Season’s Greetings! Welcome to the final Caribbean Trade and Development News Digest for the year 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 – December 13-19, 2020.
Thank you for your readership of this Digest over the past year and we take this opportunity to wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2021!
THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS
With entrenched differences still existing, WTO members failed to meet their 2020 deadline for reaching an agreement on eliminating harmful subsidies for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing which contribute to overfishing. Negotiations will continue into 2021. Read more here.
Negotiations between the EU and UK on a post-Brexit deal will continue this Monday after another deadline (this Sunday) was missed. The talks are hung up on three main issues: fishing, ‘leveling the playing field’ and governance. Read more here.
The UK has taken steps to formalise its independent tariff policy to be applied from January 1, 2021. Importantly, of interest to Caribbean sugar exporting countries, Britain is to allow 260,000 T of tariff-free raw sugar imports. Read more here.
Australia has signalled it will ask the WTO to settle its dispute with China on the latter’s imposed tariffs of 80.5% on Australian barley. China, which is the largest importer of Australian barley, has justified its anti-dumping duties on Australian barley by accusing Australia of subsidising its barley farmers. Read more here.
WHAT WE’RE READING – AMBASSADOR BERNAL’S NEW BOOK!
Next year we will be adding a new section to the Blog entitled “What we’re reading” where we will highlight newly released books of a trade and development nature, particularly those with a Caribbean or small State focus. This week we are pleased to be reading the new book by renowned Caribbean scholar, trade expert and author Professor the Hon. Ambassador Dr. Richard Bernal entitled “Corporate versus National Interest in US Trade Policy: Chiquita and Caribbean Bananas”. In this latest book, Ambassador Bernal not only details how Chiquita Brands International was able to influence the Clinton Administration to challenge the EU on its preferential import regime for ACP bananas, but how this move was actually inimical to the US’ national security interests given the negative impact it had on Caribbean banana-exporting countries. Like his previous four books, Ambassador Bernal’s latest work is a must-read for any student or practitioner of trade policy and may be purchased here.
FATF removes The Bahamas from the list of Jurisdictions under Increased Monitoring
FATF: The FATF now de-lists The Bahamas from the list of Jurisdictions under Increased Monitoring. The Bahamas is therefore no longer subject to the FATF’s increased monitoring process. The Bahamas will continue to work with CFATF to improve further its AML/CFT regime. Read more
SIB report on Belize’s economic performance
Amandala: Merchandise exports for the period January to October 2020 totaled just over $325 million, down 9.9 percent or $35.9 million from the same period last year, when total domestic exports were valued at $360.9 million. Read more
Dominica’s DCPS Vows To Fight On Over Caricom Soap
Jamaica Gleaner: Dominica Coconut Products Successors Limited, DCPS, has confirmed that it is contemplating legal action to press its claim that the duty-free importation into Jamaica of noodles or chips from which soaps are made is illegal. Read more
Trade policies top regional manufacturers’ agenda
Stabroek: Business communities across CARICOM are likely to be waiting with bated breath to determine whether last month’s establishment of a new CARICOM Manufacturers Association (CMA) will serve as an eventual precursor to the building of sturdier bridges among member countries of the regional movement in the areas of manufacturing and trade. Read more
Pledge for Bajan exports to bounce back
Barbados Today: An all-out effort will be made to boost Barbadian exports in 2021, the minister for manufacturing has promised. Read more
Visitor arrivals a fraction of “normal” seasonal arrivals, says airport official
Barbados Today: Barbados can expect close to 20,000 visitors to fly into the island this month, significantly down from its monthly average of well over 200,000. Read more
Inclusive tourism on the cards in Barbados
Barbados Today: Come January next year, the Ministry of Tourism is expected to engage in a national consultation in an effort to map out a new “inclusive and sustainable” tourism product for Barbados. Read more
UK to compensate victims of immigration scandal from the Caribbean
Loop News Barbados: Britain will step up compensation for thousands of long-term UK residents originally from the Caribbean who were wrongly caught up in a government drive to reduce illegal immigration, officials said Monday. Read more
Launching Paris – A CARICOM Moment of Ambition: Snapshots of Member States Nationally Determined Contributions
CARICOM: Several Caribbean Community Member States showcased their ambitions to further address climate change at a CARICOM Moment of Ambition event held on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Agreement, on Friday 11 December 2020. Read more
OACPS Ministers endorse new OACPS-EU Partnership Agreement, proposals on Fisheries and the EU Blacklist at 111st session of the Council of Ministers
OACPS: Meeting virtually on 14, 15 and 17 December 2020, the Council of Ministers of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) approved eight decisions and two resolutions on key issues affecting its Member States (MS) and pertaining to the administrative and financial management of the Organisation during the 111th session of the OACPS Council of Ministers. Read more
Trump trade chief wants WTO leadership race reopened
BBC: The US has suggested that the process to find a new Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) needs to be reopened, in what would be an unprecedented move. Read more
Legislation for the UK’s independent tariff policy
Gov.uk: From the 1 January 2021 the UK Global Tariff will replace the EU’s Common External Tariff as the UK’s Most Favoured Nation tariff – the framework it will use to trade independently outside of free trade agreements. Read more
U.K.’s Johnson to Visit India in January as Trade Talks to Start
Bloomberg: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will visit India in January to try to boost ties, with talks on a free-trade agreement due to start next year. Read more
Taking China to the World Trade Organisation plants a seed. It won’t be a quick or easy win
ABC (Australia): Australia is reportedly ready to initiate its first litigation against China at the World Trade Organisation. China has this year taken punitive action against imports of Australian coal, wine, beef, lobster and barley. Read more
UK and Mexico sign trade deal
Gov.uk: The UK has today (Tuesday 15 December) signed a trade deal with Mexico, locking in tariff-free trade and other benefits for British businesses and consumers. Read more
UK and US in talks over mini trade deal
BBC: The outgoing US administration is in talks with the UK to try to seal a mini-deal to reduce trade tariffs, Donald Trump’s trade chief has said. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told the BBC he was hopeful for a deal that could see punitive tariffs on Scottish whisky lowered. Read more
What are Australian-style and Canadian-style Brexit trade deals?
The Conversation: Negotiations for a post-Brexit trade deal between the European Union and the UK have been ongoing since March. Both have until the end of the Brexit transition period – December 31 – to strike a free trade deal. If no agreement is reached, the UK-EU trading partnership will be governed by World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. Read more
WTO Members Delay Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies to 2021
IISD: World Trade Organization (WTO) members did not conclude negotiations on an agreement on curbing harmful fisheries subsidies by the 2020 deadline. A new schedule for meetings in 2021 is being developed, with the aim of bringing “this negotiation to the finish line.” Read more
Ban on food aid restrictions blocked at WTO
Reuters: World Trade Organization members were at odds on Friday over a proposal that would ban countries from restricting food aid deliveries, potentially complicating the response to a feared COVID-fuelled humanitarian catastrophe next year. Read more
We’re proud of what we’ve done, says Trump’s trade chief
BBC: He rarely talks to the media, but mindful of the legacy of four years of ripping up the international trade system, he told the BBC he had fundamentally reoriented the trade system towards working Americans, and that President Trump’s successor would not now change this sceptical stance to slow down and reverse globalisation. Read more
Trade deal: Hope ‘early harvest’ proposition of India will be accepted by UK, says Piyush Goyal
Economic Times: Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday hoped that the UK would accept India’s ‘early harvest’ proposition within the framework of a larger free trade agreement, which both the countries are working towards. Under an early harvest arrangement, two trading partners significantly reduce or eliminate customs duties on a limited number of goods with a view to promoting trade. Read more
Mercosur debates on revising Common External Tariff
ANBA: Brazil’s FM said in a meeting of the highest-level agency of the bloc that revising its CET is a priority and will benefit international trade and investments. Read more
Argentina assumes temporary presidency of MERCOSUR
Radio Cadena Agramonte: In a speech in which he opted for more and better Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), Argentine President Alberto Fernández called today to overcome the globalization of indifference and build the universalization of solidarity. Read more
Argentina: Mercosur will address EU environment concerns
AP: South America’s Mercosur countries will address environmental concerns raised by the European Union that have stalled ratification of a free trade deal between the two trade blocs, Argentina’s foreign minister said Monday. Read more
Uruguayan president warns of post-pandemic protectionism at Mercosur Summit
XinhuaNet: Countries should be wary of turning to protectionist trade measures in a bid to shore up their pandemic-hit economies, Uruguay’s President Luis Lacalle Pou said on Wednesday. Read more
Asean to accelerate digital integration for period of post-COVID economic recovery
Khmer Times: To boost regional recovery in the post-COVID 19 era, Asean should accelerate its digital integration, which has the potential to generate a $1 trillion uplift in gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025, said Dr Aladdin D. Rillo, deputy secretary-general for Asean Economic Community, at an online panel. 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: