October 24, 2021

Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest – January 17 – 23, 2020

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade and Development News Digest for the week of January 17-23, 2021! We are pleased to bring you the major trade and development news headlines and analysis from across the Caribbean Region and the world.

THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS

US President Joseph R. Biden and his Vice President Kamala Harris were inaugurated this week. Already the Biden administration has signed a raft of new executive orders aiming, in particular, to get a handle on the COVID-19 pandemic but also covering things such as immigration, discrimination, tackling the climate crisis, among others. Importantly, the US will be staying in the World Health Organization (WHO) and will also join the WHO-led COVAX facility which assists poorer countries’ access to vaccines.

Belize and St. Kitts & Nevis this week settled a trade dispute that had been ongoing in the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) over trade in brown sugar. Read more

REGIONAL NEWS

CARICOM engaged with region’s post-COVID recovery pursuits

Stabroek: If the Georgetown-based Caribbean Community Secretariat has not been exactly ‘hogging the headlines’ insofar as its role in the regional response to the COVID-19 pandemic is concerned, it appears that the Secretariat is very much in the ‘thick of things’ in terms of coordinating the work of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) insofar as the ongoing engagements pertaining to the recovery of the region from the impact of the virus on its respective economies are concerned. Read more

Caribbean’s Foreign Trade At Its Worst Since Global Financial Crisis

Jamaica Gleaner: The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) says the region’s foreign trade in 2020 had its worst performance since the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, because of the economic crisis prompted by the global COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions imposed by governments to stop its spread. Read more

Use the Caribbean Trade Centre

Barbados Advocate: The Caribbean Trade Centre (CTC) of the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce could be utilised to build a strategy to put the region in a stronger position for negotiating. Read more

Vibrant export-led strategy essential (for Barbados)

Barbados Advocate: Barbados faces some very tough times in a troubled world and with that must come measures that are able to respond to the situation. Against this background, the call is again being made for such as the search continues for a better performing economy and to put the country on a path of sustainable growth, unlike the long talk which is getting Barbados nowhere. Read more

Jamaica Senate Passes Microcredit Act

JIS: The Microcredit Act 2021, which aims to license and regulate microcredit institutions that provide financing to individuals and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), was approved in the Senate on Friday (Jan. 22). Read more

Complex identities: Kamala Harris and US foreign policy towards the Caribbean

The Atlantic Council: When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated US Vice-President elect Kamala Harris, he noted that her victory “is a matter of immense pride not just for your chittis, but also for all Indian Americans.” Prime Minister Andrew Holness of Jamaica said that Jamaicans “are proud that [Harris] bears Jamaican heritage,” while Prime Minister Mia Mottley of Barbados added that “we, in the Caribbean, will look forward with optimism to working with the new administration.” Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Readying regional trade agreements for future crises and pandemics

UNCTAD: Policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have heavily disrupted trade and supply chains, with many countries putting in place ad hoc trade-restrictive measures, seemingly without any concern about their effect on trading partners – at least during the early stages of the crisis. Read more

Key statistics and trends in trade policy 2020

UNCTAD: With the notable exception of the increase in bilateral tariffs between the United States and China, tariffs have remained substantially stable during the last few years with tariff protection remaining a critical factor only in certain sectors in a limited number of markets. On the other hand, the use of regulatory measures and other non-tariff measures remains widespread. Read more

Malaysia takes WTO legal action against EU over palm biofuel curbs

Euractiv: Malaysia is taking legal action at the global trade watchdog against the European Union and member states France and Lithuania for restricting palm oil-based biofuels, the government said. Read more

Britain’s Boris Johnson presses Biden for new trade deal

AP: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made clear to President Joe Biden on Saturday that he’s eager to forge a new U.S.-U.K. trade deal. Read more

‘She’ll be first American woman to lead WTO’ — US leaders write Biden to back Okonjo-Iweala

The Cable: Some US leaders, including Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, have written President Joe Biden, urging him to support the candidacy of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the office of the director-general of the World Trade Organisation. Read more

UK firms told ‘set up in EU to avoid trade disruption’

BBC: UK firms that export to the EU say they are being encouraged by the government to set up subsidiaries in the bloc to avoid disruption under new trade rules. Read more

Rotting fish, lost business and piles of red tape. The reality of Brexit hits Britain

CNN: For all the fanfare made when Prime Minister Boris Johnson struck a trade deal with Brussels on Christmas Eve, the inescapable reality of leaving the European Union’s customs and regulatory territory has already started to bite. The fact that the deal was only agreed one week before it came into effect meant that dangerous disruption to countless businesses that relied on seamless supply chains was inevitable. Read more

After Brexit, Ireland and France cut out the middleman – Britain

Reuters: From his office overlooking Cherbourg docks, general manager Yannick Millet points to trailers destined for Ireland that belong to Amazon and FedEx, new customers and a signal of a potential big shift in post-Brexit trade. Read more

Businesses must deal with post-Brexit trade ‘challenges’ – Barnier

Irish Times: Businesses, north and south, must deal with the consequences of Brexit and accept that it cannot be “business as usual” for trade with Britain, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said. Read more

EU will have stronger powers in trade disputes

EU: On Tuesday, Parliament adopted new rules allowing the EU to use countermeasures in trade disputes when arbitration is blocked. Read more

China falling short of US trade deal targets

BBC: China is falling short of its commitment to buy an extra $200bn (£146bn) worth of US goods over 2020 and 2021. China agreed to buy the goods in a trade deal with the US agreed last January in exchange for reduced tariffs on $120bn worth of goods. Read more

China plans to expand free trade network, accelerate FTA talks

Global Times: China has planned to expand its network of free trade and is willing to sign more free trade agreements (FTAs) with its trade partners to jointly promote free and convenient trade and investment, Gao Feng, spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce said at a regular press briefing on Thursday. Read more

Chinese exports rise 3.6% in coronavirus-plagued 2020; only economy with positive trade growth

Global Times: With China’s export machine roaring into full swing, and helping mend the coronavirus-fractured global supply chains despite intermittent threats and hostile moves notably by the US and Australia, the country’s exports have proven to be a tower of strength with a full-year gain of 3.6 percent in dollar terms over 2020. Read more

Biden speaks to leaders of Canada and Mexico on trade and migration

Bloomberg: President Joe Biden spoke with the leaders of Canada and Mexico on Friday, his first calls with foreign counterparts since his inauguration this week. Read more

WTO finds for South Korea over U.S. trade measures, in challenge for Biden

Reuters: The World Trade Organization recommended on Thursday that the United States revise a series of duties imposed in the pre-Trump era on South Korea, presenting new U.S. President Joe Biden with a dilemma. Read more

UK-Africa trade: What will Brexit change?

Deutsche Welle: As part of its post-Brexit global vision, Britain is hosting a UK-Africa trade forum this week. But with its new trade deals failing to offer African nations much extra, the UK is falling behind as a key trading partner. Read more

India-US trade deal may be put on the back burner

Livemint: President Joe Biden may not be too keen to immediately pursue the India-US mini-trade deal that was under negotiation, choosing instead to focus on chalking out a China strategy and restoring US credibility in multilateral forums, including the World Trade Organization. Read more

Indian Trade Promotion Council of India seeks flat 5 per cent GST on processed food

New Indian Express: “Therefore, Indian texting facilities should be made at par globally with safe standards, so that it is accepted worldwide. Read more

Qatar suspends WTO dispute with UAE as Gulf conflict thaws

Reuters: Qatar has suspended its case at the World Trade Organization against the United Arab Emirates over measures it said were designed to isolate Qatar economically. Read more

Portugal wants quick ratification of EU/Mercosur deal, but there are many objections

Mercopress: Portugal which last week took the rotating presidency of the European Union for six months as of January 1st, said that it will try to conclude the bloc’s free trade agreement with Mercosur, agreed in 2019 after two decades of negotiations that have not yet been finalized. Read more

Latin America’s Foreign Trade Drops to 12-Year Low: UN Agency ECLAC

The Rio Times: In its newly-released annual report International Trade Outlook for Latin America and the Caribbean 2020, the UN agency estimated the value of regional exports dropped 13 percent in 2020, while imports shrank by 20 percent. 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:

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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