March 7, 2021

Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest – January 1-16, 2021

Happy New Year! Welcome to the first Caribbean Trade and Development News Digest for 2021! We do hope that you had a great start to the year so far. We are pleased to bring you the major trade and development news headlines and analysis from across the Caribbean Region and the world from January 1 – 16, 2021.

WHAT’S HAPPENED IN TRADE SINCE DECEMBER 2020?

Since our last digest was published near the end of December 2020, some major trade developments have occurred, including on the Brexit, AfCFTA and other fronts. If you missed them, then catch up on these developments in my update article here.

REGIONAL NEWS

Re-examining Caribbean-Chinese relations

Global Americans: Too often, United States government officials and scholars have characterized China’s relationship with Caribbean nations as a one-way affair in which the former, as a malign foreign actor, takes advantage of the latter, a small and weak group of states. Read more

Minister aiming to expand reach of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee

Jamaica Observer: Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Floyd Green is aiming to expand the reach of the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee brand internationally and increase production of coffee locally. Read more

Yvor Nassief | The Ongoing Caricom Soap Saga – Dominican Producer Outlines Concerns With Jamaican Soap Imports & Exports

Jamaica Gleaner: The recent press coverage of the decision by the Caribbean Community (Caricom) Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) that companies in Jamaica are not eligible to receive certificates of origin for their soap exports, thereby not enjoying duty-free access to Caricom, is one-sided and contains inaccuracies and misrepresentations. I seek to clarify some of these. Read more

Royal Caribbean will offer cruises from Barbados in December 2021

Royal Caribbean Blog: Royal Caribbean announced it will begin offering roundtrip cruises from Barbados at the end of 2021 on Grandeur of the Seas. Read more

Guyana signs on to new trade, investment agreement with UK

Jamaica Observer: Guyana has officially signed on to the new agreement that will govern trade and investment between the United Kingdom and the CARIFORUM group of countries following the UK’s exit from the European Union. Read more

US takes sterner action against Exxon’s Chinese partner in Guyana, unlikely to affect local operations

Stabroek: The Trump administration in its waning days took another swipe at China and its biggest firms yesterday including ExxonMobil’s Guyana partner, CNOOC for alleged misdeeds in the South China Sea. Read more

Guyana, US security pact to reel in illegal fishing

Stabroek: A defence partnership agreement was signed yesterday between Guyana and the United States and it is expected to ensure increased safeguards against illegal fishing in this country’s waters. Read more

CARICOM could source COVID-19 vaccines from the African Union

Jamaica Observer: The Caribbean Community (Caricom) has been offered access to approved COVID-19 vaccines from a shipment recently secured by the African Union. Read more

Guyana holds talks on difficulties exporting agri, poultry products to T&T

Newsroom: Guyana on Friday convened a virtual Joint Ministerial Trade and Agricultural Meeting with Trinidad and Tobago to discuss market access difficulties experienced by Guyana when exporting agricultural and poultry products to the twin-island republic. Read more

Trinidad & Tobago manufacturers support trade ministry action on cement industry

Trinidad Guardian: The Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association (TTMA) has come out in support of recent moves by the Ministry of Trade and Industry to ensure fair trade practices in the cement industry. Read more

Trinidad & Tobago Gov’t gets to work on reviving manufacturing sector

Loop TT: The Ministry of Trade and Industry said it’s encouraged by emerging signs of resurgence in the manufacturing sector as noted in the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago’s (CBTT) December Monetary Policy Announcement. Read more

Trade Ministry lists support for manufacturing

TT Newsday: Government remains committed to the well-being and expansion of the local manufacturing sector as well as ongoing and future collaborations with the private sector, the Trade and Industry Ministry said in a statement on Friday. Read more

Mondello: TT, US can start new chapter under Biden

TT Newsday: Days ahead of the swearing-in of Joe Biden as new US president next Wednesday, outgoing US ambassador Joseph Mondello hoped TT and the US could use the change to strengthen their relationship. Read more

New CARICOM manufacturing body gets to work

Barbados Today: A new regional manufacturers association has been launched in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to help promote regional manufacturers. The founding members are the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association (BMA), the Dominican Manufacturers’ Association, the Guyana Manufacturers’ and Services Association, the Jamaica Manufacturers’ and Exporters Association, the St Lucia Manufacturers’ Association and the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association. Read more

BVI loses access to EU funding

BVI News: The BVI and other British Overseas Territories will no longer have access to any future funding for sustainable development from the European Union as the UK’s Brexit deal took effect on January 1, 2021. Read more

Belize exports 16,000 lbs of chicken to CARICOM

Amandala: On December 23, Belize exported its first-ever shipment of poultry products to the CARICOM region. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade, and Immigration, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, announced that 16,000 pounds of chicken cuts were exported to Grenada. Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

What Does 2021 Hold for Global Trade?

Brink News: How will the expected economic recovery impact trade? Will the Biden administration maintain current President Donald Trump’s tariffs on China? Has globalization been fundamentally altered by the pandemic? BRINK invited Nicolas Lamp, a global trade expert based at the Faculty of Law of Queen’s University Canada, to share his thoughts on what trends to expect in 2021. Read more

Air travel down 60 per cent, as airline industry losses top $370 billion: ICAO

UN: The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) said on Friday, that as seating capacity fell by around 50 per cent last year, that left just 1.8 billion passengers taking flights through 2020, compared with around 4.5 billion in 2019. That adds up to a staggering financial loss to the industry of around $370 billion, “with airports and air navigation services providers losing a further 115 billion and 13 billion, respectively”, said ICAO in a press statement. Read more

Biden aims for new course on trade, breaking with Trump and Democratic predecessors

WP: It may not take long for President-elect Joe Biden to distinguish his trade policy from his predecessor’s “America First” approach. Read more

U.S.-China trade war has cost up to 245,000 U.S. jobs: business group study

Reuters: U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade war with China has caused a peak loss of 245,000 U.S. jobs, but a gradual scaling back of tariffs on both sides would boost growth and lead to an additional 145,000 jobs by 2025, a study commissioned by the U.S.-China Business Council (USCBC) shows. Read more

US-China trade war deal reaches first anniversary as bilateral mistrust hits ‘all-time high’

SCMP: One year after signing, China lags far behind in its purchases of American goods and the trade imbalance with the US has grown. Read more

Exclusive: UK eyes adding climate provisions in US trade talks to woo Joe Biden

City A.M: The UK will try to add new provisions on climate change and environmental standards in US trade negotiations in a bid to woo incoming President Joe Biden. Trade secretary Liz Truss wants to build on current negotiations with the Donald Trump administration and potentially add things like enhanced protections on air pollution and corporate transparency on climate change to coax Biden’s team to the negotiating table. Read more

Keep tariffs on China, says outgoing US trade chief

CNA: Outgoing US President Donald Trump’s trade chief on Monday (Jan 11) urged President-elect Joe Biden to maintain tariffs imposed on China, arguing that they have shifted the balance of power in Washington’s favour. Read more

US suspends tariffs against French goods over digital service tax

Reuters: US had proposed tariffs on $1.3bn worth of French goods in retaliation for French tax on tech firms. Read more

France wants suspension of ‘poisonous’ U.S.-Europe trade spat

Financial Post: The European Union and the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden should suspend a trade dispute to give themselves time to find common ground, France’s foreign minister said in remarks published on Sunday. Read more

UPDATE 1-USTR says Vietnam’s currency actions ‘unreasonable’ but holds off on tariffs

Reuters: The Trump administration on Friday said Vietnam’s actions to push down the value of its currency are “unreasonable” and restrict U.S. commerce, but is not taking immediate action to impose punitive tariffs. Read more

Canada’s international trade slows in weakening recovery

Bloomberg: Canada’s merchandise trade deficit remained at historically elevated levels in November, as exports and imports slowed amid a weakening global recovery. Read more

After months of COVID delays, African free trade bloc launches

Al Jazeera: After months of delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the African Continental Free Trade Area launches, but full implementation of the historic pact may take years. Read more

INTERVIEW | What Africa must do to make the AfCFTA work – Trudi Hartzenberg

African Newspage: Trudi Hartzenberg is the executive director of the Stellenbosch, South Africa-based Trade Law Centre (TRALAC), focused on improving capacity in trade governance in Africa. Hartzenberg, who currently serves on the World Trade Organization (WTO) Chairs Advisory Committee is also a member of the Committee for Development Policy (CDP), a subsidiary of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Read more

AfCFTA: Three details to note as the largest free-trade agreement kicks off in Africa

Face2Face Africa: Headquartered in Accra, Ghana, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is now officially the largest free trade area by the number of participating countries since the founding of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995. Read more

Malawi deposits AfCFTA ratification to AU

Xinhua: Malawi on Friday deposited its Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) ratification instrument to the African Union (AU) Commission as the number of African countries bound by the continental free trade pact grows. Read more

African Business Council applauds the start of trading on the basis of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

Africa News: On 1 January 2021, at the launch of the start of trading on the basis of the AfCFTA, the Pan-African Private Sector, under the umbrella body of the African Business Council (AfBC), issued a press statement in support of this initiative. In it, the AfBC acknowledged that the start of trading under the AfCFTA presents enormous business opportunities for the Pan-African Private Sector, SMEs, Women and Youths as the continent takes this bold move towards Boosting Intra-African Trade. Read more

UK refused deal on post-Brexit travel for musicians, says Barnier

Politico: Amid growing uproar in the U.K. over post-Brexit travel for touring musicians, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, said the British government had rejected a clear offer from Brussels to carve out a special deal for performers. Read more

UK trade minister seeks early meeting with U.S. trade czar on whisky tariffs

Reuters: British trade minister Liz Truss said on Thursday she was seeking an early meeting with U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to be his trade czar, Katherine Tai, to discuss tariffs on Scottish whisky. Read more

Post-Brexit customs systems not fit for purpose, say meat exporters

BBC: UK meat exporters have claimed post-Brexit customs systems are “not fit for purpose”, with goods delayed for hours, sometimes days, at the border. Read more

20% of UK chemicals registrations face revocation after Brexit

Euractiv: Around 20% of registrations from UK-based companies to the European Union’s REACH chemicals database have not been transferred to EU companies and will be revoked after 31 March 2021, according to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). Read more

Exclusive: European Commission battles to sell post-Cotonou deal at home

Devex: After last month’s long-awaited “political deal” on a new agreement with 79 African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries, the European Commission is now facing another hurdle: its own member states. Read more

EU trade official wants swift engagement with Biden on aircraft, digital taxes, WTO

Reuters: The European Union is looking to engage quickly with the Biden administration to resolve major trade irritants, including disputes over digital taxes and commercial aircraft subsides, EU Director General for Trade Sabine Weyand said on Friday. Read more

EU trade official wants swift engagement with Biden on aircraft, digital taxes, WTO

Nasdaq: The European Union is looking to engage quickly with the Biden administration to resolve major trade irritants, including disputes over digital taxes and commercial aircraft subsides, EU Director General for Trade Sabine Weyand said on Friday. Read more

Forget Brexit, the most important trade deal in 2021 is in Africa

Euractiv: While the UK splinters away from the European Union, Africa is uniting under a landmark free trade agreement, making it one of the largest since the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO), writes Debisi Araba. Read more

Interview: Global trade system reform vital to economic recovery, says Australian economist

Xinhua: The reform of the global trade system is significant for the world’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and long-term economic growth, a senior Australian economist has said. Read more

A new administration: US sanctions trends for 2021

GTR: A raft of new US sanctions guidance and designations made 2020 a challenging year for banks involved in trade finance, yet the overall value of financial penalties handed out was low. GTR speaks to legal experts about recent enforcement trends, the challenges facing trade finance lenders, and the likely impact of the incoming Biden administration. Read more

China’s cross-border e-commerce plays vital role in global trade amid pandemic

CGTN: China’s cross-border e-commerce is becoming the latest driving engine for the country’s foreign trade, which gained great momentum last year in a time of COVID-19 recessions. Read more

Deadlines and Decisions for American Trade in 2021

US Chamber: As the pandemic and recession hopefully begin to give way to vaccines and recovery in 2021, the U.S. Chamber’s International Affairs Division is focused on the issues that will dominate international economic policy in the months ahead. Read more

After Trump: What Will Biden Do on Trade?

Council on Foreign Relations: President Trump disrupted U.S. trade policy in the name of better deals. President-Elect Biden proposes a combination of stronger domestic investment and better coordination with allies. Read more

Creative economy to have its year in the sun in 2021

UNCTAD: Here’s why the UN has dedicated a whole year to the creative economy and its critical role in promoting sustainable development, especially in a post-coronavirus world. 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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