Welcome to the Caribbean Trade and Development News Digest for the week of June 6-12, 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
Lots of interesting developments happened this week. Where do we start? Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) are meeting in Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK) on June 11-13, for their first in-person G7 summit since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the decisions so far has been a declaration on pandemics and a commitment to increase climate change finance contributions.
Ahead of the Summit, US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed on a New Atlantic Charter covering US-UK bilateral and multilateral cooperation in a number of areas, including climate change and security. Access the new document and the Joint Statement by the two leaders here.
Rebeca Grynspan of Costa Rica has been chosen to be the new head of UNCTAD, becoming the first Central American to hold the position and the first woman appointed. She will take over from interim SG Isabelle Durant. Read more here
According to a WTO press release, WTO members have moved closer to a text-based process to address the proposals put forward by delegations aimed at improving the international response to COVID-19 and to providing equitable access for COVID-19 vaccines and medical supplies. Read here.
US Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Katherine Tai outlined the Biden Administration’s “Worker-Centred Trade Policy”. Read her full remarks doing so here.
Post-Brexit relations between the UK and the European Union (EU) remain tense as the latter has fired a warning that it would react swiftly if the UK acted alone to change post-Brexit trading arrangements for Northern Ireland. Read the full story here.
Articles on the Proposed Global Minimum Corporate Income Tax
I was pleased to co-author an article with Tammi Pilgrim entitled “What might the proposed global minimum corporate income tax mean for Caribbean International Financial Centres (IFCs)?”. I thank the Barbados Business Authority (the leading business magazine in Barbados) and Barbados Today for publishing.
I also highly recommend Bruce Zagaris’ excellent recent article for Tax Notes on this same issue here.
Caricom concerned about G7 tax initiative
Jamaica Observer: Caribbean Community (Caricom) Secretary General Irwin LaRocque says Caribbean countries must be “concerned about the soundings” being made by the Group of Seven (G7) nations that last week announced a landmark deal that could help countries collect more taxes from big companies and enable governments to impose levies on United States tech giants such as Amazon and Facebook. Read more
There could be greater achievements, says CARICOM SG
Jamaica Observer: Outgoing Caribbean Community (Caricom) Secretary General Irwin LaRocque is suggesting that “another mechanism” be utilised in getting member countries to greater strengthen their existing cooperation and collaboration for the future development of the region. Read more
Irwin LaRocque recommends other mechanism for quicker implementation of CARICOM decisions
Dominica Online: Outgoing Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Ambassador Irwin LaRocque is proposing that another mechanism be put in place to speed up the implementation of decisions for greater achievement among countries in the region. Read more
Campbell to CARICOM: Build resilience at front end of all future planning
EyeWitness News: If the global COVID-19 Pandemic has taught regional countries one lesson, it would be the need for regional planners to place greater focus on building resilience at the front end of all future planning to create sustainable, preventative programmes for potential crises. Read more
Tobacco sector generates more than 110,800 jobs in the Dominican Republic
Dominican Today: Of the 15 products leading the Dominican Republic’s total exports during 2021, tobacco (or cigars) ranks second, trailing only gold, according to data published by the Dominican Republic’s Export and Investment Center (ProDominicana). Read more
The US continues as the DR’s main export destination
Dominican Today: According to data published by the Center for Exportation and Investment of the Republic Dominicana, of the 15 products that lead the total exports of the Dominican Republic during 2021, tobacco (or cigars) occupies second place, only remaining below gold (ProDominicana). Read more
Cuba suspending cash bank deposits in dollars, citing U.S. sanctions
Reuters: Cuba said on Thursday it would temporarily stop accepting cash bank deposits in dollars, blaming tighter U.S. sanctions that are restricting its ability to use greenbacks abroad, although it will still accept transfers. Read more
Cuba: locally-made disposable face masks to be sold
OnCuba: The distribution of Cuban masks will begin with health workers, while their commercialization will be carried out in establishments in freely convertible currency and in others in Cuban pesos (CUP) “at very affordable prices.” Read more
Dominica Signs Agreement To Begin Construction Of International Airport
News 784: A monumental signing for the Commonwealth of Dominica’s international airport took place at Windsor Park Stadium on Wednesday. The agreement saw the Government of Dominicaand Montreal Management Consultants (MMCE) move one step closer to the development and construction of the airport. Read more
GOB Optimistic that Belize will see an Increase in Exports to Guatemala
LoveFM: Following the formalities between the leaders and delegations for Belize and Guatemala, the official discussions began with one of the main topics being the idea of a partial scope agreement. Read more
Antigua calls for tax cuts in airline ticket prices in region
Jamaica Observer: Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne says the novel coronavirus pandemic has provided Caribbean governments with the opportunity to implement tax cuts for airline tickets across the region. Read more
52nd meeting of COTED: emerging issues on regional affairs
Jamaica Gleaner: The Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) held its 52nd session virtually on June 1-2. It was chaired by Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith. Read more
Vietnam, Barbados examine ways to step up bilateral cooperation
VoV: Vietnamese Ambassador to Venezuela, and Barbados Le Viet Duyen on June 3 had an online meeting with Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados Simone Rudder to discuss bilateral cooperative ties between the two countries. Read more
No movement: UK, EU show little sign of defusing post-Brexit row
CNBC: Britain and the European Union showed little sign of defusing a post-Brexit trade dispute on Saturday, with both sides repeating their opposing positions even after U.S. President Joe Biden encouraged them to find a compromise. Read more
‘Whatever it takes’, UK’s Johnson warns EU over post-Brexit trade
Reuters: Britain will do “whatever it takes” to protect its territorial integrity in a trade dispute with the European Union, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday, threatening emergency measures if no solution was found. Read more
Figures show Brexit continues to depress trade with EU
Independent: Brexit is continuing to depress UK trade with the EU, with total imports and exports of goods in the first four months of this year down by a quarter compared to 2019, according to new official figures. Read more
Ambassador Tai Outlined Biden’s Goal of Worker-Focused Trade Policy
New York Times: The U.S. trade representative called for stronger worker protections in trade policy as the administration looks to curb the negative impact of globalization. Read more
US, EU, and the unmaking of Donald Trump’s trade war
DW: Brussels and Washington are expected to put an end to much of the trade tensions fueled by the former US president. DW takes a look at the various trade crises that have strained relations between the two allies. Read more
EU in talks with US, UK on mutual recognition of COVID-19 travel certificates
Euractiv: The European Commission is discussing with the United States and the United Kingdom the recognition of the COVID-19 travel certificate that will come into force in July in the EU, the European Commissioner for Justice has announced. Read more
EU ministers approve strategy on climate change adaptation
Euractiv: European Union environment ministers on Thursday (10 June) approved the EU’s new climate change adaptation strategy, which sets out a vision up to 2050 to make Europe resilient and “fully adapted to its inevitable impacts”. Read more
UK-Africa Forum on Trade, Policy and Reform to examine the future of trade and avenues for policy reform
Africa News: Invest Africa (www.InvestAfrica.com), a Pan-African business and investment platform, aims to build constructive dialogue between policy makers and business leaders from the UK and Africa during the Forum. James Duddridge MP, Minister for Africa, Emma Wade-Smith OBE, H.M. Trade Commissioner for Africa, and His Excellency Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Ghana will feature in the programme. Read more
WTO council offers hope for TRIPS vaccine proposal
Devex: It has been more than eight months since South Africa and India’s delegations to the World Trade Organization tabled a proposal to waive intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics. Yesterday, delegates to the global body’s Council for Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights, or TRIPS, finally agreed to move to the next stage of text-based negotiations amid growing international support for some version of the waiver. Read more
Argentina still resists drive to make Mercosur more flexible
Mercopress: A top official from the Argentine Government spoke yet again against a bid from Brazil and Uruguay to make Mercosur more flexible and allow members to broker one-on-one deals with other countries or blocs. Read more
Push to change Mercosur rules opens rift among members
BNAmericas: The Mercosur trade bloc is confronting a rift among key members Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay over a potential rule change. Read more
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