Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the week of September 13-19, 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.

THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS

And then there were five! The race for who will be the next Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) has narrowed from eight candidates to five: Amina Mohamed (Kenya), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Nigeria), Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri (Saudi Arabia), Yoo Myung-hee (South Korea), and Liam Fox (The United Kingdom).Read more here.

A WTO dispute settlement panel found that additional tariffs imposed in 2018 by the US on Chinese goods contravened the US’ obligations under international trading rules. Read the panel report here. The WTO’s latest Services Barometer shows “modest gains in some key sectors, suggesting a degree of resilience in the face of the pandemic”. Read more here.

Regionally, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo made a state visit to Guyana this week where he also met with the Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), H.E. Irwin LaRocque. The renewal of the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA), due to expire at the end of this month, was among the topics discussed during the meeting. Read more here.

REGIONAL NEWS

Pompeo asks Suriname, Guyana to favour US business over China

Al Jazeera: Pompeo becomes the first US secretary of state to visit the two South American states where oil was recently discovered. Read more

CARICOM SG raises economic fallout from pandemic with Pompeo

Stabroek: The severe economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic on CARICOM countries was one of the issues raised yesterday by Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque with visiting US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. Read more

OECS Foreign Ministers Discussed Blacklisting Of Tax Havens By European Union

St Kitts Nevis Observer: The meeting addressed issues of critical concern to the Organization and its Member States including key developments in the international arena; the ongoing negotiations between the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPs) and the European Union (EU) on a new Agreement post-Cotonou; blacklisting of States as “non-cooperative tax jurisdictions” by the European Union, BREXIT and its implications for Cariforum/UK Trade and Economic Relations; and strategic joint diplomatic and commercial engagement in specified jurisdictions. Read more

Caribbean countries record 50 per cent decline in visitor arrivals in first six months of 2020

Jamaica Observer: Caribbean countries have recorded a 50 per cent decline in tourist arrivals up to the month of June this year, a senior official of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) said earlier this week. Read more

Barbados to establish diaspora unit and four new embassies

BGIS: The Diaspora Unit, according to Dame Sandra, will be a platform for advancing Barbados’ economic interests abroad through the Barbadian diaspora and Friends of Barbados communities, which were described as under-used assets with regard to their networks, skills and resources. Read more

Why Congress Needs to Renew Caribbean, GSP Trade Programs Now

US Chamber: Washington is no stranger to “must pass” legislation, and the end of the fiscal year on September 30 and the recent lapse in several pandemic response measures rightly command congressional attention. But lawmakers should not overlook the need to renew two soon-to-lapse trade programs that support American jobs: The Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). Read more

Jose Mai: Time to put agriculture first in Belize

Breaking Belize News: Веlіzе ѕhоuld lооk tо Мехісо fоr а раrtіаl ѕсоре аgrееmеnt оn ехроrt, аnd tаkе аdvаntаgе оf оur раrtnеrѕ tо rеbuіld аgrісulturе thrоugh аn ехраndеd рrоgrаm іn ѕсhооlѕ. Read more

Gov’t Pledges To Put Brakes On JSWIFT Hiccups

Jamaica Gleaner: The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, in responding to a Gleaner article about the Jamaica Single Window for Trade (JSWIFT) published on Tuesday, said the portal will soon become much swifter. Read more

Cuba shuts down interprovincial transportation due to new COVID-19 fears

Reuters: Cuban state media reported on Saturday interprovincial transportation would be shut down and a curfew in Havana extended until the end of the month as a surge in COVID-19 cases in the capital spreads to other areas. Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Brexit: NI told to start work on checkpoints at sea ports

BBC: A letter from the UK government to Stormont’s Agriculture Department instructs it to start work on check-points at NI’s sea ports without delay. The letter, seen by BBC News NI, says it is critical checks are in place, stating such moves are in accordance with the Northern Ireland protocol. Read more

Biden or Trump, no guarantee of a post-Brexit U.S.-UK trade deal

Reuters: U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden’s recent warning that Britain must honor Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace agreement to secure a U.S. trade deal adds new complexity to already tough trade talks between the United States and the U.K. Read more

Tariff showdown with Trump a shallow victory for Canada

Niagara Falls Review: Donald Trump’s decision to cancel tariffs on Canadian aluminum imports is a short-term win for Ottawa. In the long run, however, it is anything but. Read more

A brewing U.S.-China tech cold war rattles the semiconductor industry

CNBC: As trade tensions mount between the U.S. and China, the U.S. semiconductor industry fears a tech cold war could disrupt the global supply chain. Now companies on both sides of the Pacific are trying to develop strategies to mitigate risk — whether it’s hoarding supplies or looking at shifting the location of production facilities. Read more

How Will the Coronavirus Pandemic Permanently Change the Travel Trade?

TravelPulse: As with all monumental global events, the coronavirus pandemic will create permanent change throughout the world, including the travel advisor community. Read more

U.S. calls off tariffs on Canadian aluminum — for now

CBC (Canada): The United States hit the pause button on tariffs on Canadian aluminum today, agreeing to withdraw current penalties — at least until after the presidential election in November. Read more

US companies seeking tariff relief faced red tape, delays

AP: Companies seeking relief from President Donald Trump’s taxes on imported steel and aluminum ran into long delays and cumbersome paperwork, a federal watchdog found. Read more

Global service trade decline shows signs of bottoming out – WTO

Reuters: A contraction in global trade in services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is showing signs of bottoming out, the World Trade Organization said on Thursday as its trade barometer index fell to a record low. Read more

Top UN economists warn of crises of our own making if global ‘megatrends’ left unchecked

UNCTAD: Five human‑made “megatrends” will continue to dominate and frustrate global efforts to put the world on a more sustainable and prosperous path, unless urgent policy interventions to influence them are taken now, the UN Economist Network warned today in a new report. Read more

Nigeria working to attract more foreign direct investments to prepare for AfCFTA – Trade Minister

Nairametrics: Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Niyi Adebayo, has said that Nigeria is actively working to attract more foreign direct investments into key industries to meet the demands of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Read more

Zimbabwe: Rules of Origin Key to Success of AfCFTA

AllAfrica: The protocol of trade in goods is comprised of 32 articles and nine annexes in the Africa Continent Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). Annex 2 of the protocol of trade in goods focuses on rules of origins and is complemented by various appendixes. Read more

Ghanaian businesses need support to ‘win’ under AfCFTA – AGI

Ghanaweb: Business setbacks such as high cost of power, access to capital, among others, remain a concern for Ghanaian industries, and if the government wants to “win” with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), it needs to ensure businesses are supported to become competitive, the Accra Regional Chairman of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Tsonam Cleanse Akpeloo, has said. Read more

Mauritania Finalizes AfCFTA Implementation Strategy

AllAfrica: The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and the ECA Office in North Africa will hold today in Nouakchott (Mauritania) a workshop to validate the national strategy for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Read more

Ukraine, Turkey restart free trade agreement talks

MENAFM: Ukraine and Turkey have restarted the negotiation process on signing a free trade agreement. Read more

Most Canadians don’t understand trade deals, but support free trade: report

iPolitics: Survey findings released by the federal government suggest Canadians have little understanding of their country’s international trade agreements, including the recently negotiated United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Read more

Do the WTO and the 1972 Free Trade Agreement guarantee Swiss access to the EU market?

Swissinfo.ch: The authors of a popular initiative to limit immigration to Switzerland from the 27-nation European Union say a “yes” vote will not affect Swiss businesses’ access to the EU market. A fact check shows the claim to be misleading. Read more

India engaging with ASEAN to review FTA: Piyush Goyal

Financial Express: In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said in the India-ASEAN Economic Ministers Consultations held on August 29, both sides instructed the senior officials to engage to determine the scope of the review. Read more

France says opposes EU-Mercosur trade deal over deforestation concerns

Buenos Aires Times: France opposed to free-trade deal in its current form due to “major” concerns about deforestation in the region, the government said on Friday. 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: