March 3, 2021

Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest – November 29 – December 5, 2020

Season’s Greetings! Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the week of November 29-December 5, 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

This week, on December 3, negotiators from the European Union (EU) and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) finally reached a twenty-year post-Cotonou partnership agreement. With the clock ticking to December 31 – the end of the UK’s transition period – post-brexit negotiations remain hung up on sticking points.

For the first time since its establishment, the WTO’s Appellate Body will no longer have a single sitting judge as the term of the last remaining AB member Prof. Dr. Hong Zhao of China expired November 30.

On December 4, Vanuatu became the sixth country to graduate from the United Nations’ category of Least Developed Country. Read more here

The UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs has voted this week to reclassify cannabis out of the most dangerous category of drug, i.e. removal from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs which had discouraged even medicinal use. This reclassification has been hailed as a step forward for some Caribbean countries like Jamaica which have joined a growing number of developed countries in developing a cannabis industry, including making cannabis use legal for medicinal and therapeutic purposes. Read more here.

Looking regionally, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) signed an MOU with the recently formed CARICOM Private Sector Organisation towards achievement of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). CPSO was designated a CARICOM associate institution on October 29, 2020. Read my article on this deepened CARICOM-private sector engagement here.

REGIONAL NEWS

Caribbean welcomes new deal to replace Cotonou Agreement

Jamaica Observer: The Caribbean has welcomed the political deal reached between chief negotiators for the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), for a new partnership accord to replace the Cotonou Agreement. Read more

EU Blacklists and the WTO

News784: In this piece, we have argued that trade agreements, buttressed by their dispute settlement and institutional mechanisms, provide viable avenues for CARICOM MS to address the longstanding problem of their inclusion on arbitrary national blacklists by the EU. Read more

EU and ACP finalise post-Cotonou treaty, after two-year delay

Euractiv: Negotiators from the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific community signed off on a broad 20-year partnership deal to succeed the Cotonou Agreement on Thursday night (3 December) after nearly three years of difficult talks. Read more

CARICOM asks probing questions at UN special session

Barbados Today: On December 3 and 4, some 155 Presidents and Prime Ministers participated in a Special Session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, to discuss the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) and the UN response to the pandemic. Read more

Port of Bridgetown wins Top Award

GIS.bb: The Port of Bridgetown has captured the 2020 Novaport Cup for Most Improved Port Performance, emerging the winner among nine regional competing ports. Read more

Jamaica Government secures partnership to expand e-commerce opportunities for MSMEs

Jamaica Observer: The Government has partnered with two international firms to deliver digital marketing solutions and e-commerce opportunities to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as a mechanism to cope with the impact of physical distancing and other restrictive measures due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Read more

COTED endorses Made in CARICOM Initiative

CARICOM: Trade ministers of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have unanimously endorsed a proposal to develop a ‘Made in CARICOM’ promotional initiative which will capitalise on one of the opportunities presented by the pandemic. Read more

New CARICOM-EU project will tackle climate change and its health impacts in the Caribbean

PAHO: International, regional, and government leaders announced the launch of a broad-based project to support actions to mitigate climate change and its serious health impacts in Caribbean nations. The EU/CARIFORUM Strengthening Climate Resilient Health Systems Project – a joint project of the European Union and CARICOM that PAHO is coordinating – will advance public understanding of climate change effects and strengthen the ability of health systems to respond to climate-related health impacts. Read more

Guyana’s private sector must help gov’t push down CARICOM trade barriers- Pres. Ali

Demerara Waves: Even as a newly-formed Caribbean Manufacturing Association (CMA) plans to explore the production of specialised sugars, Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali on Wednesday called on local manufacturers to aggressively remove trade barriers in the Caribbean Community’s Single Market. Read more

New Chamber of Commerce to Facilitate Two-Way Trade & Investment Between Canada & Guyana

Newswire: The Canada-Guyana Chamber of Commerce (CGCC) was officially launched today with a mission to facilitate two-way trade and investment between Canada and one of the fastest growing economies in the world – Guyana. Read more

Grenada Announces Temporary Ban On Poultry From United Kingdom

Jamaica Gleaner: Grenada says it will place a temporary ban on the importation of poultry products from the United Kingdom as of Monday. Read more

Jamaica’s imports and exports decline from January – August 2020

Jamaica Observer: There was a decline in Jamaica’s imports and exports for January to August 2020 when compared to the similar period in 2019 as released today by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN). Read more

Guyana lacks workforce to benefit from impending `explosive’ growth – Canadian High Commissioner

Stabroek: Outgoing Canadian High Commissioner Lilian Chatterjee today said that Guyana lacks a skilled and sizeable labour force to benefit from the “explosive” oil-linked growth that is coming and she urged the country not to resist foreign investment but use its judgement on who to trust. Read more

Entrepreneur touts Dominican Republic-Commonwealth trade ties

Dominican Today: The president of the Round Table of the Countries of the Commonwealth in the Dominican Republic, Fernando González Nicolás, highlighted the influence that the 54 countries of the Commonwealth have on exports and foreign investment in our nation. Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Vanuatu graduated from LDC status

UN: On 4 December, Vanuatu became the sixth country to graduate from the least developed country (LDC) category. As noted by the United Nations Secretary-General, this is “testimony to years of effort resulting in hard-won sustainable development gains”. Read more

‘Painful’ exit of Chinese member leaves WTO appeals body without a judge and trade dispute cases in limbo

SCMP: For the first time since the World Trade Organization was set up 25 years ago, its Appellate Body, dubbed the top court for world trade, will have no serving judges after the departure of the Chinese member, curbing the WTO’s capacity to handle disputes. Read more

China’s former trade chief hits out at ‘groundless’ claims country cannot join CPTPP

SCMP: Beijing’s former top trade negotiator has dismissed as “groundless” claims that China would not meet strict criteria to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in the long term. Read more

U.S. trade deficit widens by 1.7% to $63.1 billion in October

CNBC: The U.S. trade deficit widened 1.7% in October to $63.1 billion. The politically sensitive gap in the trade of goods with China and Mexico grew. Read more

US judge orders Trump administration to restore ‘Dreamer’ immigration program

Barbados Today: A US judge ordered the Trump administration Friday to fully reinstate a program that protects from deportation immigrants who came to the country illegally as children. Read more

Why Biden will find it hard to undo Trump’s costly ‘America first’ trade policy

The Conversation: Since becoming president-elect, Joe Biden has signaled that restoring America’s leadership on the world stage is among his highest priorities – an intention aptly demonstrated by his Cabinet picks. Read more

India submits new proposal limiting role of WTO dispute panel in fisheries management

Hindu Business Line: New Delhi’s proposal on exempting developing countries with incomes, fish volume below given threshold to be discussed further. Read more

Thirteen Extra Ordinary Session on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA): The Assembly of the Union adopts decision on the start of trading

Africa News: African Union Heads of State and Government have underscored the urgent need for member states to kick-start trading activities, under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The decision was adopted during a virtual meeting of the 13th Extra Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union on the AfCFTA, held on Saturday 5 December 2020, under the Chairmanship of H.E. Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa and Chairperson of the African Union (AU). Read more

South Africa to make changes to its borders as it prepares for multi-trillion rand trade deal

Business Tech: President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet has approved a draft One-Stop Border Policy (OSBP) for public consultation. Read more

Canada trade deficit shrinks slightly in October, still higher than expected

Reuters: Canada’s trade deficit narrowed slightly to a still greater-than-expected C$3.76 billion ($2.94 billion) in October as exports grew at a faster pace than imports, Statistics Canada data showed on Friday. Read more

Cambodia, S. Korea FTA much closer

Khmer Times: A senior official of the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) said negotiations towards a free trade agreement (FTA) between Cambodia and South Korea saw agreement on 90 percent of the issues addressed as the fourth round of talks concluded last month. Read more

Envoy: US trade embargo is ‘main obstacle’ to trade between Cuba and other countries

Khmer Times: Sanctions imposed by the United States (US) are a serious roadblock for Cuba doing business with other countries. This was one of the points made by Cuban Ambassador to Cambodia Liurka Rodriguez Barrios in an exclusive interview conducted at the Cuban Embassy in Phnom Penh. Read more

WTO members may seek more time to decide on TRIPS waiver to fight Covid-19

Hindu Business Line: 90-day timeline for decision on the India-South Africa proposal to lapse on December 31, but more deliberations could be needed, say officials. Read more

Japan urges South Korea to end tariffs on steel bars after WTO ruling

Japan Times: Japan urged South Korea on Tuesday to immediately remove its anti-dumping tariff on Japan-made stainless steel bars after a World Trade Organization dispute settlement panel decision said an extension of the protections would be a contravention of WTO rules. Read more

What Janet Yellen’s nomination as Treasury secretary means for U.S. policy on China and trade

CNBC: Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has been nominated by President-elect Joe Biden as his Treasury secretary — a position that would make her, if confirmed by the Senate, a critical figure in U.S. trade negotiations with China. Read more

WTO Members Reveal “Entrenched” Differences as Fisheries Talks Approach 2020 Deadline

IISD: “Entrenched” positions regarding the issue of special and differential treatment (S&DT) for developing and least developed countries (LDCs) are presenting a challenge in the negotiations on a World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement that would curb harmful fisheries subsidies. Read more

Brexit trade talks: What’s at stake if no deal is reached

Sky News: Tariffs, Northern Ireland, travel and mobile phone roaming charges will all be impacted if the two sides cannot reach agreement. 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:

caribbeantradelaw

The Caribbean Trade Law and Development Blog is owned and was founded by Alicia Nicholls, B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. (Dist.), LL.B. (Hons), a Caribbean-based trade and development consultant. She writes and presents regularly on trade and development matters affecting the Caribbean and other small states. You can follow her on Twitter @LicyLaw. All views expressed on this Blog are Alicia's personal views and do NOT necessarily reflect the views of any institution or entity with which she may from time to time be affiliated.

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