement needs reform, China’s status within the world trading system has to be addressed, and success partly depends on US voters in the autumn. Read more

India revives initiative to conclude Preferential Trade Agreement with S African Customs Union

Economic Times: Discussions between Southern African Customs Union (SACU) [South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini] and India to achieve a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) have been revived with the two sides holding a virtual meeting last week to discuss various aspects of the PTA. Read more

US, India Discuss ‘Possibility’ of Free Trade Pact

VoA: The U.S. and India discussed the “possibility” of a free trade pact, India’s Commerce and Industry Ministry said in a statement Thursday, just days after India began free trade agreement talks with the European Union. Read more

US cars ‘must be left out of post-Brexit trade deal’

BBC: Safety experts are urging the UK government to exclude American cars from any post-Brexit trade deal. Read more

EU, India move closer to free trade deal

Deutsche Welle: Following an online summit between the European Union and India, the two powers have announced plans to set up a “high-level dialogue” on investment and trade. Details of any potential free trade pact remain uncertain. Read more

EU talks to rescue €750bn recovery package stall amid heated debate

The Guardian: European Union leaders agreed to reconvene at noon on Sunday after spending an evening locked in intense negotiations in an attempt to save a summit on the terms of a €750bn (£682bn) pandemic recovery fund from an acrimonious end as the debate over the bloc’s financial future became “heated”. Read more

Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi eyes Britain trip next month to discuss trade deal

Japan Times: Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi could visit Britain as early as next month for negotiations on a trade deal that both countries want to finalize this year, government sources said Friday. Read more

China says will stick with U.S. trade deal, but respond to ‘bullying’

Reuters: China said on Thursday it will stick to the Phase 1 trade deal it reached with the United States earlier this year but warned that it will respond to “bullying” tactics from Washington, as relations continue to deteriorate. Read more

Digital trade agreement of 1998 costs India, other developing nations $10 billion per annum

Business Today: A research paper published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) suggests that the developing country members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) maybe losing about $10 billion tax revenues due to a moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmissions (ET) agreed in 1998 and continued since then. Read more

US-Africa trade will be positively impacted by AfCFTA – Florizelle Liser

The Africa report: The Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) is the leading business association focused solely on promoting business and investment between the United States and the African continent. In this time of pandemic, both the continent and the US are looking for ways to strengthen their relationship. Read more

Digital Trade Is the Next Big Thing in Africa

AllAfrica: Wamkele Mene was recently appointed Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat. Because of COVID-19, free trade for countries that have ratified the agreement did not begin, as planned, on 1 July 2020. In this interview with Africa Renewal’s Kingsley Ighobor, Mr. Mene explains the way forward, how increased intra-African trade can boost economies post-COVID-19 and how digital trade will be next big thing on the continent. Read more

China says its dollar-denominated exports, imports jumped in June, beating expectations of a decline

CNBC: China’s dollar-denominated exports and imports rose in June, as restrictions eased and countries started to reopen their economies. Read more

UAE-China trade to surge on the back of strong ties between the two nations

The National: Bilateral trade between China and the UAE will continue to surge in the coming years on the back of strong relations between the two countries, despite a temporary roadblock caused by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to top officials. Read more

Lessons from Covid, China: India needs a new paradigm for trade, industry, and development

The Indian Express: Promoters of free trade say countries that trade with each other are unlikely to go to war with each other. The volume of India-China trade has been growing for many years. Yet soldiers of the two countries are skirmishing along their borders. Ten years ago, the Indian ambassador to China pointed out that while the volume of trade was growing no doubt, the pattern of trade was worrying. 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: