September 29, 2023

Caribbean Trade and Development News Digest – April 25 – May 1, 2021

Happy International Labour Day 2021 to all! Welcome to the Caribbean Trade and Development News Digest for the week of April 25-May 1, 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.

We at the Caribbean Trade Law & Development Blog continue to keep our brothers and sisters in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in our prayers, who on top of the recent eruption of the La Soufriere volcano, this week faced mud lahars caused by heavy rainfall. They still need our help. One of the ways in which you can donate is via the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency’s relief fund here.


On May 1, Mercosur countries signed the bloc’s e-commerce agreement. Read more here.

The European Parliament voted on April 27 to approve the UK-EU Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement, although calling the UK’s withdrawal from the EU a “historic mistake”. Read the press release from the European Parliament here.

On April 26, the European Commission held its 2021 Trade Policy Day to discuss its new Trade Strategy to promote an open, sustainable and assertive trade policy for the EU. To watch the recording of the EU’s Trade Policy Day proceedings, view here.

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) marks 100 days! Read this feature on the AfCFTA by the Namibian Economist here.

UNCTAD has published a new research paper examining why the predominant strategy to build back better after the COVID-19 crisis is flawed and calls for a different reform agenda. Access the full paper here.

Afronomicslaw Symposium: Prospects for Deepening Africa-Caribbean Economic Relations – Call for Blogs (Deadline: May 14)

Given the limited but promising trade and investment relationship between both regions, there is a dearth of scholarly analysis on the Africa-Caribbean economic relationship. This Symposium aims to address this gap in international economic relations scholarship through considered analytical pieces exploring aspects of this understudied relationship. We invite authors to submit blog contributions which critically analyze and examine this relationship from a variety of perspectives. Read the full Call for Blogs here.


Sales at Haiti markets account for 7.5% of Dominican exports

Dominican Today: The sales of the Dominican Republic-Haiti binational markets equal 7.5% of total Dominican exports, according to a study by the Central Bank. Read more

Hot water plant coming to boost mango export

Jamaica Gleaner: Agriculture Minister Floyd Green says he is confident that the construction of a hot-water treatment plant, which is slated to be completed during the current financial year, will help to open more doors for Jamaica in the mango-export market. Read more

Jamaican Julie and East Indian Mangoes Shipped to UK According to Jamaica’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, over 4,700 kilograms of mangoes were shipped from the island to the United Kingdom on April 22, 2021. Read more

Jamaica to enhance trade and investment opportunities under EDP

Jamaica Observer: Jamaica has been making efforts to enhance its foreign trade and investment opportunities under the Economic Diplomacy Programme (EDP). Read more

St Vincent exports produce despite La Soufriere

TT Newsday: Despite the devastation to the St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) agricultural industry caused by the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano – the most devastating impact in the agricultural sector has faced in more than 100 years – tonnes of produce grown by SVG farmers still arrived on Trinidad and Tobago’s shores on Tuesday. Read more

Private businesses in Cuba register slight increase in exports

OnCuba: The services sector stands out as one of the main forays into the international market, the general director of Foreign Trade, Vivian Herrera, recently published on her official Twitter account. Read more

Cuba increases non-state forms of management in foreign trade activities

Radio Cadana Agramonte: Non-state management forms in Cuba have so far signed 1,987 contracts with state enterprises aimed at facilitating the export and import of goods and services. Read more

Bee honey exports increase in Camagüey

Radio Cadena Agramonte: The export of bee honey in the province of Camagüey reported at the end of the first quarter an income of more than eight million dollars (USD), higher than the four million 905 thousand 600 USD planned for that period. Read more

St Vincent to get US$2.2 million from CCRIF

Nation News: The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) Monday said that it would be paying out an estimated US$2.2 million for relief and recovery efforts following the eruption of the La Soufrière volcano in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Read more

ICAO Council President lauds Eastern Caribbean approach to aviation recovery

Mirage: The regional collaborative approach achieved by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) will contribute to an accelerated and sustainable recovery of the aviation sector, ICAO Council President Mr. Salvatore Sciacchitano remarked during a ministerial meeting that took place virtually yesterday. Read more


Pressure mounts to reopen Brexit deal

BBC: Meat and seafood, particularly exports by small firms, are paying the highest price for the Brexit deal, and pressure is growing to lighten the burden of paperwork. Read more

‘Black day’ leaves UK fishing worse off than before Brexit

Euractiv: The collapse of talks on a fishing quota deal with Norway has exposed the vulnerability of the UK’s fishing industry and left it in a weaker position than when the UK was in the EU, fishing leaders have said. Read more

Aligning EU-UK phytosanitary measures must be ‘top priority’, warn agri industry

Euractiv: The EU and UK may have finally ratified their trade deal, but question marks remain over how the two partners will align their phytosanitary regulation, which is causing a considerable headache for the agrifood sector. Read more

Quite a challenge’: UK restaurants and pubs face staffing crisis after Brexit

The Guardian: Venues aim to recruit after Covid but face lack of supply of skilled people from the EU. Read more

MEPs lament ‘lose-lose’ situation as EU Parliament votes Brexit trade pact

Euractiv: The bruises left by the Brexit process were evident on Tuesday (27 April) even as EU lawmakers endorsed the trade deal that now governs economic relations between the UK and EU, almost five years after the UK voted to leave the bloc. Read more

China’s new IP rights protections fall short: Biden’s trade rep

The Biden administration urged China to do more to respect the intellectual property of US firms, signalling that the US will maintain pressure applied under Donald Trump to crack down on commercial crimes ranging from IP theft to counterfeiting and digital piracy. Read more

Biden’s EU Trade Dilemma

Maritime Logistics Professional: The Biden administration faces a major dilemma in its dispute with the European Union over Trump-era steel and aluminum tariffs: back down to avoid acute pain for Harley-Davidson Inc and whiskey distillers or stick with the duties even though they are now exacerbating acute shortages for U.S. manufacturers. Read more

U.S. to join effort to curb climate-warming emissions from shipping

Reuters: The United States will join an international effort to achieve zero emissions by 2050 in the global shipping industry, climate envoy John Kerry announced ahead of a summit of world leaders President Joe Biden will host this week. Read more

U.S. Chamber Releases In-Depth Analysis of Potential U.S.-Kenya Free Trade Agreement

US Chamber of Commerce: Today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-Africa Business Center (USAfBC), in partnership with Covington and the American Chamber of Commerce Kenya, released a new in-depth analysis “U.S.-Kenya Trade Negotiations: Implications for the Future of the U.S.-Africa Trade Relationship,” examining the challenges and benefits of a potential free trade agreement (FTA) between the U.S. and Kenya. Read more

Biden Names Trade Expert Celeste Drake as ‘Made in America’ Director

Bloomberg: President Joe Biden has selected Celeste Drake, a longtime trade expert from AFL-CIO, to be the first director of his initiative to steer more federal dollars to U.S. manufacturers and producers, an administration official said. Read more

Biden trade adviser and Bill Gates discussed IPR waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

WBHL: U.S. President Joe Biden’s top trade adviser met virtually with Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates on Tuesday about increasing COVID-19 vaccine production and the proposed waiver of intellectual property rights protections for vaccines. Read more

Biden’s first 100 days: USTR Tai testifies on China trade deal

Nikkei Asia: U.S. President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office, marked by the coronavirus, reforging alliances and climate change, will come to an end on Thursday. Read more

Mexico’s Supreme Court overturns longtime ban on U.S. fresh potato imports

Blue Book Services: Today, April 28, 2021, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled by a unanimous vote of five to zero in favor of overturning a 2017 lower court decision that prevented the Mexican federal government from implementing regulations to allow for the importation of fresh U.S. potatoes throughout the country. Read more

Ecuador’s banana sector seeks to strengthen its relationship with Asia

Fresh Plaza: The Ecuadorian banana sector demonstrated its resilience capacity in 2020, growing by 5.6% despite the issues brought by the global health crisis. However, as its representatives expressed at a virtual press conference on Tuesday, it continues to work to broaden its commercial horizons, especially in Asia. Read more

Singapore and region stand to benefit from RCEP free trade agreement: MAS

Strait Times: The world’s largest trade pact will reduce tariffs and harmonise trade rules, and Singapore and the region stand to gain from it by being more deeply plugged into global supply chains. Read more

South Africa’s trade surplus grows to $3.67 billion in March

Reuters: South Africa recorded its largest trade surplus on record in March, data showed on Friday, with sales of commodities and minerals rising sharply as global demand driven by the economic recovery from the coronavirus continued. Read more

With AfCFTA, ‘Africa is sending a crystal clear signal’ that it is open for business says Wamkele Mene

The Africa Report: On 26 April African Continental Free Trade Area will hold the inaugural meeting of its Disputes Settlement Body which will be central to the fair and effective operation of what will eventually be Africa’s single market. In this exclusive opinion piece for The Africa Report, Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the AfCFTA, explains how this body will work and avoid the pitfalls of other trading blocs. Read more

AfCFTA: Togo adopts strategic plan to boost its exports in Africa

TogoFirst: Togo now has a national strategy to boost exports to other African countries. This is as African governments are doubling down on efforts to effectively implement the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Read more

AfCFTA Will Unlock Africa’s Agri-Business Potential- President Kagame

KT Press: President Paul Kagame says the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will be the solution to the continent’s food security challenges by unlocking the agribusiness potential by opening up new market fronts and end reliance on food imports. Read more

UK’s Truss expects Airbus-Boeing row to be resolved by July

Reuters: British trade minister Liz Truss expects the trade dispute over Airbus (AIR.PA) and Boeing (BA.N) to be resolved by July when a freeze on tit-for-tat tariffs expires, she told Reuters on Friday. Read more

India, South Africa to make fresh push for waiver of vaccine patents at WTO

Hindustani Times: Diplomats of the two countries are working on revising the text of a proposal originally submitted by India and South Africa last October. Read more

Japan approves world’s largest trade deal including China, ASEAN

The Jakarta Post: Japan’s parliament approved Wednesday the world’s largest free trade deal, signed by 15 Asia-Pacific countries including China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, raising the possibility for the pact to enter into force later this year. Read more

China-Australia relations: as wine exports continue piling up at Chinese ports, Australian officials explore options

South China Morning Post: While Australia’s wine exports to China have plummeted, those to Britain surged by 33 per cent in the 12-month period to March. Read more

Wine exports to China crash after heavy impact of tariffs

9News: Australian wine exports to China collapsed to just $12 million in the four months that ended on March 31 from $325 million in the same period a year earlier, as punitive tariffs took their toll. Read more

Australia-UK free trade agreement ready by June, minister says

7News: UK trade minister Liz Truss is upbeat about concluding a free trade agreement with Australia by June, saying “huge progress” has been made. Read more

Mercosur’s future up for debate at key meeting next month

Buenos Aires Times: Member nations agree to debate ‘flexibilisation’ of bloc’s rules at key meeting in May. Uruguay continues to push for liberalisation of tariffs, rules on free-trade deals. Read more

Uruguay presents plan to make Mercosur trade talks more flexible

Buenos Aires Times: According to the draft document released by the Foreign Ministry in Montevideo, the proposal would allow member states, under some conditions, to initiate negotiations “either as a group or individually.” Read more

EU seeks Mercosur green commitments by end-2021 – EU trade chief

Yahoo Finance: The European Union is seeking meaningful commitments on climate change and deforestation from Brazil and other Mercosur countries by the end of 2021 to push forward a trade agreement, European trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said on Friday. Read more

Brazil intends to modernize MERCOSUR, to improve competitiveness – Trade secretary

Rio Times: The special secretary listed the efforts Brazil has made efforts to reform and modernize trade policies and practices, to promote greater integration and competitiveness in the global economy. Read more

Brazil seeks changes in MERCOSUR rules on tariffs and bilateral negotiations

Rio Times: In a meeting yesterday, along with Uruguay, the Brazilian government pushed for a 10% reduction in the bloc’s common external tariff on imports. Read more

Paraguay would ask Mercosur countries to negotiate Cuba’s COVID-19 vaccines

OnCuba: The Paraguayan delegation in the Mercosur Parliament (PARLASUR) met this Friday with the Cuban ambassador to Paraguay, Raúl Gortázar, to continue advancing in cooperation between the two countries, as well as with the rest of the countries of the South American bloc, also made up of Argentina, Brazil 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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