June 19, 2021

Caribbean Trade and Development News Digest – May 2-8, 2021

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade and Development News Digest for the week of May 2-8, 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.

THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS

The Biden Administration has thrown its support behind a proposal by India and South Africa for a waiver from the TRIPS Agreement. See the full statement by the USTR here.

According to the findings of a study by the London School of Economics (LSE) Centre for Economic Performance (CEP), UK companies are reporting that Brexit has affected their operations, “leading to a fall in exports to the EU for a quarter of exporters and a fall in imports from the EU for a third of importers”. Access the full report here.

China-Australia trade and diplomatic relations which have been rocky for some time now have taken another turn for the worst as China ‘indefinitely’ suspends China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue. Read more

UNCTAD has unveiled a new portal which tracks COVID-19’s impact on trade and development. Read more here

Several Caribbean countries are among those whose wild-caught shrimp remain eligible for entry into the US. This is according to a US Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs’ Annual Certification of Shrimp-Harvesting Nations released at the end of April. See the countries in the Federal Register here.

The Twenty-Fourth Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was held virtually on the 6-7 May 2021, under the Chairmanship of the Honourable Eamon Courtenay, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belize. Read more

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.

REGIONAL NEWS

The Bahamas, US sign airspace agreement

Nation News: The Bahamas government has signed an air navigation services agreement with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allowing for the monitoring of the country’s airspace for ten years. Read more

St Vincent and the Grenadines cocoa industry hard hit after eruption

Barbados Advocate: St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ (SVG) cocoa industry has been hit hard due to the devastation caused by La Soufrière eruption. Read more

Barbados Port Inc. looking towards future

Barbados Advocate: This was revealed during the 60th anniversary celebration and time capsule ceremony at Cube Blue, Harbour Road, St. Michael on Tuesday. Read more

Belize’s balance of trade narrows in first quarter: imports down, exports up

BBN: Belize imported nearly $39 million less in goods in the first quarter of 2021 compared to 2020, and exported about $17 million more, narrowing the uneven balance of trade which has long tilted toward imports. Read more

China becomes top market for Cuba cigars

Reuters: Cuba’s state cigar monopoly, Habanos S.A., said on Tuesday that China had displaced Spain last year as its top market but rising demand in the Asian giant could not compensate for declines in sales elsewhere, with global revenue down 4% to $507 million. Read more

The Impact of COVID-19 on Tourism in Cuba

Havana Times: Tourism has been one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic. In 2020, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) estimated that the effects of COVID-19 on global tourism would be greater than those sparked by the 2008 financial crisis: between 100-120 million jobs at stake; billion-dollar losses in tourism exports; and a 1.5% – 2.8% drop of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to a United Nations (UN) report. Read more

US-Cuba Relations, a Matter of Domestic Policy

Havana Times: For decades, the Cuban and US governments have found minimal relations between the two countries in both of their interests. In 2014, Raul Castro and Barack Obama proposed to reverse this age-old strategy that has been upheld by “idealogues” from both governments, with the same determination; who support a very similar political outlook, even if they do opt for different expressions of State. Read more

Jamaica Attracts Diverse Jobs in the Outsourcing Sector

Business Wire: Global outsourcing powerhouse, ibex, is increasing the diversity of jobs within Jamaica’s global digital services industry through an expansion of its current workforce of two thousand employees. The company provides customer support in sectors that include retail, finance, healthcare, and telecommunications, and it now offers a broad spectrum of business services from its Jamaican service centres. Read more

Jamaica Promotions Corporation will increase mango shipments to US

Fresh Plaza: The Jamaica Promotions Corporation has stated that two Jamaican companies have partnered with international buyer Seasons Farm Fresh to export more mangoes to the US. JAMPRO President Diane Edwards said that there is high demand for Jamaican fresh produce and that JAMPRO is focused on meeting this demand. Read more

Jamaica’s PM Holness says BPO industry can grow under COVID-19

Loop Jamaica: Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the government will be doing everything in its power to protect and sustain the business process and outsourcing (BPO) industry under the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Read more

Tourism Incubator To Be Established

JIS: A tourism incubator is to be established to nurture new and start-up enterprises within the sector. This was disclosed by the Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, at a recent Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’, held at the agency’s head office in Kingston. Read more

Jamaica Gov’t eyes major expansion of special economic zones

Jamaica Observer: The Government is holding talks with a number of prospective investors on projects that are expected to establish 400 acres of additional special economic zone (SEZ) space across the island, estimated at a value of more than US$1.3 billion. Read more

ACS Secretary-General Pays Courtesy Call to CARICOM Secretary-General

Washington Informer: CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque on Friday received a courtesy call from Rodolfo Sabonge, new secretary-general of the Association of Caribbean of States (ACS). Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

WTO chief seeks text to advance debate over COVID-19 vaccine

AP: The World Trade Organization chief appealed to member countries on Wednesday to quickly present and negotiate over a text that could temporarily ease trade rules that protect COVID-19 vaccine technology, as a way to ramp access to doses at a time of urgent need. Read more

Negotiations in the Framework of the WTO are a New Model of Governance for Foreign Direct Investment: Alicia Bárcena

ECLAC: ECLAC’s Executive Secretary was one of the main speakers at a high-level roundtable on a WTO Investment Facilitation Framework for Development for Latin American economies. Read more

China ‘indefinitely’ suspends key economic dialogue with Australia

BBC: China has “indefinitely” suspended key economic dialogue with Australia, the latest in a growing diplomatic rift between both countries. Relations have been on the decline since Australia called for a probe into the origins of the virus and banned Huawei from building its 5G network. Read more

Commonwealth conference postponed again

Nation News: The London-based Commonwealth Secretariat Friday said that the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference (CHOGM-2021) that was due to take place in Rwanda on June 21, has been further postponed. Read more

NZ-UK Free Trade Agreement negotiations to be ‘accelerated’, as Australia streaks ahead

Stuff: New Zealand will “intensify” free trade talks with the United Kingdom, as negotiations over market access for New Zealand’s agricultural products inch forward and Australia streaks ahead with its deal. Read more

Australia rejigs export grants scheme

Global Trade Review: The Australian government has announced an overhaul of a grants scheme for exporters after a review found it should be streamlined. Read more

EU trade chief says efforts to ratify China deal ‘suspended’

Politico: The European Commission has temporarily put on hold efforts to ratify the investment agreement with China, EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis told Agence France-Presse Tuesday. Read more

Spain urges European Commission to unblock Mercosur agreement

Euractiv: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has urged the European Commission to do everything in its power to move forward and unfreeze progress on the Mercosur pact to send a “political signal” to China about the EU’s economic commitment to Latin America, El País has revealed. Read more

EU turns from China to India on free trade

EU Observer: The EU is suspending plans for a trade deal with China, while reviving those for a pact with India, in a dispute on Chinese human-rights abuses. Read more

After 8 years, India and European Union to resume free trade pact talks

Indian Express: Official sources in the EU also said the free trade agreement package will include an investment protection pact as well as a framework on geographical indication. Read more

EU split on vaccine waiver idea, unlikely to take clear stance

Reuters: European Union leaders are divided over whether to follow Washington in supporting a waiver of patent rights to COVID-19 vaccines, as many argue this would take years and not address the immediate issue of making more shots to end the pandemic. Read more

EU negotiator Barnier spills Brexit secrets in new book

BBC: From the moment Michel Barnier was made the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator in July 2016 he was at the heart of talks to reach a deal with the UK government. But what can we learn from his 500 pages of memoirs about the turbulent talks and what he thought of his UK counterparts? Read more

Top U.S. oil lobby slams Mexico energy policies as undermining USMCA, discriminatory

Reuters: The top American oil lobby is urging the U.S. government to raise concerns about Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s energy policies, which it said are undermining investor confidence and violate Mexico’s trade commitments. Read more

Carbon emissions drop across Europe in 2020 – Eurostat

Reuters: Carbon emissions from use of fossil fuels fell across the European Union last year, the bloc’s statistics office estimated on Friday, citing COVID-19 restrictions that shut down travel and factories across the region. Read more

China open to trade deal either with Uruguay or with all of Mercosur, says Ambassador

Mercopress: China’s Ambassador in Montevideo Wang Gang Wednesday underlined his country’s “open attitude” towards a trade agreement “either bilateral or en bloc” with Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay) “when Uruguay or the bloc as a whole are ready.” Read more

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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:

caribbeantradelaw

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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