Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the week of October 11-17, 2020! We are going pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month! 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

UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has declared Brexit talks with the EU ‘over’ and according to this BBC report, argued that “there was “no point” in discussions continuing next week unless the EU was prepared to discuss the detailed legal text of a partnership”. Read more here.

A WTO arbitrator issued its decision on the level of countermeasures the EU may request with respect to the US in “United States — Measures Affecting Trade in Large Civil Aircraft — Second Complaint” (DS353). Read the decision here.

US President Donald Trump has signed H.R. 991 the “Extension of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act” into law which extends the preferential access certain Caribbean countries enjoy for eligible goods into the US market under the CBERA and the CBTPA, the latter of which was to expire September 30, 2020.

Speaking on behalf of the CARICOM Group at the WTO, the OECS Permanent Delegation at Geneva raised the issue of the EU’s blacklisting of certain CARICOM Member States before the WTO’s General Council this week. Read the press release which includes the full statement here.

REGIONAL NEWS

U.S. Congress Passes Haiti-Led Trade Agreement Between America And The Caribbean

Haitian Times: The renewal of the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act is expected to secure 60,000 jobs in Haiti, mostly in textiles and apparel. The U.S. Congress has renewed the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act, an agreement that allows countries in the region to continue importing and exporting goods with America. Read more

CBERA extended, US-Caribbean trade ties strengthened

Trinidad Guardian: According to a news release from T&T’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, the new law –which was signed by President Donald Trump on October 10th, will remain in force until 30th September 2030, ensuring continued preferential duty treatment for certain goods produced in the Caribbean Basin. Read more

Blue BioTrade project set to improve fortunes in the eastern Caribbean

UNCTAD: A new project launched on 7 October by UNCTAD, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) seeks to change the fortune of small scale coastal producers of queen conch in the Eastern Caribbean. Read more

Belize accuses St Kitts & Nevis of importing sugar outside of CARICOM

SKNVibes: The Government has been informed that it would face the court for allegations of breaching several sections of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas by reportedly importing sugar from outside the Caribbean Community. Read more

Trade-related claim against SKN discussed in National Assembly

ST Kitts & Nevis Observer: The public was updated on a trade-related claim that has recently been brought by the Government of Belize against the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago regarding sugar imports from two non-CARICOM Member States by Minister of International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, the Honourable Wendy Phipps during a Sitting of the National Assembly on October 15. Read more

OECS Permanent Delegation Protests Blacklisting Of Caribbean ‘Tax Havens’ At World Trade Organization

St Kitts & Nevis Observer: At the General Council of the World Trade Organization, the organization’s highest decision-making body, the Permanent Delegation of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), speaking on behalf of the CARICOM group, addressed several critical issues currently affecting Caribbean countries, including efforts by some WTO members to blacklist, CARICOM Member States. Read more

CARPHA Partners with, PAHO to Ensure Caribbean States’ Equitable Access to COVID-19 Vaccine

CARICOM: The Caribbean Public health Agency (CARPHA), with funding from the European Union (EU), has entered into an agreement with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) to support Member States’ participation in the COVAX Facility. Read more

CARICOM complaints form available

Nation News: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nationals who believe that they may have been hindered from accessing the rights afforded to them through the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), now have a mechanism by which their concerns may be addressed. Read more

Caricom stakeholders push for legally binding Caribbean Sea biodiversity agreement

Newsday: Caricom stakeholders are calling for regional collaboration and strong stakeholder involvement in global efforts to ensure Caricom people get equitable access to and shared benefits from the ocean. Read more

CARICOM Ambassador says hefty air taxes need to be re-examined

CARICOM: The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing Caribbean countries to re-examine intra-regional travel and seek solutions to the high travel taxes problem. Read more

CARIFESTA XV in Antigua postponed until 2022

Caribbean Life: The Gaston Browne administration in Antigua and Barbuda announced on Oct. 8 that, after consultations with the Guyana-based Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA) XV has been postponed until 2022. Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Brexit: Trade talks with the EU are over, says No 10

BBC: Talks between the UK and EU over a post-Brexit trade agreement are “over”, Downing Street has said. No 10 argued there was “no point” in discussions continuing next week unless the EU was prepared to discuss the detailed legal text of a partnership. Read more

Brexit brinkmanship: Johnson says prepare for no-deal, cancels trade talks

Reuters: Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday it was now time to prepare for a no-trade deal Brexit unless the European Union fundamentally changed course, bluntly telling Brussels that there was no point in continuing the negotiations. Read more

WTO Members Advance Text Negotiations on Fisheries Subsidies

IISD: World Trade Organization (WTO) members began work on a consolidated draft document towards an agreement on curbing harmful fisheries subsidies. Members reviewed draft language on subsidies contributing to overcapacity and overfishing, subsidies to distant water fishing, transparency provisions, and special and differential treatment of developing and least developed countries (LDCs). Read more

The China-Cambodia FTA to Become Cambodia’s First Bilateral Free Trade Agreement

ASEAN Briefing: China and Cambodia signed a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries on October 5, 2020. The deal was inked virtually between Cambodia’s Commerce Minister Pan Sorasak and Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan. Cambodia’s Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen and visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi were also present to witness the signing. Read more

How Biden would use trade agreements to fight global warming

Politico: The former vice president and key Democrats in Congress want to use trade agreements to fight global warming, but reversing four years of Trump’s “energy dominance” is no easy task. Read more

WTO boss’ recent early exit a warning shot to multilateralism

Swissinfo.ch: The embattled World Trade Organization has announced two shortlist candidates to be its new leader. In a historic first, both are women. But they are unlikely to find the job any easier than Brazil’s Roberto Azevedo. Read more

EU trade policy needs more than just repainting the front door

Euractiv: The EU’s trade policy needs a radical overhaul following Parliament’s opposition to the EU-Mercosur treaty, write Raphael Glucksmann and Agnes Jongerius. Read more

UK statement to the WTO Trade Negotiations Committee

Gov.uk: The UK’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the WTO in Geneva, Andy Staines delivered the following statement to the WTO Trade Negotiations Committee on 12 October 2020. Read more

WTO DG: Okonjo-Iweala gets the backing of 79 countries so far

Nairametrics: Okonjo-Iweala has disclosed that she has gotten the endorsement of 79 out of the 164 countries that comprise the WTO. Read more

Hong Kong lashes out at US ‘Made in China’ labelling rule at the World Trade Organization

South China Morning Post: Hong Kong has formally denounced at the World Trade Organization (WTO) a Trump administration regulation that goods made in the city for export to the US must be labelled as “Made In China”. Read more

Trump warns of backlash if the EU levies around $4 billion in tariffs after WTO ruling

Business Insider: President Donald Trump on Thursday told reporters he will “strike much harder” if the European Union impose tariffs on US goods after winning a World Trade Organization ruling earlier this week. Read more

Trump’s triple failure: Virus control, stimulus and the trade deficit

Washington Post: Given the precarious state of the economy, President Trump’s reckless decision to walk away from stimulus negotiations last week was a consequential act of political malpractice. Read more

China is making up some ground on its U.S. trade deal commitments

Fortune: On Tuesday, data from China’s General Administration of Customs showed a surge in imports and exports in September, with 13.2% and 9.9% growth year on year, respectively. Read more

Turkey-South Africa trade to rise in post-pandemic period

Anadolu: Bilateral trade and investments between Turkey and South Africa are expected to grow as the two countries recover from the effects of the novel coronavirus, the Turkish ambassador to South Africa said. Read more

More trade, less aid: EU and Africa renew their relationship

The Brussels Times: Both the EU and the AU made it clear at the Africa-Europe Civil Society Conference 2020 on Friday that they are looking to renew the quality of the Africa-Europe Partnership in the near future, with higher involvement for the people of the two continents. Read more

AfCFTA To Commence On January 1 As planned

Modern Ghana: Mr Wamkele Mene, Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), says the continental trade regime will take off as planned on January 1 next year. Read more

Trade ministers chart final road to AfCFTA

Southern Times Africa: South Africa’s Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel has been elected chair of a continental ministerial body tasked with finalising negotiations on terms for commencement of preferential trade under the African Continent Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Read more

STRAIGHT FROM THE WTO

NEW ON THE CTLD BLOG

COMING UP THIS WEEK!

Coming up this Wednesday, October 21st, I will be moderating this exciting UNCTAD-SRC Webinar on “International Investment Agreement (IIA) Reform in the Caribbean and the COVID-19 Pandemic“! See the flyer below.

Register in advance for this free Webinar by clicking the Zoom link here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_w1n4JH2QTV6j88PkZxTLOA

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: