December 6, 2023

Caribbean Trade and Development News Digest – January 24-31, 2021

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade and Development News Digest for the week of January 24-31, 2021! We are pleased to bring you the major trade and development news headlines and analysis from across the Caribbean Region and the world.


Is your head spinning from all the breaking news from this week? Here are some of the top highlights! The Annual World Economic Forum Meetings at Davos were held virtually (for the first time) this week. Themed “The Great Reset after COVID-19,” the packed agenda included COVID-19, the environment, the fourth industrial revolution, among other pressing global topics. But of course, the sessions that really caught my attention were those on ‘Fixing the International Trading System’ which can be viewed here.

Negotiations at the World Trade Organization on fisheries subsidies and investment facilitation for development restarted this week. Meanwhile, the WTO has reported that global services trade in the third quarter of 2020 fell 24% compared to the same period in 2019″.

The EU row with Astra-Zeneca over vaccine supplies led the bloc to impose export controls on vaccines manufactured in the EU, a move swiftly criticised by the World Health Organisation as most developing countries are yet to receive any vaccine access. The EU has backtracked on its decision to trigger an emergency provision (Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol) to control Covid vaccine exports to Northern Ireland. Read the BBC’s report on this here.

The UK has applied formally to accede to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) which would give it access to a market of over 500 million people, including some of the world’s largest emerging economies. Brexit ‘teething problems’ continue as longer delivery times, more complex customs paperwork, higher fees, all with supply chain implications, are some the problems being reported by companies on both sides of the English Channel.

Turning to the Caribbean region, the report from the second review of the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement has been released. Inter alia, it found a five-fold increase in FDI from the EU to CARIFORUM countries over part of the review period, but this was not as a direct result of the EPA. The executive summary may be read here.

The online version of my latest article in IFC Economic Review 2021 entitled “‘Do As I Say, Not As I Do’: FinCEN Leaks Prove Misplaced Scrutiny Of Caribbean Offshore IFCs” is now available online and may be viewed here.


Deodat Maharaj takes over at Caribbean Export

Barbados Today: Deodat Maharaj has been appointed the Caribbean Export Development Agency’s (Caribbean Export) new executive director with effect from February 1, 2021. Read more

Caribbean foreign trade hit a new low

Barbados Today: Caribbean foreign trade had its worst performance since the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, arising from the current economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions imposed by governments to stop its spread, says the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, ECLAC. Read more

Jamaica Customs reports US$15.1 billion in exports

Jamaica Observer: The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) says for the five year period commencing January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2020, the total value of exported goods declared was US$15.1 billion. Read more

New perspective of Japan-Jamaica partnership for 2021 and beyond

Jamaica Observer: Japan and Jamaica have a long history of friendship since the establishment of the diplomatic relationship in 1964. The two countries have common values of freedom, democracy, as well as market economy, and we have been collaborating on issues such as world peace and stability, the rule of law, and climate change. Read more

Belize gets sweet deal out of St. Kitts-Nevis brown sugar trade dispute

Amandala: An ongoing trade dispute between Belize and St. Kitts and Nevis has finally been settled. Belize had sued St. Kitts-Nevis, the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and CARICOM for allegedly violating the 40% Common External Tariff (CET) by importing brown sugar from countries outside the Single Market without the CET provisions. Read more

Belize – India strengthen diplomatic ties

MENAFM: The meeting discussed areas of mutual interest on the current cooperation initiatives between the government of Belize and the government of India, including exploring the possibility of acquiring vaccines to support Belize’s COVID-19 response plan. Read more

Guyana warns of Venezuelan military escalation

Argus Media: Guyana is warning that Venezuela has expanded its military presence in oil-rich maritime territory off Essequibo province. Read more


Shell Ordered To Compensate Nigerian Farmers Affected By Oil Spills

NPR: A Dutch court has delivered a major victory to a group of Nigerian farmers in their 13-year-long effort to hold Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary accountable for oil spills on their lands. Read more

Global foreign direct investment fell by 42% in 2020, outlook remains weak

UNCTAD: UNCTAD says uncertainty about the COVID-19 pandemic’s evolution and the global investment policy environment will continue to affect FDI flows in 2021. For developing countries, the prospects for 2021 are a major concern. Read more

The EU and Canada adopt rules putting in place the CETA investment court

EU: Today, the EU and Canada adopted four decisions putting in place the Investment Court System provisions agreed in the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The decisions – and all investment protection provisions in the agreement – will apply only once the elected lawmakers of all the 27 EU Member States will have approved CETA. Read more

Commission study finds positive impact of trade agreements on agri-food sectors

EU: Trade agreements are due to result in substantial increases in EU agri-food exports, with more limited increases in imports, creating a positive trade balance overall. The study also confirms that the EU’s approach to grant a limited amount of lower duty imports (through tariff rate quotas) is the best approach in terms of protecting specific vulnerable agri-food sectors in the EU. Read more

Irish commissioner: EU made serious ‘mistake’ in attempt to block vaccines across Irish border

Politico: Brussels made “a mistake with very serious consequences” when it initially moved to block vaccine exports across the Irish border by triggering an emergency provision of the Brexit withdrawal deal, Ireland’s EU Commissioner Mairead McGuinness said. Read more

EU offers UK ‘reassurances’ over vaccine supply after Irish border row

Politico: The EU has moved to assure Britain that vaccine exports into the country won’t be stopped by the bloc’s new trade restrictions, British Trade Secretary Liz Truss said. Read more

Factbox: The Brexit impact so far – paperwork, process and higher prices

Reuters: Britain’s departure from the European Union has triggered the biggest change in trade since it joined the bloc 48 years ago, with companies grappling with export documents, longer delivery times and the need to re-engineer supply chains. Read more

UK opens special visa route for Hong Kong residents to become citizens

Reuters: Hong Kong residents can apply from Sunday for a new visa offering them an opportunity to become British citizens after Beijing’s imposition of a national security law in the Asian financial hub last year. Read more

WTO members debate definition of ‘artisanal’ fishers to be exempted from subsidy ban

Hindu Business Line: Ecuador has floated a proposal at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the need to define what qualifies as ‘artisanal fishing’ that should be exempted from prohibition of subsidies related to overfishing. Read more

Exclusive: UK’s next free trade deal set to be with Australia

City A.M.: The UK’s next free trade deal is set to be with Australia, with the agreement to give Brits greater freedom to live Down Under and provide a major boost for the UK’s telecoms sector. Read more

UK set to wrap up New Zealand trade deal before Easter

City A.M: The UK is reportedly just weeks away from closing a free trade deal with New Zealand that will see tariffs slashed on wine, gin and cars. Read more

UK Joins ASEAN as Dialogue Partner, Looking at Joining CPTPP Asia-Pacific Free Trade Agreement

ASEAN Briefing: The UK government has already taken steps to integrate with Asia’s regional blocs following its successful bid to become a Dialogue Partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Read more

Trump’s Trade Deal With China Is ‘Under Review,’ White House Says

Bloomberg: The Biden administration has former President Donald Trump’s so-called phase-one trade deal with China “under review” along with the rest of the U.S. posture toward Beijing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Friday. Read more

India records 13% FDI growth in 2020, higher than major economies. 5 reasons why

Livemint: India recorded 13% growth boosted by investments in the digital sector. Infrastructure and energy deals also propped up M&A deals in India. Piyush Goyal said, The government policies and reforms have made India a preferred destination. Read more

Chinese Investment In Africa Has Had ‘Significant And Persistently Positive’ Long-Term Effects Despite Controversy

Eurasia Review: Chinese foreign direct investment in Africa has had ‘significant and persistently positive’ long-term effects despite being highly controversial, according to new research by the London School of Economics and Political Science. Read more

France Rejects MERCOSUR Agreement without Anti-Deforestation Guarantee – Minister

Rio TImes: For negotiators on both sides, the repeated explicit French opposition is an indication that the EU-MERCOSUR agreement is unlikely to progress before the 2022 elections in France. Read more

New Zealand and China upgraded their free trade agreement: Bad news for Mercosur

Mercopress: The announcement is bad news for Mercosur since country members are in direct competition with Oceania (NZ and Australia) when it comes to commodities’ exports such as beef, wool, dairy produce, grains and oil seeds to the Chinese market. China is the main trading partner of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. Read more



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:


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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