September 29, 2023

Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest – February 22 – 28, 2021

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade and Development News Digest for the week of February 22-28, 2021! We apologise for the delay in this week’s edition and 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.


The newly published UN Climate Change’s Synthesis Report on countries’ new or updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) has found that the level of ambition contained in these reports is not enough to meet the Paris Climate Agreement targets. Read the report here.

US President Joe Biden’s pick for United States Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai had her Senate confirmation hearing on February 25. Read Mrs. Tai’s opening statement here. The Senate will vote on whether to confirm her later this coming week.

India and South Africa circulated a paper questioning the legal status of the WTO’s Joint Statement Initiatives and their negotiated outcomes. The paper may be accessed here.

On February 24-25, 2021, the Conference of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) held its 32nd Intersessional Meeting. COVID-19 and access to vaccines were among a suite of issues discussed. Read the full communique here.

Current CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago, Dr. the Hon. Keith Rowley delivered a statement on ‘Re-Setting US-Caribbean Relations’ at the Atlantic Council’s event on February 26, 2021. Read the statement here.

On March 1, the new WTO Director-General Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala officially takes office.


CDB projects regional economic growth of 3.8% in 2021

CDB: After an extremely difficult year in which the economies of its 19 Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) contracted by 12.8% on average due to the onset of Covid-19, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is projecting an average gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 3.8% in 2021. However, this projection, made in Part 1 of CDB’s Regional Report: 2020 Review and 2021 Outlook, released today, is clouded by the ongoing uncertainty, caused by the global pandemic. Read more

Does Washington DC think about the Caribbean?

In this episode of the ‘China in the Caribbean’ podcast, the host Rasheed Griffith interviews Wazim Mowla, a Program Assistant at the Atlantic Council Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center Caribbean Initiative. Listen to the episode here.

CARIFORUM Rum Producers and French Rum Group Sign Historic Accord

Barbados Today: Caribbean rum producers are joining forces with French group CIRT-DOM, to get the best deal for their exports into major markets, particularly the European Union. Read more

Critical CSME Issues must be addressed and resolved urgently, say CARICOM leaders

Barbados Advocate: Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have expressed continuing concern about the progress made and the outstanding actions still required to advance implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), particularly to support economic recovery in the face of the debilitating impact of COVID-19. Read more

Regional ministerial task force will help push agri. development within CARICOM – President Ali

Newsroom: President Irfaan Ali on Thursday disclosed that CARICOM has prioritised agriculture and food security and has created a pathway to enhance their overall development in the region. Read more

St Vincent PM criticises EU blacklisting of Dominica amid COVID-19 pandemic

Jamaica Gleaner: Outgoing CARICOM Chairman Dr Ralph Gonsalves on Wednesday called for regional leaders to speak out against the “awful” decision by the European Union (EU) to blacklist Dominica as a non-cooperative jurisdiction for tax purposes, particularly during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

CARICOM chairman: It’s time for a ‘reset’ in US-Caribbean relations

The Atlanticist: The world’s inequitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is threatening the Caribbean’s economic recovery, and climate change is quickly becoming an “existential threat” to all low-lying island states, warns Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Keith Rowley. Read more

CAL and ExporTT partner to boost local exports

TT Newsday: Caribbean Airlines Cargo has partnered with ExporTT to better connect Trinidad and Tobago businesses to regional and international markets in an effort to boost the country’s economic recovery following covid19. Read more


USTR nominee Tai says U.S. can help craft new trade rules in ‘grey areas’ to hold China accountable

Reuters: Katherine Tai, President Joe Biden’s nominee to be the next U.S. Trade Representative, said on Thursday that the United States can work with other countries to craft new trade rules in “grey areas” to hold China accountable. Read more

“Climate Commitments Not On Track to Meet Paris Agreement Goals” as NDC Synthesis Report is Published

UN: UN Climate Change today published a synthesis of climate action ambition as contained in countries’ new or updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), indicating that nations must redouble their climate efforts if they are to reach the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global temperature rise by 2C—ideally 1.5C—by the end of the century. Read more

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: what are the 4 main challenges facing the new WTO director general?

South China Morning Post: The coronavirus pandemic, log-jammed trade talks and a long-delayed meeting of member states are just a few of the crises awaiting Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as she takes the helm of the World Trade Organization (WTO) next month. Read more

US Secretary of State Blinken tours Canada and Mexico ‘virtually’

Al Jazeera: On his first trip ‘abroad’ Blinken met Canadian and Mexican about immigration, trade and economic issues. Read more

Northern Ireland’s first minister ups ante in UK-EU trade dispute

Reuters: Northern Ireland’s first minister upped the ante on Wednesday in a dispute between the UK and the European Union over trade with the province, calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “step up and protect the United Kingdom”. 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

Post-Brexit UK trade strategy needs to engage China

East Asia Forum: The United Kingdom’s trading aspirations in Asia will not negate its dependence on the European Union, nor will they unwind the dominant economic role of China in its neighbourhood. UK trade with Asia post-Brexit needs to be accompanied by efforts to engage Beijing in the strengthening of trade rules and disciplines. Read more

UK exporters’ use of Singapore as ASEAN’s supply chain gateway boosted by new bilateral trade agreement

ASEAN Briefing: There was much controversy, before and after the United Kingdom’s (UK) Brexit from the European Union (EU), in talk of it adopting a free trade and manufacturing model similar to Singapore’s. The idea was dubbed as “Singapore-on-Thames” by the British media. Read more

India, Mauritius sign economic partnership deal

The Telegraph Online: The CECPA would provide a gateway to the markets of the African continent as Mauritius has several pacts with them. Read more

Post-Brexit regulatory changes for the City could free up £95bn, says study

City AM: The UK could free up £95bn for City insurance firms to reinvestment into the economy if the Treasury waters down the EU’s Solvency II regulations post-Brexit, according to a new study. Read more

UK-Japan trade deal settled post-Brexit nerves, says Honda

City AM: The UK’s trade deal with Japan helped lead to a smoother Brexit transition for Honda this year and ensured greater confidence, according to one of the carmakers’ European bosses. Read more

New UK-Kenya trade deal to be extended to all of East Africa after threats not to ratify

City AM: The recently signed trade deal between the UK and Kenya will be extended to Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and Tanzania, according to multiple media reports in Kenya. Read more

South Africa’s women’s minister seeks voice for women in AfCFTA

Africa News: South Africa’s Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, today called for women’s voices to be heard in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. Read more

AfCFTA to reduce illegal gold mining in Nigeria – Minister of Mines

Nairametrics: The Minister of Mines and Steel says that illegal gold mining would be stemmed by the implementation of AfCFTA. Read more

AFCFTA opens up scope for SA SMMEs

IOL: President Cyril Ramaphosa said that SA SMMEs can penetrate other markets through the implementation of the of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). 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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