Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the week of September 6-12, 2020! We are pleased to bring you the major trade and development news headlines and analysis from across the Caribbean Region and the world from the past week.

The third phase of the race to select the next World Trade Organization Director-General commenced this week. Read this write-up from IISD here. The WTO’s Trade Policy Review Body has released its list of remaining reviews for 2020. The OECS-WTO Members are on the provisional list for 2021, which was also released.

The United Kingdom (UK) and Japan signed the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement this week, making it the UK’s first post-Brexit trade deal. The UK government has also made a major step towards joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

In the meanwhile, UK-EU talks on a post-Brexit trading arrangement remain fraught with tension, with increased pessimism about an orderly split. The latest drama is the Boris Johnson government’s Internal Markets Bill introduced and given its first reading in the House of Commons on September 9. If passed, it would unilaterally override the Withdrawal Agreement signed with the EU and be in violation of international law.

This week, the US House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee held a hearing to consider the renewal of the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) which expires at the end of September. The witness testimonies and the recording from the hearing may be viewed here.

REGIONAL

Caribbean Countries Call for Implementing Urgent Solutions to Support Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond

ECLAC: Authorities from more than 25 countries met with ECLAC and other multilateral organizations at the Caribbean Development Roundtable and the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee. Read more

Barbados to woo luxury travel market

Barbados Today: Government is embarking on a tourism recovery plan with industry partners that will see the island going after more business from the luxury travel market segment. Read more

Dominica to launch entrepreneur visa with 2-year path to citizenship

Investment Migration Insider:In a press release issued today, Roseau-based Advance Global Partners announces it is partnering with the government of Dominica to implement a new Entrepreneur Visa program under which those who invest from US$50,000 and spend three months a year in the country would qualify for naturalization in two years. Read more

Canelle Farms GM speaks on issues in exporting agricultural produce

Loop St. Lucia: The general manager of Canelle Farms, a company that exports agricultural produce to several Caribbean islands, has explained some of the challenges such a business is facing. Read more

US Secretary of State to visit Guyana

Stabroek: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due to visit Guyana on September 17-18, according to well-placed sources. Read more

Some local SME’s can benefit from Caribbean Export/EU COVID-19 grants

Stabroek: Guyana is among several countries, member states of the Caribbean Export Development Agency that can access a newly developed Direct Supports Grant facility launched by the Agency in collaboration with the European Union (EU) that will enable business enterprises CARIFORUM member countries to access funding that will help them respond to the impact of the pandemic on their businesses. Read more

INTERNATIONAL

COVID-19: Shipping data hints to some recovery in global trade

UNCTAD: The number of ships pulling into ports to unload and load containers rebounded in many parts of the world in the third quarter of 2020, according to new UNCTAD calculations. This offers a hopeful sign for world merchandise trade, which suffered a historic year-on-year fall of 27% in the second quarter. Read more

Trump Threatened Then-WTO Chief With U.S. Withdrawal, Book Says

Bloomberg: President Donald Trump threatened to withdraw the U.S. from the World Trade Organization during a contentious phone call with the group’s then-leader, according to a new book by journalist Bob Woodward. Read more

Biden’s hands may be tied on Trump’s China tariffs, trade experts say

CNBC: “Damaging,” “reckless” and “disastrous” are some of the words Joe Biden has used to describe tariffs imposed by Donald Trump on allies and rivals alike. He may keep some in place anyway if he is elected president of the United States in November. Read more

Who will be the Biden trade czar if he wins in November?

Reuters: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is tapping some of the most experienced trade professionals in Washington to help chart a new course on trade if he is elected. Read more

US, China trade barbs and blows via ASEAN

Asia Times: In a shot across China’s bow, Southeast Asian nations expressed their concern over disputes and militarization in the South China Sea by openly welcoming a greater role for the US in the maritime region. Read more

Canadian tariffs on U.S. products coming within days

CBC (Canada): Canada will retaliate within days against American aluminum tariffs, with plans to announce a series of counter-tariffs early next week. Read more

Canada urged to halt trade talks with Brazil due to Amazon deforestation

Global News: The federal government is being urged to halt trade talks with Brazil after another summer of record-breaking fires in the Amazon rainforest. Read more

Here’s what it means to be a WTO Developing Country

Bloomberg: President Donald Trump says it’s not fair for China to receive preferential trade benefits as a developing nation at the World Trade Organization. Trump’s argument is that China — the largest economy in the world after the U.S. — should not enjoy the kind of preferential trade treatment that’s really intended to bolster much poorer nations. It’s “one of the reasons they’ve taken advantage of us,” Trump told attendees at the Economic Club of New York. “We’re considered the big, fat cow. And no longer.” Read more

WTO leadership race seen as hostage to U.S. election

Reuters: The World Trade Organization’s effort to select a leader entered a new stage this week as ambassadors from 164 member countries met with senior officials for private ‘confessionals’ to say who they support. Read more

UK signs first major post-Brexit trade deal with Japan

BBC: The UK has struck its first major post-Brexit trade pact after signing a deal with Japan that aims to boost trade between the countries by about £15bn. Read more

Brexit: PM defends planned changes to Withdrawal Agreement

BBC: Boris Johnson has urged MPs to support a bill which modifies the Brexit deal he signed with the EU in January. The PM said the Internal Markets Bill would “ensure the integrity of the UK internal market” and hand power to Scotland and Wales. He also claimed it would protect the Northern Ireland peace process. Read more

Brexit: Lords could block PM’s plan to override withdrawal deal

Sky News: As well as fury from European capitals, the PM has also angered those within his own party ahead of parliamentary votes. Read more

Withdrawal Agreement: Brexit plans break international law by giving UK right to interpret deal with EU, minister admits

iNews: The Government will break international law with new proposals to change the meaning of the Withdrawal Agreement, a senior minister has admitted. Brandon Lewis confirmed that legislation published on Wednesday will override part of the Brexit deal agreed last year, but insisted the breach would be “very specific and limited”. Read more

Brexit: Trade talks hang in balance as UK rejects EU ultimatum

BBC: Talks over a trade deal with the EU are hanging in the balance amid a stand-off over the UK’s plans to override part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement. Read more

UK takes major step towards membership of Trans-Pacific free trade area

Gov.uk: The UK has taken a major step in the process of joining CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership), one of the world’s largest and most dynamic free trade areas.International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, alongside the current chair of the CPTPP Commission, Mexican Economy Minister Graciela Márquez, opened discussions between senior UK trade officials and Chief Negotiators from all 11 members of the Partnership to discuss potential UK accession. Read more

U.K. must lower expectations in post-Brexit negotiations with Canada: trade experts

iPolitics: Existing trade standards with Britain will continue once the Canada-U.K. agreement expires at the end of the year, but the U.K. will need to lower its expectations for a future deal with Canada, say trade experts. Read more

UK-Canada trade deal back in focus as talks restart

City AM: Hopes of securing a post-Brexit free trade deal with Canada were given a boost today after trade secretary Liz Truss announced the UK had kickstarted discussions. Read more

Ireland set to lose key trade portfolio after European Commission reshuffle

Euronews: Ireland looks set to lose the EU’s key trade portfolio after a shake-up in Ursula von der Leyen’s top team. Latvia’s Valdis Dombrovskis has been chosen to replace Ireland’s Phil Hogan as EU trade commissioner, who resigned last month. Read more

Pelosi warns ‘no chance’ of US-UK trade deal if Brexit violates international treaty

CNN: Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, has warned that Britain will be unable to secure a trade deal with the US if it does anything to undermine the treaty that brought peace to Northern Ireland after decades of violence. Read more

Senator Rubio urges U.S. commitment to trade deal with Taiwan

Focus Taiwan: Washington, Sept. 10 (CNA) United States Senator Marco Rubio on Thursday called on the U.S. State Department to send a high-ranking official to visit Taiwan as a demonstration of its commitment to negotiating a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA). Read more

New USMCA trade deal could increase demand for nearshoring in Mexico

Freight Waves: Cross-border trade flows in North America will prosper as USMCA settles in, according to speaker at CBP symposium. Read more

France calls on EU to adopt digital tax in 2021 if OECD talks fail

City AM: France has called on the European Union to implement a digital tax by the first quarter of 2021 if an agreement cannot be reached within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) framework. Read more

China-US trade slightly declines amid tensions

Anadolu: China’s bilateral trade with the US has declined slightly in the last eight months, while expanding with the EU and Japan, state-run media reported Monday. Read more

Mukhisa says planned Kenya-US trade deal unfavourable

The Star: In an exclusive interview with the Star, the UNCTAD head, said the US market is already open for Kenyan products under the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) that expires in 2025. Read more

‘AfCFTA will resolve trade conflicts on the continent’ – Ghana’s Amb. to China

Ghanaweb: Ghana’s Ambassador to China, Edward Boateng believes that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will present numerous opportunities to the continent and resolve petty trade disagreements amongst countries. Read more

Africa Should Use AfCFTA As Template for Trade Negotiations – Osinbajo

AllAfrica: As African countries brace up for the effective implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, one of the many ways by which the continent can maximize its benefits is to ensure that trade negotiations with the rest of the world be based on the free trade agreement rather than deals separately endorsed by regional economic blocs, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN. Read more

Is Covid-19 fueling the ecommerce surge in Singapore?

iPrice: While Covid-19 has caused major disruptions in Singapore, many ecommerce players in the country stand to benefit.The sector received a surge in transactions for both essential and discretionary items in the past few months as the pandemic forced most people to stay at home, according to a study conducted by iPrice Group. Read more

Egypt-Brazil sales up 74% with Mercosur agreement

Brazil-Arab News Agency: The Egypt-Mercosur free trade agreement had its third anniversary on September 1st. Since it became effective, exports from Brazil to Egypt climbed 21.1%, according to the National Confederation of Industries (CNI). Read more

Mercosur accord contradicts EU Green Deal and fails to protect communities, study says

The Irish Times: The upcoming trade agreement between the EU and Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay – the Mercosur bloc – “fails across sustainability criteria and stands in direct contradiction to the goals of the European Green Deal”, according to an international group of researchers. Read more

Ratification of EU’s Mercosur trade deal runs into more problems

Irish Examiner: EU plans to push ahead with ratification of the Mercosur trade deal have been derailed.October was the target for the trade deal text agreed by the European Commission and Mercosur to be sent for approval by the EU Council, the European Parliament, and by EU national parliaments. Read more

Argentina/Brazil Bilateral Trade in First Eight Months Declines 20.5 Percent Year-on-Year

Rio Times: South America’s second largest economy was Brazil’s fourth trade partner behind China (including Hong Kong and Macau), the European Union and the United States. Read more

Mauricio J. Claver-Carone Elected IDB President

Barbados Today: Mauricio J. Claver-Carone was elected President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) today during an electronic meeting of the Bank’s Board of Governors. Read more

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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: