September 19, 2021

Caribbean Trade and Development News Digest – August 30-September 4, 2021

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade and Development News Digest for the week of August 30-September 4, 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 continue to express our solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Haiti who were affected by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake on August 14, and then by Tropical Storm Grace just days later. Even though the international media has largely moved on from the ‘story’, our Haitian brothers and sisters still need your help. Please assist by reaching out to reputable charities/aid agencies if you are so able. We also express our concern for those readers who were negatively impacted by Tropical Storm Grace and Hurricane Ida. Please stay safe all.

THE WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS

On September 2, a WTO panel ruled against China in its challenge against the US’ safeguards on imported photovoltaic cells from that country. Read more here.

The WTO has revealed in a recent report that global exports of intermediate goods (IG) grew by 20% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2021. Read more here.

WTO members are gearing up to resume fisheries subsidies negotiations after the August break. This will be under an intensified programme of meetings beginning on 1 September. Read more here.

The EU and pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca has reached an out of court settlement in their very public COVID-19 vaccine supply dispute. Read this report from France24 here.

According to Euractiv, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on September 2 that ‘zero tariff’ options offered by telecommunication service providers Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom in Germany were in breach of the EU’s laws on Open Internet and Roaming”. Read the full article on Euractiv here.

Coming up this week on Tuesday, September 7, will be the first ever CARICOM-Africa Summit! It will be hosted by the Government of Kenya and chaired by Kenyan President, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta under the theme “Unity Across Continents and Oceans: Opportunities for Deepening Integration”. Read more here.

Starting Monday! Afronomics Law Blog Symposium on Africa-Caribbean Economic Relations

I am truly pleased to have co-convened this Afronomicslaw. org Blog Symposium with the brilliant Dr Ohiocheoya Omiunu (PhD) on “Prospects for Deepening Africa-Caribbean Economic Relations“! The insightful contributions to this symposium will be released daily (from Monday) and can be read on the Afronomics Law Blog. I also wish to extend my deepest appreciation to the expert contributors – academics and practitioners – for taking time out of their busy schedules to share their invaluable contributions, without which this Symposium would not be possible!

REGIONAL NEWS

Regional countries import billions in food, seafood and fish products

Jamaica Observer: The Trinidad-based Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) says most Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries are net importers of food and food products, importing a combined five billion US dollars of these products in 2018. Read more

Task Force Established To Address Impact Of OECD’s New Two-Pillar Plan in Barbados

GIS: Minister of International Business and Industry, Ronald Toppin, has expressed concern about the two-pillar package on taxation in the digital economy being implemented by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Read more

Barbados’ first High Commissioner to Kenya accredited

Barbados Today: William Alexander McDonald has been accredited as Barbados’ High Commissioner to the Republic of Kenya. Read more

CARICOM SG accredits new UK ambassador to CARICOM

CARICOM: Climate Change and Covid-19 were the main issues discussed as Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Her Excellency Carla Barnett accepted the credentials of the new Ambassador of the United Kingdom to CARICOM Her Excellency Jane Miller. Read more

Vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers are going to different sets of Caribbean islands

CNBC: The British Virgin Islands are part of a rising number of Caribbean destinations that attract vaccinated travelers — while proving less attractive to unvaccinated people. Read more

New trade gateway for T&T’s service providers

Trinidad Express: The Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI) virtually launched its Gateway to Trade (G2T) Programme yesterday. Read more

The Caribbean’s Largest Fresh Berry Farm Is Coming To Tobago

Forbes: Trinidad & Tobago will soon be home to the Caribbean’s largest source of locally-grown fresh organic berries. A 12-acre climate-smart hydroponic greenhouse farm located on Cove Estate in Tobago will specialize in fresh organic berries and greens for local consumption, providing a unique opportunity for the commercial production of ‘cold weather’ crops in a Category 5 hurricane resistant tropical setting, with major implications for food security, climate resilience and import substitution. Read more

TTMA commends Government on its Illicit Trade Fight

TT Guardian: President of the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association Tricia Coosal believes that the Government is headed in the right direction thus far in its fight against illicit trade. Read more

Cuba authorizes and seeks to regulate cryptocurrency use

Reuters: Cuba said this week it would authorize and regulate the use of cryptocurrency, a move that could help the Communist-run country skirt U.S. sanctions that have complicated transactions through the international banking system. Read more

Major US companies interested in building 5000 rooms for world-class hotels in Guyana

Guyana Times: Several major United States hotel chains have heeded the call by the Guyana Government and expressed interest in constructing close to 5000 hotel rooms in order to boost local accommodation capacity. Read more

Special Economic Zones and Global Economic Governance: Jamaica’s Economic Independence

Commercial International Law: Policy options and actions, especially economic ones, of a nation do not happen in isolation. Rather they are the result of a complex dance moving to and fro between the natural desire to improve ones lot and the constraints placed on what actions can be taken based on the rules of the game. Read more

Demand for Jamaican agricultural products increasing despite COVID pandemic

Jamaica Star: Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Floyd Green, says external demand for Jamaican agricultural produce and value-added items continues to increase, despite the coronavirus pandemic. Read more

Uptick In External Demand For Jamaican Agricultural Produce

JIS: External demand for Jamaican agricultural produce and value-added items continues to increase, despite the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

WTO chief seeks fishing, pandemic accords by year end

Reuters: The World Trade Organization needs results by the end of the year and must focus its efforts on securing a deal on fishing subsidies and finding a global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, its director-general said on Thursday. Read more

How cooperation on trade can help tackle plastic pollution

UNCTAD: With about 75% of all the plastic ever produced becoming waste, countries are exploring how to use trade and development policies and negotiations in the fight against plastic pollution. Read more

Divergent climate change policies among countries could spark a trade war. The WTO should step in.

Peterson Institute: Two months before the next big United Nations climate conference in November, the three biggest greenhouse gas emitters—the United States, Europe, and China—are at loggerheads over how to reduce reliance on fossil fuels without excessively disadvantaging their own economies. Read more

Putting sustainability at the heart of the EU’s trade agenda

Euractiv: The question of how to put sustainability at the heart of the EU’s trade policy, and retain public public support for it, has become a vital issue for EU policymakers. So, too, is getting the EU and wider international community to respect their commitments on social, labour and environmental standards. Read more

What’s going on between African nations and the EU?

Devex: Ursula von der Leyen’s first trip abroad after being installed as president of the European Commission in December 2019 was to Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital and headquarters of the African Union. Read more

First meeting for UK’s CPTPP inclusion to be held in a month, Japan minister says

Reuters: Member countries of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreed to hold within a month a first meeting with Britain to discuss its inclusion in the trade deal, Japan’s economy minister said on Wednesday. Read more

UK-New Zealand trade deal close but will only have a ‘minuscule’ impact in British shops, experts say

iNews: Trade Secretary Liz Truss is holding out for better terms on financial services, digital trade and the mobility of people. Read more

Liz Truss appoints New Trade Commissioners to boost UK trade

Gov.uk: International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, has named two new HM Trade Commissioners (HMTCs). Read more

Post-Brexit trade: What is the story with the North and Britain?

Irish Times: Ulster University researcher Esmond Birnie reckons NI protocol has cost North £850m. Read more

UK Brexit minister warns of ‘cold mistrust’ era with EU

Independent: Britain’s Brexit minister has warned of a long-term chill in relations between the U.K. and the European Union if previously agreed trading arrangements governing Northern Ireland are not resolved. Read more

UK Cabinet split over visas in New Zealand trade deal

Politico.EU: Split between Department for International Trade and Home Office comes as UK and New Zealand race past deadline for agreement in principle. Read more

EU trade chief voices optimism on resolving U.S. steel tariff dispute

Hellenic Shipping News: The European Union’s trade chief said on Friday he had become more optimistic that the bloc could resolve its dispute with the United States over U.S. import tariffs on steel and aluminum. Read more

EU’s planned carbon border tax to impact Russia the most -study

Reuters: The world’s first carbon border tax proposed by the European Union is likely to hit Russia the hardest but leave Chinese trade relatively unscathed, according to a joint study by two European climate think tanks. Read more

COVID-19 created lots of supply chain problems — and they’re nowhere close to being solved

CBC.ca: When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the immediate health crisis was just the first of a long line of problems that tech company Voltera had to overcome. Read more

Macron says France ‘will continue’ to oppose EU-Mercosur trade deal

Buenos Aires Times: French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday that Paris maintains its opposition to the trade agreement agreed between the European Union and Mercosur. Read more

S. Korea kicks off 7th round of free trade talks with Mercosur

The Korea Herald: South Korea said Monday it has launched a new round of negotiations to clinch a free trade agreement with Mercosur, South America’s leading trading bloc, as it aims to further expand its export portfolio. Read more

Egypt’s exports to Mercosur countries rise by 115% in 4 years

Egypt Today: Egyptian exports to the Mercosur countries have jumped by 115 percent since the agreement entered into force in 2017, according to the Assistant Minister of Trade and Industry for Economic Affairs, and the supervisor of the foreign trade sector and trade agreements, Ibrahim El-Sigini. Read more

Brazil Urges for Acceleration of Morocco-Mercosur Negotiations on Free Trade

Morocco World News: Mercosur aims to strengthen its trade relations with Arab countries with the goal of establishing a South American-Arab business and investment bloc. Read more

Argentina, Cuba ratify willingness to strengthen bilateral ties

Mercopress: Argentina’s International Economic Relations Secretary Jorge Neme held a meeting Monday in Havana with Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez, during which both countries ratified their intention to strengthen bilateral ties. Read more

Canada’s trade surplus narrows to $778M in July as imports outpaced exports

CBC.ca: Statistics Canada says the country’s merchandise trade surplus fell to $778 million in July as imports rose more than exports for the month. Read more

Kenya lobbies for Commonwealth top job

The East African: Kenya’s Interior Cabinet Secretary (CS) Fred Matiang’i Thursday lobbied for support from Zambia for Kenya’s bid for the Commonwealth top job when he met new President Hakainde Hichilema. Read more

Hong Kong gets central backing to join RCEP

China Daily: The Ministry of Commerce will support the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement as a separate customs territory as soon as possible, in the latest effort to help the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong complement each other and achieve common growth, a senior government official said on Wednesday. Read more

S. Korean trade minister, WTO chief discuss restoring multilateralism amid pandemic

Korea Herald: South Korea’s newly appointed Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo on Wednesday exchanged ideas with World Trade Organization Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on how to restore multilateralism in global trade amid intensifying protectionism triggered by the pandemic. Read more

India urges early TRIPS waiver ruling on COVID shots at WTO

The Hindu: India has pitched for an early outcome of the TRIPS waiver proposal for COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the government said in a release on Saturday. Read more

Iran determined to increase its oil exports despite U.S. sanctions -oil minister

Reuters: Iran is determined to increase its oil exports despite sanctions imposed by the United States on Tehran’s crude sales, Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji said on Wednesday, adding that the use of oil sanctions as a “political tool” would harm the market. Read more

Thailand eyes signing free trade zone agreement with EAEU, says Prime Minister

TASS: Prayut Chan-o-cha pointed to the prospects of the Far East as a link between Russia and the Asia-Pacific region. Read more

STRAIGHT FROM THE WTO

NEW ON THE CTLD BLOG

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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