Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the week of October 25-31, 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

The big news this week was that although WTO members indicated a strong preference for candidate from Nigeria, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to lead the WTO, the US blocked Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s selection who is also ironically a naturalised US citizen. The USTR’s statement objecting to Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment, while confirming support for candidate South Korea Trade Minister Yoo Myung Hee, can be viewed here. Therefore, as this Bloomberg report notes, the WTO DG race’s fate now depends on the outcome of Tuesday’s US presidential election.

The 41st Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was held virtually on 29 October 2020. The items discussed included COVID-19’s impact on the region, a Caribbean Economic Recovery and Transformation (CERT) Plan, EU blacklisting, a regional tourism policy, inter alia. Read the full communique here.

Happening this week: Americans officially go to the polls to vote for their next president. A record over 90 million Americans and counting have already cast their ballot in early voting or by mail-in ballot. Read my article on why this election cycle is particularly important for the Caribbean here.

Regionally, St Vincent and the Grenadines will be holding their elections this week on November 5. On October 31, St. Kitts & Nevis becomes the latest and one of the last Caribbean countries to re-open its borders. Read more here.

Last week I also had the pleasure and honour of being a panelist at the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) Global Business Week Conference on the panel entitled “New Opportunities for trade to and from Barbados“. Thank you to the organizers, excellent moderator and awesome fellow panelists for what was a very stimulating session.

REGIONAL NEWS

UN SG Calls For A Vulnerability Index For CARICOM

News Americas Now: Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, is calling for a multidimensional vulnerability index that will help CARICOM countries. Read more

Cuba Says US Sanctions Have Caused Nearly $5.6B In Losses

Jamaica Gleaner: Cuba said Thursday that the island has lost nearly $5.6 billion in one year as a result of economic sanctions imposed by US President Donald Trump. Read more

High interest in intra-regional travel

Barbados Advocate: Persons eager to visit countries within’ the bubble’, says travel advisor. Country Manager of Going Places Travel Barbados, Alana Gray, says there have been many enquiries for travel within the travel bubble. Read more

Multilateral financial institutions have failed Caribbean countries: Robinson

Barbados Advocate: University of the West Indies (The UWI) economist, Dr. Justin Robinson, has lashed out at the multilateral financial institutions, saying that they had failed small countries just when they require financing to get out of their present predicament. Read more

First ship to arrive at Bridgetown Port on Sunday

Barbados Today: Barbados will this weekend welcome its first cruise passengers since the global suspension of cruise in March this year. Read more

Barbados International Business Sector showing resilience

Barbados Advocate: The International Business and Financial Services sector, despite the current COVID-19 pandemic, is demonstrating its resilience by performing reasonably well under the current circumstances. Read more

Jamaica earns US$250M from Tourism for June to September period

Jamaica Star: Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett has disclosed that Jamaica has earned just over US$250 million since the island’s borders reopened in June. Read more

Guyana sets new oil discovery record – now the largest new conventional liquids play in the last decade

Kaieteur News: The Yellowtail-2 and Redtail discoveries which were made in July and September respectively have pushed Guyana’s recoverable estimate to approximately nine billion oil equivalent resources. In light of this development, Guyana is now the largest new conventional liquids play in the last decade says Senior Vice President at ExxonMobil, Jack Williams. Read more

Guyana Gov’t negotiating with CARICOM on better export market access for farmers

Stabroek: In a bid to assist local farmers access regional export markets, the Guy-ana government is in discussions with the Carib-bean Community (CARICOM) in hopes of securing the relaxation or removal altogether of what it sees as some rigid non-tariff measures on local food produce, Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha has said. Read more

‘CARICOM Bubble’ statistics being monitored to evaluate COVID-19 cases

St Kitts & Nevis: St. Kitts and Nevis has the intends to participate in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Bubble and has been monitoring what is happening in the eight participating territories, says Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hazel Laws, speaking at the National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC)/Border Reopening Press Briefing on October 28. Read more

CARICOM divided on Venezuela at OAS assembly

NY Carib News: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries were divided on the issue of “free and fair” elections in Venezuela, with The Bahamas, Haiti, Jamaica, and St Lucia all voting in favor of the resolution tabled at the 50th General assembly of the Organisation of American States (OAS) that ended here on Wednesday. Read more

CARICOM establishes regional Food Security Task Force

Loop Barbados: The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has sought to address the region’s concerns about food security through the establishment of a Food Security Task Force. Read more

Trinidad & Tobago Govt pushing female entrepreneurs

Trinidad & Tobago Express: Trinidad & Tobago is the first country in the Caribbean to officially launch SheTrades, an initiative of the International Trade Centre (ITC), which is now part of a community of over 25 countries working towards connecting over three million women entrepreneurs to global markets by 2021. Read more

Western Union to close in Cuba following new US sanctions

Jamaica Observer: US-based money transfer company Western Union will close its offices in Cuba following new sanctions from Washington which prevent it from working with Fincimex, a financial company run by the island’s military, Havana said yesterday. Read more

RUBiS enters petrochemical export market

Jamaica Observer: RUBiS Energy Jamaica Limited recently dispatched the island’s first export shipment of petrochemicals — a move which sees the country becoming the first in the region to undertake such a venture due to its terminal and storage infrastructure. Read more

Caribbean Export and WIRSPA partner on the Absolutely Caribbean Virtual Expo

EU Reporter: Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) and the West Indies Rum & Spirits Producers Association (WIRSPA) are working together to support increased trade of rum and spirits between the Caribbean and Europe with the Absolutely Caribbean Virtual Expo, scheduled for 17-18 November. Read more

ACS States with new Secretary-General

Prensa Latina: Panamanian Rodolfo Sabonge began his four-year term of office as Secretary-General of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) ‘under circumstances we never thought we would meet. Read more

TT second largest regional supplier of medical products

Newsday: A UNITED Nations (UN) country database shows that TT was the second largest supplier of medical products to other countries in the region after export restrictions from major suppliers created issues accessing critical medial supplies throughout the region. Read more

Adjustments needed to the way we negotiate partnerships, says Marshall

Barbados Today: One senior economist is calling for a review of how Barbados and other Caribbean states negotiate trade agreements with more developed nations. Dr Don Marshall, Director and Senior Research Fellow at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies (SALISES), said the time had come for small island developing states to raise issues relating to their vulnerabilities and other developmental concerns when discussing partnerships. Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

CBI chief fires parting shot over slow pace of Brexit negotiations

BBC: Carolyn Fairbairn says the UK economy is in ‘suspended animation’ while issue remain unresolved. Read more

Brexit talks making good progress, says Ursula Von der Leyen

The Guardian: European commission president says key issues are level playing field and fisheries. Read more

Brexit deal hangs in the balance, says EU council president

The Guardian: Outcome of next two weeks of talks crucial but uncertain, says Charles Michel. Read more

Chatham House speech: Liz Truss sets out vision for values-driven free trade

Gov.uk: International Trade Secretary Liz Truss delivers the keynote speech at Chatham House’s ‘Global Trade Live’ event setting out her vision for UK trade policy. Read more

Liz Truss: NHS ‘off the table’ in Brexit talks with US

City AM: International trade secretary Liz Truss has insisted the NHS remains “off the table” in post-Brexit trade talks with the US, as the government scrambles to shore up relations with presidential hopeful Joe Biden ahead of next week’s election. Read more

Trump’s phase one trade deal with China and the US election

PIIE: President Donald Trump has staked a claim to success in his trade war with China on his phase one trade agreement of January 2020. In his self-proclaimed “historic” deal, China committed to purchasing an additional $200 billion of American-made goods and services over 2020 and 2021. Trump has even boasted that the deal “could be closer to $300 billion when it finishes.” Read more

US moves closer to expanding tech export controls list as competition with China for future technology builds

South China Morning Post: Commerce Department moves closer in seeking industry input to identify, define and set criteria for technology that will be subject to export controls. Read more

Thailand expresses full support for WTO reforms

The Guardian: Thailand has voiced full support for the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) reforms to make the intergovernmental body aware of trade situations and that would enable it to accelerate the global economic recovery following the pandemic. Read more

A Biden Win Could Renew a Democratic Split on Trade

NY Times: Democrats have been unified by their desire to oust President Trump. But if that happens, deep divisions on the issue of trade are likely to reappear. Read more

China has a golden opportunity to show global leadership, with a WTO fisheries deal

South China Morning Post: China is a fishing superpower. If Beijing is truly committed to a rules-based multilateral trading system, it must show leadership in securing a meaningful WTO agreement to tackle global fishing subsidies and curb overfishing. Read more

EU strengthens trade enforcement arsenal with revamped regulation

EU: Today, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council reached a political agreement on reinforcing the EU’s Enforcement Regulation. As part of the agreement, the Commission committed to developing the EU’s anti-coercion mechanism swiftly. Read more

Trump Trade Policy Gets Failing Grades

Forbes: Donald Trump may believe his trade agenda is a success, but a new analysis gives his administration’s trade policies poor marks. The analysis finds the Trump administration’s policy of raising tariffs and misusing U.S. trade laws have harmed consumers, disrupted supply chains and failed to achieve objectives that are important to the United States. Read more

Biden Or Trump, Next 4 Years For Canada-U.S. Trade Will Be ‘Bumpy’

Huffpost: Protectionism is rearing its head again in the United States, leaving the Trudeau minority government to figure out ways to work with an unpredictable neighbour. Read more

Canadian Ambassador to U.S. says there is no justification to change border restrictions

CTV: Canada’s Ambassador to the United States Kirsten Hillman said there is no justification to ease the Canada-U.S. land border restrictions any time soon. Speaking to CTV’s Power Play on Friday, Hillman stressed that either country is not prepared to loosen border restrictions before 2021. Read more

What would a Joe Biden presidency mean for a UK-US post-Brexit trade deal?

iTV: With the US presidential election days away, focus is shifting to what priorities the winner will have during their four years in power at the White House. Read more

Cruz, Cornyn Complain to Trump That Mexico Is Undermining USMCA

Bloomberg: US senators Cruz and Cornyn sent a letter to President Trump arguing that Mexico’s energy policy undermines the spirit of the USMCA trade agreement. Read more

African trade finance banks urge MDBs to take on greater levels of risk

Global Trade Review: Trade finance executives across Africa are urging multilateral development banks (MDBs) to “intervene decisively” and boost credit support to banks on the continent as a potential insolvency crisis looms. Read more

S. Korea, Mongolia to lower tariffs starting 2021 under regional trade pact

Korea Times: South Korea and Mongolia will lower tariffs on some products starting next year, as Ulaanbaatar joined a regional trade pact known as the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), Seoul’s finance ministry said Friday. Read more

China-Mongolia trade to benefit from Mongolia’s APTA membership

Xinhua: China and Mongolia are expecting lower tariffs in bilateral trade after Mongolia’s recent accession to the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), China’s Ministry of Commerce said Monday. Read more

STRAIGHT FROM THE WTO

NEW ON THE CTLD BLOG

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: