Caribbean Trade and Development News Digest – December 6-12, 2020

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade and Development News Digest for the week of December 6-12, 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, the WTO Informal Working Group on Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) officially adopted a package of six recommendations and declarations aimed at addressing challenges smaller businesses face when trading internationally. Read more

In further news, the WTO Director-General’s latest annual overview of trade-related developments shows a marked slowdown in the number of trade-restrictive and trade-facilitating measures adopted by WTO members related to goods trade over the past year. Read more

On the Brexit front, the UK and EU are making a final push for a post-Brexit trade deal which remains stuck on some unresolved issues. Meanwhile the EU Commission has published Brexit contingency measures in the event of a no deal scenario.

CARICOM and Cuba held their 7th Summit Meeting. Read the final declaration published from the meeting here. The UNCTAD 15 Quadrennial to be hosted in Barbados will be held in October 2021 instead of April 2021. News of the further date shift was announced this week. Read/watch the statement announcing the date change here.

Our friends at DC-based consulting firm Manchester Trade published an interesting paper entitled “Despite the Dislocation of Covid, Africa Defies the Odds with the Commencement of AfCFTA Trading on January 1, 2021”. Have a read here.

Top regional scholar Ambassador Dr. Richard Bernal has published a new book entitled “Corporate versus National Interest in US Trade Policy: Chiquita and Caribbean Bananas” which looks at the Banana trade wars. Congratulations Ambassador Bernal! Read more here.

REGIONAL NEWS

Guyana National Working Group to address trade concerns in CARICOM markets

Stabroek: A National Working Group has been formed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to address the barriers faced by Guyana’s products in CARICOM markets. Read more

Guyana Hosts Public Consultation On CARICOM Single Registration Bill

St Kitts & Nevis Observer: The Government of Guyana has commenced public consultations on the CARICOM Single Registration Bill, bringing together local professional associations and stakeholders in a virtual meet. Read more

Caricom Soap War, Round 2 – Jamaican Manufacturers Lose Duty-Free Access To Regional Market

Jamaica Gleaner: Jamaican soap manufacturers have lost a year-long battle for continued duty-free exports to the Caricom market of 18 million people. The loss comes after a successful challenge in late November at Caricom’s Council for Trade and Economic Development, COTED, by the government of Dominica on behalf of a soap and soap input producers in the tiny Caribbean nation of 72,000 people. Read more

Guyana to become arbitration hub

The Daily Herald: A proposal to revamp Guyana’s arbitration laws and practice has been accepted by the government of Guyana. The Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall has engaged the services of retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Belize, Courtney Abel, to undertake the task of upgrading Guyana’s existing arbitration legislation and make recommendations on developing the country into an arbitration empire. Read more

Camagüey aims for better results in exports and foreign investment

Radio Cadena Agramonte: Increasing new items for export, increasing the competitiveness and economic value of products, and promoting foreign investment projects are some of the objectives of the Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Cuba in the provinces of Camagüey and Ciego de Ávila for the year 2021. Read more

Over 600 Heads of Cattle to be Exported from Belize to Mexico

News5: A ceremony to commemorate the exportation of another consignment of cattle to Mexico was held today at Blue Creek Village, in the Orange Walk District. Read more

SIB: Belize Export revenue down almost 10 percent from January to October

Breaking Belize News: Веlіzе’ѕ ехроrt rеvеnuеѕ hаvе fаllеn durіng thе fіrѕt 10 mоnthѕ оf 2020, ассоrdіng tо thе lаtеѕt Ехtеrnаl Тrаdе Вullеtіn іѕѕuеd bу thе Ѕtаtіѕtісаl Іnѕtіtutе оf Веlіzе. Read more

CDB issues emergency relief grants for creative industries sector

Menafn: The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has awarded US$ 100,000 in grant funding to seven cultural projects through an initiative to provide emergency relief to the creative industries (CI) sector in the wake of COVID-19. Read more

Blue Power loses Country of Origin Certificate

LoopJamaica: The company has advised that it has been notified by the relevant Government Ministries that COTED, an organ of CARICOM, has ruled that Jamaica (Trade Board) should not issue any Certificates of Origin for soaps manufactured under the current manufacturing process in Jamaica. Read more

Progress In Barbados’ Fight To Be Removed From EU Blacklist

CBC.bb: Barbados is making major progress in its fight to be removed from the European Union’s blacklist. Minister of International Business and Industry, Ronald Toppin says the island’s application to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for a supplemental review has been approved. Read more

BIDC Exploring Opportunities

Barbados Advocate: Minister of International Business and Industry Ronald Toppin is giving local manufacturers and exporters the assurance that 2020 will not be a wasted year. He said that his Ministry and by extension the Barbados Investment & Development Corporation (BIDC) are very focused on “arresting opportunity out of every crisis faced presently and in the future”. Read more

No clear position yet on labelling

Barbados Today: Barbadian stakeholders are deadlocked over a common local position on a proposed draft CARICOM Standard for Front-of-Package-Labelling (FOPL). Read more

TTMA pushing to increase exports

Newsday: It is without a doubt that the covid19 pandemic has shattered world trade, but even as the profit margins were not as expected, the TT Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA) said new markets have emerged which this country is more than capable of tapping into. Read more

Jack: Tobago on cusp of raising exports

Newsday: The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) is looking at the potential of raising the levels of exports on the island. Read more

Foreign workers from CARICOM, Americas needed to propel Guyana’s growth- Canadian envoy

Demerara Waves: Outgoing Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Lilian Chatterjee said Guyana evidently does not have a large population or required skilled persons to take advantage of the wealth expected to pour in from the petroleum sector. Read more

Cuba 2020 Business Forum promotes exports and foreign investment

Radio Cadena Agramonte: The Cuba 2020 Business Forum allows the promotion of exportable goods and services from both the state and private sectors, since representatives from 93 countries participate in the meeting. Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Leaders to push Brexit trade talks beyond Sunday deadline

Reuters: London and Brussels agreed to “go the extra mile” in coming days to try to reach an elusive trade agreement despite missing their latest deadline to avert a turbulent ‘no deal’ exit for Britain from the European Union’s orbit at the end of the month. Read more

Brexit: Which countries has the UK agreed trade deals with?

Sky News: From the Faroe Islands to Switzerland, the UK has signed trade deals with a wide variety of nations. Read more

Sterling falls as no-trade deal Brexit fears build

CNBC: Sterling skidded lower on Friday and implied volatility surged as markets increasingly priced the risk of Britain breaking away from the European Union at the end of the month without a trade agreement. Read more

EU states to act to implement any UK trade deal swiftly – sources

Reuters: The 27 EU member states welcomed Sunday’s extension of UK trade talks and committed to taking “all the necessary steps” to put in place any deal reached by negotiators as soon as possible, according to a coordinated response described to Reuters. Read more

The potential impact of Brexit without a trade deal

RTE: Britain and the European Union are seeking a post-Brexit trade deal, with failure likely to result in increased chaos in mutual trade, financial markets tumbling and huge economic costs. Here are some of the potential pressure points of a failure to reach agreement on trade. Read more

Climate change: Covid drives record emissions drop in 2020

BBC: The global response to the Covid-19 pandemic has driven the biggest annual fall in CO2 emissions since World War Two, say researchers. Read more

Biden picks longtime China critic Katherine Tai as top U.S. trade official

CNBC: President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday named Katherine Tai, a trade lawyer with a history of taking on China, as his incoming administration’s pick for the United States’ top trade representative. Read more

US-China trade war: Joe Biden hints he will keep up pressure on Beijing with pledge to fight ‘unfair trade practices’

SCMP: Joe Biden has said his nominee for trade chief Katherine Tai will target abusive trade practices by China in a possible sign that Donald Trump’s trade war will continue. Read more

COVID-19 drives large international trade declines in 2020

UNCTAD: According to UNCTAD’s latest nowcasts (run on 8.12.2020), the value of global merchandise trade is predicted to fall by 5.6% in 2020 compared with last year. This would be the biggest fall in merchandise trade since 2009, when trade fell by 22%. This is a significantly more optimistic nowcast than only a few weeks ago when UNCTAD nowcasts were estimating a fall of 9%. Read more

Trade agreement with Pacific enters into force

Mirage: Farmers, businesses and investors across Australia and the Pacific will have their trade opportunities boosted from today with the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus (PACER Plus) coming into force. Read more

Money laundering groups ‘exploiting trade finance transactions’, task force warns

GTR: Trade finance is being exploited by criminal groups in order to launder funds and finance terrorist activity, according to a landmark report published by an influential financial crime monitoring body. Read more

Trade-based Money Laundering: Trends and Developments

FATF/Egmont: A new FATF-Egmont Group report entitled “Trade-based Money Laundering: Trends and Developments” published this week aims to help public and private sector with the challenges of detecting trade-based money laundering. Read the report here.

Canada to challenge U.S. softwood lumber export duties through World Trade Organization

Global News: Canada said it will be considering “all of its legal options” to challenge Canadian softwood lumber export duties unveiled by the United States last month, the international minister of trade said Friday. Read more

Time Running Out for Brexit Deal, ​E.U. Seeks to Avoid Jan. 1 Chaos

New York Times: The measures, which require British agreement, would cover air and road travel, freight and fishing for six months, to prevent immediate chaos should the transition period end without a trade pact. Read more

UAE, Israel export credit agencies sign agreement to boost trade

Reuters: The export credit agencies of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel have signed a cooperation agreement to develop economic relations between the two countries, the UAE’s state news agency WAM said. Read more

UK and Egypt sign Association Agreement

Gov.uk: British Ambassador to Egypt signs agreement with Egypt’s Assistant Foreign Minister for Europe, to strengthen political and trade ties between the two countries. Read more

U.K., Vietnam Reach Free-Trade Deal as Brexit Deadline Looms

Bloomberg: Vietnam and the U.K. concluded a free-trade agreement that will see 99% of tariffs between the two countries eliminated after seven years. Read more

New flagship project on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) spotlights trade opportunities for women and youth in Africa

Africa News: Africa Continental Free Trade Area (Afcfta) Secretariat and the African Union in partnership with the UNDP, launched ‘The Futures Report: Making the AfCFTA Work for Women and Youth’. The launch event was organized in the run up to the upcoming the Extraordinary Summit of AU Heads of State and Government on the AfCFTA, scheduled for 5 December. Read more

How AfCFTA Can Help Solar Power Penetration in Africa

AllAfrica: Only about 43% of Africa’s population has access to electricity, a number that is half the global access rate of 87%. This is according to the 2019 World Bank World Development Indicators; Demographic and Health Surveys; Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys; National Surveys. Africa needs to catch up with the rest of the world, but with a growing population which is projected to double to nearly 2,4-billion by 2050, access to electricity is a critical challenge that needs to be urgently addressed. Read more

Singapore to sign free trade agreement with Pacific Alliance next year

Channel News Asia: Singapore plans to sign a free trade agreement with the Pacific Alliance, which comprises Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, next year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s press secretary said on Friday (Dec 11). Read more

India Govt plans to restart trade pact talks with Biden team: S. Jaishankar

Livemint: India expects to restart negotiations for a free trade agreement with the US once President-elect Joe Biden’s administration enters, Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said. Read more

China-Africa trade falls 10 per cent on pandemic, commodities slump

SCMP: Trade between China and Africa fell by 10.6 per cent in the first 11 months from a year ago amid the pandemic, but analysts expect a rebound next year as key commodities like oil and copper recover. Read more

Japan and South Africa agree to beef up post-pandemic business ties

Japan Times: Japan and South Africa agreed at their foreign ministers’ meeting in Pretoria on Saturday to strengthen post-pandemic business ties, with many Japanese companies looking to enter the emerging market as a key gateway to the whole African continent. Read more

Ethiopia and Kenya inaugurate new border post to boost trade

Africa News: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his Kenyan counterpart President Uhuru Kenyatta inaugurated a new border post on Wednesday in the Kenyan town of Mayale to bolster trade. Read more

UK to host the Africa Investment Conference in the New Year

Gov.uk: The UK Department for International Trade has announced it will host the Africa Investment Conference on 20 January 2021, bringing together UK and African businesses for a one-day virtual event to explore the opportunities for partnership and investment. Read more

Australia accuses China of undermining trade agreement

BBC: Australia has accused China of undermining their free trade agreement over a series of actions by Beijing against Australian export goods. 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:

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