December 8, 2023

Caribbean Trade and Development News Digest – February 14 – 21, 2021

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade and Development News Digest for the week of February 14-21, 2021! 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.


It’s official! Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the new WTO Director General-elect and will assume office on March 1. A well-respected and world-renowned development economist, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala will not only become the seventh person to head the WTO, but makes history as the first female and first person from Africa in the role. Noteworthy as well is that Isabelle Durant is now acting Secretary General of UNCTAD. This means that all three of the major organisations focused on global trade – the WTO, UNCTAD and ITC – are now headed by women! To read the statement by Dr. Okonjo-Iweala to a special session of the WTO’s General Council, click here.

The evaluation report on the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement for the period 2008-2018 has been made public and can now be accessed here.

This week the EU also released a communication outlining the elements that will comprise its new “open, sustainable and assertive trade strategy” in the mid-term. Read more about it here.

The US has officially rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement, 107 days after the Trump Administration pulled the country out of the pact. Read my article on this here.

Coming up this week will be the 32nd Inter-Sessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government.


Trade case filed by Belize against Federation withdrawn from Caribbean Court of Justice

St Kitts & Nevis Observer: Minister of International Trade et al, the Honourable Wendy Phipps, said diplomacy and negotiations by the Attorney General’s Chambers and the Office of the Solicitor General, St. Kitts and Nevis has been successful in having the Government of Belize, through its Ministry of International Trade, withdraw the recent case from the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). Read more

SKNLP: Brown sugar price to rise by 40% in St Kitts and Nevis

WIC News: The government led by Harris announced in parliament on Thursday 18 February 2021 that the government has now applied a 40% tax on imported brown sugar, which will significantly increase costs for people, alleged St Kitts and Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) in its statement. Read more

Cabinet approves $50m export booster

TT Guardian: Cabinet has approved a TT$50 million export booster initiative for the manufacturing sector, the objective of which is to promote exports of manufactured goods. Read more

No improvements until Customs, industry on same page

TT Newsday: If the ease of doing business in this country is to improve, facilities involved in the trade, such as Customs, must be on the same page as the industries driving the economy.. This was one of the major takeaways from Amcham’s latest webinar titled Ease of Doing Business – Trade Modernisation on Monday. Read more

Gopee-Scoon: Steel, feed prices will go down, hopefully

TT Newsday: Trade minister Paula Gopee-Scoon is hopeful that, as the worldwide demand for items such as steel and key ingredients used to make feed normalises, so will their prices. Read more

Trade Ministry allocates $20m for SME certification

TT Newsday: The Trade Ministry, in conjuction with the TT Manufacturers’ Association and ExporTT, on Tuesday launched the National Export Booster Initiative, a suite of 16 programmes to enhance export promotion, capacity building and institutional strengthening within the manufacturing sector. Read more

Trade Licence Unit modernising operations

LoopTT: Moving from paper to digital, the Trade Licence Unit (TLU) of the Ministry of Trade and Industry has achieved a significant milestone in its modernisation efforts to further improve T&T’s trade and business environment. Read more

The Power of Partnership! Local Cocoa and Chocolate Cluster Program Takes Steps to Revolutionize the Industry

ExportTT: Ubergreen Organics Ltd. is the lead organisation of a newly formed Organic Fine Cocoa and Chocolate Cluster. One of its main goals is to increase excellence and quality within the industry through partnership. Read more

CET for Panadol not approved

TT Newsday: Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon has said suspension of the Common External Tariff was sought on hundreds of items, but Panadol was not approved. Read more

Global testing standards goal set for next year

Barbados Today: Export-oriented businesses in Barbados, Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis will be offered globally standardised testing at domestic laboratories as early as next year, says Daniel Best, Director of Project Department at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). Read more

Developing Barbados’ yachting sector

BGIS: The development of Barbados’ yachting sector could see the creation of new jobs and possibilities. Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, made this revelation as he disclosed that Government was preparing to take a paper to Cabinet on yachting to improve the sector. Read more

CARICOM-Canada foreign ministers discuss post COVID-19 economic recovery

St Kitts & Nevis Observer: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Foreign Ministers met virtually on February 19 with their Canadian counterpart, the Hon. Marc Garneau, in the first virtual CARICOM-Canada Meeting of Foreign Ministers. St. Kitts and Nevis was represented by Foreign Minister, the Honourable Mark Brantley. Read more

CARICOM is preparing a joint policy on tourism

Prensa Latina: The countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are currently working on outlining a joint tourism policy in order to revive this key sector for the region’s economies. Read more

CARICOM insists on equitable distribution of vaccines

Cayman Compass: As regional neighbours begin the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, 14 independent CARICOM states have insisted, in a resolution adopted Wednesday, on the equitable distribution of doses. Read more

CARICOM asks WHO to host meeting on COVID vaccine distribution

Nation News: The 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Thursday reiterated its call for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to host an international summit on distribution of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine. Read more

Prime Minister Minnis leads CARICOM meeting on Joint Tourism Policy

CARICOM: Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis chaired the First Meeting of the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on Tourism to discuss the development of a Joint Tourism Policy for CARICOM. Read more

Connecting & Collaborating: Establishing New Business Relationships

Now Grenada: Address by Prime Minister of Grenada Dr The Rt Hon. Keith Mitchell at the Virtual Caribbean Business Forum – Connecting & Collaborating: Establishing New Business Relationships, 17 February 2021. Read more

OECS to facilitate high-level WTO fisheries workshop

MENAFN: With the support of the Pew Charitable Trusts (Pew) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission will be convening a high-level workshop on the ongoing World Trade Organization (WTO) fisheries subsidies negotiations on February 24-25, 2021. Read more

Regional forum on supply chain management

Barbados Today: Global trade is in flux, and Caribbean companies are facing huge risks. The big question is: How will they plan for future disruptions, and adapt to more agile systems? To answer this, The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Five Islands Campus, in Antigua and Barbuda, will be hosting “Supply Chain Management and Logistics in a Post-COVID-19 Caribbean” on Monday, February 22, 2021, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (Eastern Caribbean time). Read more


Building back better requires more women in international trade

Globe and Mail History is being made as Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala becomes the first woman and first African to ever lead the 26-year-old World Trade Organization (WTO). As the world grapples with how to “build back better,” a female director-general steering the global trading ship sends a powerful message: The world needs better trade outcomes and trade needs women on board. Read more

Brexit: Are freight exports to the EU back to normal?

BBC: The government says the volume of freight exports from Great Britain to the European Union has returned to normal, in spite of the new post-Brexit barriers to trade with the EU, and restrictions related to the pandemic. Read more

Ports feel the chill as trade re-routes around Brexit Britain

Guardian: In Holyhead, traffic has fallen 50% as hauliers stymied by Brexit find their way from Ireland to France without entering the UK. Read more

The EU says it’s going to get tough on trade — and that could have ramifications for U.S., China

CNBC: The European Union will take a new approach to international trade, recognizing that it’s time to stand up for itself after challenging times with countries like the U.S. Read more

How European businesses are adapting to Brexit

BBC: It’s been almost two months since the UK’s post-Brexit free trade deal with the EU came into effect. Under the new rules, European companies must directly pay UK sales tax, or VAT, on sales under £135 (€155; $190), so they now have to register and file quarterly declarations with the UK authorities. Other changes include customs declarations and additional paperwork. So how have they adapted so far and what impact have the changes had? Read more

EU puts WTO at centre of greener trade reform push

Reuters: The European Union put reform of the World Trade Organization at the heart of its trade strategy for the next decade on Thursday, saying global rules on commerce must be greener, take more account of state subsidies and be enforced. Read more

EU trade chief warns Biden over ‘Buy American’ push

Politico.EU: Valdis Dombrovskis says EU will track whether US is straying outside WTO commitments. Read more

Here’s why China’s trade deal with Mauritius matters

World Economic Forum: 2021 marks the start of two important trade policy developments in Africa. Firstly, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) has been signed by 54 of 55 African Union member states and ratified by 31 so far. Read more

India, Mauritius trade agreement receives green light from Cabinet

New Indian Express: In such agreements, the two trading partners cut or eliminate duties on a host of products besides liberalising norms to promote services trade. Read more

RCEP free trade deal will have no major impact on US soybean, corn exports to China: USDA

Hellenic Shipping News: The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the world’s largest free trade pact that China joined in late 2020 and which will likely take effect from mid-2021, will not have any major impact on US soybean and corn exports to China in the near future, the US Department of Agriculture said Feb. 17. Read more

Canada, Indonesia Trade Talks Begin for Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement

ASEAN Briefing: On January 11, 2021, Canada’s Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion, and International Trade, Mary Ng, announced that the country has launched public consultations on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Indonesia. Read more

Wamkele Mene: ‘AfCFTA is going to be difficult but we’ve got to do it’

The Africa Report: The AfCFTA secretary general talks to The Africa Report about the continental trade bloc’s January launch, forging value chains and diplomatic challenges ahead. Read more

Private sector firms join push for AfCFTA agenda

The East African: Private sector lobbies in Africa’s six regional trading blocs have formed the African Business Council, a continental umbrella body to spearhead the business agenda for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Read more

Six Reasons why Africa’s new free trade area is a global game changer

Namibia Economist: Launched on 1 January, the AfCFTA is an exciting game changer. Currently, Africa accounts for just 2% of global trade. And only 17% of African exports are intra-continental, compared with 59% for Asia and 68% for Europe. Read more

Nigeria AfCFTA committee begins sensitisation on new trade agreement

Business a.m.: The National Action Committee on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has flagged off a nationwide awareness and sensitisation tour targeted at placing Nigeria in a favourable position in the AfCFTA agreement. Read more

How the AfCFTA impacts China-Africa trade relations

CNBC Africa; The African Continental Free Trade Area agreement which launched operations on the 1st of January this year aims to accelerate intra-African trade and boost Africa’s trading position in the global market. Read more

Ukraine, Japan start to negotiate free trade agreement

Kyiv Post: Ukraine has started negotiating a free trade agreement with Japan with the aim of abolishing most import duties to strengthen their economic ties. 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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