Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the week of November 8-14, 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

Fifteen States, comprising 30% of the world’s economy, have signed the world’s largest trading bloc – the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). The signatory States include all 10 ASEAN Member States, Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. Read more here.

The EU has put in place countermeasures against the US with respect to the WTO Boeing dispute, increasing tariffs on U.S. exports into the EU worth $4 billion. Read more here.

EU and UK negotiators resumed Brexit talks in London but appear no closer to a post-Brexit deal as time for the end of the transition period runs out.

Belizeans went to the polls this week and voted for a change of government. John Briceno has been sworn in as Belize’s new Prime Minister. Read more here.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has released a statement congratulating President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Regional experts have been weighing in on what the Biden/Harris victory could potentially mean for US-Caribbean relations. I have included some of the articles below. You can also read my analysis here.

REGIONAL

Don’t expect Biden to rescue the Caribbean, says Bernal

Jamaica Observer: There will be no financial windfall for the Caribbean from a Joe Biden-led US Government cautions Richard Bernal, former Jamaican ambassador to the USA, who on Friday shared his views on the foreign policy implications of a Biden win. Read more

UWI’s Beckles: Biden/Harris victory a ‘win’ for Caribbean

TT Newsday: UWI Vice-Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles says the Biden/Harris victory is also “a win” for the Caribbean. He was speaking at a virtual media conference on Thursday afternoon under the theme Caricom, the UWI, Biden and the Future of Our Voice. Read more

Sir Ronald Sanders: The world is waiting to breathe normally again

Jamaica Observer: Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries should by now have worked out a strategy for securing the early attention of United States President-elect Joe Biden and the team working on his transition into the White House and to the helm of the Government. Read more

What a Biden-Harris win means for Jamaica and the Caribbean

Guyanese Online: While there will be considerable euphoria and pride in a Joe Biden-Kamala Harris win in the US presidential race, Jamaica-born New York-based political scientist, Diana Cassells, is cautioning Jamaica and the Caribbean about their expectations at this time. Read more

American legislators with C’bean roots jubilant over Biden-Harris victory

Jamaica Observer: Caribbean American legislators in the United States on Saturday celebrated the election of US Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden and his Caribbean American vice-presidential running mate Senator Kamala Harris. Read more

Coffee exporters seeking to retain US$10 million in exports to Japan

Jamaica Observer: The Jamaica Coffee Exporters Association is seeking to retain some US$10 million in exports of Blue Mountain coffee to the Japanese market for the 2020-21 crop year, similar to the value purchased last year. Read more

Government Supports Export Efforts Of Local Businesses

JIS: State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce (MIIC), Dr. the Hon. Norman Dunn, said the Government is committed to facilitating the export efforts of local businesses. Read more

Transformational Changes Coming For Agriculture In The Region

Jamaica Gleaner: As agriculture and food systems across Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) try to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, policymakers must act to unleash the sector’s vast potential to drive sustainable and inclusive growth for decades to come, according to a new World Bank report. Read more

BSI launches project to support sugar industry

Amandala: On November 2, 2020, ASR/BSI officially launched the Belize Smart Sugarcane Cluster Project, a digital platform that will make information readily available to all the stakeholders in the sugarcane industry, and will especially help the 5,200 farmers who grow most of the cane that the Tower Hill factory converts to sugar for export and to supply local needs. Read more

Vincentian appointed Director of Trade and Sustainable Development Association of Caribbean States

Searchlight: Safiya Horne-Bique, a Vincentian national, assumed her duties as Director of Trade and Sustainable Development at the Secretariat of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) on Monday November 2, 2020. Read more

Europe’s appetite for Caribbean food highlights growing trend

EU Reporter: The Caribbean food market is now worth almost £100 million. Sauces and condiments in particular are worth £1.12 billion and grew by 16.8% in the last year. Read more

Western Union to suspend US transfers to Cuba

Caribbean News Global: Western Union said on Friday it was suspending US money transfers to Cuba in 10 days due to the Trump administration’s latest sanction on the Communist-run island, in a blow to the many Cubans who rely on remittances from family abroad. Read more

INTERNATIONAL

RCEP: Asia-Pacific countries form world’s largest trading bloc

BBC: Fifteen countries have formed the world’s largest trading bloc, covering nearly a third of the global economy. Read more

What is RCEP and what does an Indo-Pacific free-trade deal offer China?

SCMP: When leaders from 15 countries in the Indo-Pacific region meet for a virtual summit on Sunday, they are expected to sign a free-trade agreement that, measured by population and GDP, is one of the most ambitious ever struck. Read more

Trudeau: UK’s lack of negotiating practice could delay Canada trade deal

The Guardian: Canada could easily negotiate a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK, Justin Trudeau has said, but he warned that talks could be delayed because British negotiators are so out of practice. Read more

Trudeau says he expects trade deal with U.K. can be done before 2021

CBC: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he expects Canada can make a new trade deal with the U.K. before the calendar hit 2021. Read more

Boeing WTO case: The EU puts in place countermeasures against U.S. exports

EU: The European Commission’s regulation increasing tariffs on U.S. exports into the EU worth $4 billion will be published in the Official Journal of the EU. Read more

EU-UK talks: ‘Make or break’ moment approaching, say both sides

BBC: Trade talks between the UK and EU are reaching the “make or break” point, the two sides have said, with key differences proving hard to resolve. Read more

EU unlikely to give UK more time to adjust after Brexit transition ends, Ireland’s FM tells Euronews

Euronews: It is unlikely the European Union will grant the UK a grace period in January to help business adjust to the new post-Brexit trading regime, Ireland’s foreign affairs minister has told Euronews. Read more

Trading partners seek post-Brexit clarity at WTO

Reuters: Major trading partners called on Britain and the European Union (EU) on Friday to clarify terms for renegotiating tariff levels after Brexit and for compensating their suppliers for any lost market access, a Geneva trade official said. Read more

In first for Fed, U.S. central bank says climate poses stability risks

Reuters: “The U.S. Federal Reserve for the first time called out climate change among risks enumerated in its biannual financial stability report, and warned about the potential for abrupt changes in asset values in response to a warming planet. Read more

EU hits Amazon with antitrust charges. A huge fine could follow

CNN: The European Union has unveiled formal antitrust charges against Amazon for abusing its dominance in online shopping and opened a second investigation into the company’s business practices. Read more

Commission welcomes agreement on the modernisation of EU export controls

EU: The European Commission welcomes the agreement reached today by the European Parliament and the Council on its proposal for a modernisation of EU export controls on sensitive dual-use goods and technologies. Read more

Appointment of WTO chief in doubt after key meeting cancelled

The Guardian: Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had been expected to be confirmed as leader on Monday. Read more

5 ways the WTO can make investment easier and boost sustainable development

World Economic Forum: As WTO delegates discuss what might be important measures to include, here are five provisions worth considering. Read more

As WTO Talks Continue on Subsidy Reform Initiatives, Concerns Persist over Poor Notification Records

IISD: The need to reform the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) agriculture subsidy rules and to clinch a deal that disciplines harmful fisheries subsidies are well known, and the latter agreement is now nearly within striking distance. Read more

WTO Committee Discusses Ways to Facilitate FDI in Small Economies

IISD: A meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Committee on Trade and Development discussed foreign direct investment (FDI) and a joint communication on accelerating implementation of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). Read more

Minister for Agriculture: ‘Tariffs will apply under WTO rules in no-deal Brexit’

Irish Examiner: The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, has confirmed that tariffs will apply to Irish goods going into the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit scenario because of World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. Read more

How intra-African trade is progressing amid the pandemic

BBC: Last year African countries signed an agreement aimed at increasing trade between them. If implemented successfully, they believe it could create a single African market of over a billion consumers. 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: