Welcome to the Caribbean Trade and Development News Digest – The Love of Trade Edition for the week of February 7-13, 2021! Happy Valentine’s Day to all readers who celebrate! If I were to pick a discipline as a Valentine, it would indeed be international trade! My love for this dynamic field just grows with each passing year!
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
The five Micronesian member states of the Pacific Islands Forum have decided to leave the bloc as a result of the appointment of a Cook Islander as the new Secretary General, overlooking the Micronesian candidate. This development has led to questions on the bloc’s future. Read more here.
Post-Brexit hiccups continue, with a British Chamber of Commerce survey finding that “half (49%) of exporters are facing difficulties in adapting to the changes in the trade of goods following the ratification of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) on 1 January 2021”. Read more here.
The UK Government has published a new series of fact sheets showing the UK’s trade and investment relationship with various countries, including those in the Caribbean. Read more here.
UNCTAD released its Global Trade Update on February 10, finding that East Asia manufacturing is leading the global trade recovery. However, it further found that many developing countries have been lagging behind in their trade recovery. Read the full report here.
Coming up this week on February 15, there will be a Special General Council Meeting at the WTO where Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will be confirmed as the organisation’s seventh Director-General.
Turning regionally, kudos to the Government of India for its show of solidarity and friendship in donating doses of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccines to the Governments of Barbados and Dominica and to the Caribbean, upon initial engagement by Barbados and Dominica. In turn, Barbados donated 3,000 doses of the received vaccines to the Government of Guyana, including the CARICOM Secretariat which is headquartered in Guyana.
Project to help reduce barriers to trade
Barbados Advocate: A regional project launched yesterday is intended to reduce barriers to trade and will aid fledgling manufacturers and other exporters. Read more
Plans continue for UNCTAD XV
Barbados Advocate: Plans are continuing apace for this island’s hosting of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) later this year. Speaking in Parliament as an additional $2,280,000 was assigned to the event’s organisation, Minister in the Ministry of Finance Ryan Straughn stated these funds were intended specifically for the procurement of security equipment. Read more
Trade Policy Framework: Guyana
UNCTAD: Trade policy encompasses the development and implementation of national laws, regulations, and standards to facilitate, promote or otherwise support trade relations between countries and the crossborder movement of tradeables. Effective trade policy is both a prerequisite for and a consequence of the negotiation and implementation of bilateral and multilateral trade agreements between and among countries. Read more
Best for CARICOM to purchase Covid-19 vaccines as a group – experts advise
Jamaica Gleaner: Two days ago, on the morning of Friday, February 12, Charles Savarin, the 77-year-old president of the sister Caribbean Community (CARICOM) state of Dominica, became the first person in his country to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Read more
Caricom must order 20 million vaccines
TT Newsday: Kiran Mathur Mohammed & Justin Ram argue that countries must join forces now to buy 20 million vaccine doses for the entire region, or the pandemic will continue to devastate our lives and economies for another two years. Read more
New Bill approved
Barbados Advocate: The Barbados Cabinet has approved the development of a new, comprehensive Metrology Bill to be enacted in legislation. Read more
IMF: Pandemic resurgence threatens to thwart uneven Caribbean recovery
IMF: The International Monetary Fund, IMF, says while Latin America and Caribbean economies managed to bounce back from COVID-19’s initial economic devastation in early 2020, the pandemic’s resurgence towards the end of the year threatens to thwart an uneven recovery and add to steep social and human costs. Read more
Pay Attention to Maduro’s Aggression Against Guyana
Real Clear World: In late January, the Venezuelan Navy intercepted and detained two Guyanese fishing vessels and 12 Guyanese citizens for two weeks. The detainment was the result of a recent decree issued by Venezuela’s leader, Nicolás Maduro. Read more
Pacific Forum split could cost region’s global role
RNZ: Breaking up the Pacific Islands Forum would be a lost opportunity to cement the region’s global leadership on climate change and ocean conservation. Read more
New WTO chief faces rough road ahead
Politico.eu: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will make history Monday when she becomes the first African and woman to lead the increasingly bruised and batteredWorld Trade Organization. Read more
6 reasons why Africa’s new free trade area is a global game changer
World Economic Forum: The arrival of COVID-19 in 2020 has rapidly reshaped countries, societies and communities. Our response to the pandemic has changed political and social systems and created new social norms. Read more
A new WTO boss who understands Africa is a good thing for the global economy
City A.M: After diplomatic horse-trading, the new head of the WTO has been all but confirmed – former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. She will be the first African to take the role. The Rt. Hon. Mark Simmonds, a former Foreign Office minister with responsibility for the continent, argues it’s a good thing for the globe. Okonjo-Iweala’s familiarity with Nigeria’s struggles will make her a strong appointment to launch a truly global effort that spreads the benefits of freer trade. Read more
UNCTAD releases data on over 1,000 investor-state arbitration cases
UNCTAD: The data set, provided free of charge, covers all known cases of treaty-based investor-state arbitrations as of July 2020. Read more
EU financial services chief warns of long road ahead for UK-EU equivalence deal
City A.M: The EU’s financial services chief has warned the UK that “there cannot be equivalence and wide divergence” in financial regulation as the battle over the City’s future relationship with the bloc heats up. Read more
UK and EU hold ‘frank but constructive’ talks on NI trade rules
BBC: The UK and the EU have had a “frank but constructive discussion” on problems implementing post-Brexit trade rules in Northern Ireland. Read more
UK trade and investment factsheets
UK.gov: A snapshot of the UK’s trade and investment positions with individual trading and investment partners overseas. Read more
Exclusive: Brexit a bigger headache for business leaders than Covid pandemic
City A.M: Brexit represents a bigger challenge to most UK businesses than the Covid-19 pandemic, as additional paperwork, unexpected costs and new regulatory requirements make life more difficult than temporary lockdowns. Read more
Brexit: Trade friction ‘not teething problems’
BBC: Increased friction in trade and travel with Europe is a product of “political choices”, a Welsh minister has said. Read more
Half of UK exporters to EU are having Brexit difficulties, survey finds
Guardian: Half of British exporters to the EU are facing difficulties with mounting Brexit red tape and border disruption after a month of the new rules, according to one of the most comprehensive business surveys since leaving the bloc. Read more
Improving access to medical products through trade
UNCTAD: Based on a review of 107 RTAs and an examination of country efforts to reduce regulatory divergence in order to facilitate trade in medical goods during the pandemic, this study attempts to advance the discussion on the need for emergency provisions in RTAs, culminating into a proposal for model RTA provisions. Read more
Chinese tech giants like Kuaishou are listing in Hong Kong instead of U.S. after Trump’s trade war
CNBC: Venture firm DCM just generated a $16 billion return from the IPO of Chinese social media app Kuaishou. The listing took place in Hong Kong rather than in the U.S., and DCM co-founder David Chao expects China’s most prominent tech start-ups to follow suit. Read more
China’s trade sanctions on Australian agriculture force farmers to find new markets
ABC (Australia): Farmers who fell victim to the multi-billion-dollar China-Australia trade spat are seeing signs for optimism as they find new customers for their produce. Read more
Kenya, Uganda renew milk export dispute as ties sour
Business Daily: Kenya and Uganda trade relations are on the verge of straining once again with Kampala accusing Nairobi of stopping its milk from accessing the country, and threatening to drag the matter to the East African Court of Justice. Read more
China-Australia relations: Africa’s winemakers, miners toast ‘potential’ of trade dispute
SCMP: For South African winemaker Vergenoegd Löw, the coronavirus pandemic could have been a disaster, but a bitter trade war between China and Australia has thrown the 325-year-old estate a lifeline. Read more
China-Australia relations: iron ore prices helped offset weakened trade with China in 2020
SCMP: Australia’s export figures for the final month of a tumultuous past year confirmed that momentum slowed in some trade with China amid various restrictions, but unbarred exports remained strong and buoyed overall trade between the two countries, according to the final December trade data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Read more
East Asian economies drive global trade recovery, says UNCTAD report
MenaFM: Led by trade in goods, global trade recovered in the last quarter of 2020, reducing its overall decline for the year to about 9 percent, according to UNCTAD’s new Global Trade Update published on February 10. Read more
Strong EU trade enforcement rules enter into force
EU: Robust new trade enforcement rules have entered into force that will further strengthen the EU’s toolbox in defending its interests. With the update of the EU’s Trade Enforcement Regulation, the EU is able to act in a broader range of circumstances. 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: