Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the week of October 18-24, 2020! For October, 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

According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), “Global trade in services in the second quarter of 2020 plunged by a record 30% year-on-year, with the travel sector particularly hard hit by COVID-19 and associated restrictions”. Read more here.

UNCTAD estimates show a 5% drop in world trade in the third quarter of 2020 compared to 2019. While this is an improvement from the 19% decline in the second quarter, UNCTAD notes that it is insufficient to pull trade out of the red. Read more here.

REGIONAL

Belize files lawsuit against St Kitts and Trinidad and Tobago over sugar exports

LoveFM: The Government of Belize is suing St Kitts along with Trinidad and Tobago over sugar importation. Love News understands that the two countries have been acquiring sugar from Guatemala without paying the required taxes. According to the Minister of Food and Agriculture Godwin Hulse the lawsuit was filed earlier this month. Read more

Cuba to promote exports to Caribbean countries

Prensa Latina: Cuba will promote exports of products and services to representatives of Caribbean nations, the Chamber of Commerce reported. Read more

IMF describes COVID-19 pandemic as a ‘crisis like no other’ for Caribbean

NYCaribNews: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday said the economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the Caribbean has been “massive”, particularly for tourism-dependent countries in the region, but that lower commodity prices were also having a “major impact” on Caribbean commodity exporters. Read more

John Beale looking to strengthen Barbados-Belize trade

Barbados Today: Beale, who spoke to Barbados TODAY after receiving his official accreditation at the Ministry of Home Affairs, today, said during his tenure he will be focusing on strengthening the relationship between the two countries, particularly in the area of trade. Read more

Caribbean Export Development Agency launches first virtual expo event

EU Reporter: The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) has announced the launch of its first virtual expo event named ‘Absolutely Caribbean, unlocking the profit potential of the Caribbean’. Taking place on 17th and 18th November 2020, the event will bring together around 50 producers to showcase some of the best products that the Caribbean has to offer. Read more

Caribbean Export builds services supplier registry for region

Jamaica Observer: The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) has announced its development of an online registry for suppliers of Caribbean-based services. Read more

TT signs trade agreement with Chile

Newsday: Caricom and Foreign Affairs minister Dr Amery Browne said the signing of the general framework agreement for the partial scope trade agreement between TT and Chile will allow for deepening, widening and enhancing of bilateral ties between the two countries. Read more

Private sector groups want 2-year tax relief on digital devices

Jamaica Observer: Some of the country’s major private sector groups yesterday jointly urged the Government to remove “all duties and taxes” on digital devices for at least two years. Read more

INTERNATIONAL

New portal tracks trade’s contribution to sustainable development

UNCTAD: The SDG Trade Monitor offers a one-stop shop for users to obtain updated and disaggregated official data on global trade’s contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Read more

Africa: Trade Experts Call for Implementation of AfCFTA

AllAfrica: African trade experts have called for the swift implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to lift the continent out of an economic downturn caused by COVID-19. Read more

Africa trade bloc will drive investment

New Vision: The Economic Commission of Africa’s (ECA) Regional Integration and Trade Division Director, Stephen Karingi, said this while presenting discussion reports by the ECA on investment issues during the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM2020) Africa. Read more

Positive reaction for PACER Plus ratification in Australia and NZ

RNZ: Australia’s government says trade and prosperity in the Pacific will thrive when the PACER Plus regional trade agreement comes into force within two months. Read more

South Pacific trade deal comes into force

Australia Financial Review: Australian producers will gain hundreds of millions of dollars in new sales with tariffs on beef, dairy products, car parts and toiletries to be reduced or eliminated when a Pacific islands free trade deal comes into force in December. Read more

China’s purchases of U.S. farm goods at 71% of target under trade deal: U.S.

Reuters: China has substantially increased purchases of U.S. farm goods and implemented 50 of 57 technical commitments aimed at lowering structural barriers to U.S. imports since the two nations signed a trade deal in January, the U.S. government said on Friday. Read more

Norway, Britain in provisional trade agreement on goods for no-deal Brexit scenario

Reuters: Norway and Britain have signed a temporary, limited agreement to help maintain trade in goods in case there is no final Brexit trade deal in place by year-end, the Norwegian Industry ministry said on Wednesday. Read more

6 home truths for the new head of the WTO

WTO: The race to be the next Director-General (DG) of the World Trade Organisation is now down to two candidates: Ngozi Okonjo Iweala of Nigeria, and Yoo Myung-hee of South Korea. Whoever prevails will face the reality as the global trade body chief. Read more

WTO members discuss proposal of India, South Africa for easing IP rules for COVID-19

Financial Express: The WTO states the proponents of the proposal argued the relaxations would avoid barriers to the timely access to affordable medical products, including vaccines and medicines. Read more

India opposes binding pact on open services trade at WTO

Hindu Business Line: New Delhi insists on flexibility on movement of professionals. Read more

UK-US trade deal cannot happen if Brexit talks fail, ex-official says

Telegraph: US presidential candidate Joe Biden says the UK must honour the Good Friday agreement in EU negotiations. Read more

Brexit: EU-UK trade deal talks to resume after London has a change of heart

Euronews: London will resume talks over a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU from Thursday – less than a week after threatening to walk away from negotiations. Read more

EU leaders weigh up hard choices over Brexit trade deal

BBC: On the eve of their two-day summit in Brussels, the prime minister reminded EU leaders of his words back in early September. Read more

Brexit: Hopes of EU trade deal rise as Michel Barnier stays on for more talks

The Times: Michel Barnier has remained in London for intensive talks, prompting hopes that a trade deal with the EU will be concluded. Read more

Whether Trump or Biden wins, US-China relations look set to worsen

The Guardian: Tensions will persist whoever is in the White House. The key difference, observers expect, will be in approach. Read more

U.S. to Sign Limited Trade Deal With Brazil

New York Times: The new pact is expected to ease trade barriers, strengthen regulation and crack down on corruption. 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: