Author Archives: caribbeantradelaw

Caribbean Trade and Development Digest – July 1-7, 2018

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development Digest for the week of July 1-7, 2018! We are happy to bring the trade and development headlines and analysis from across the Caribbean Region and the world from the past week.

REGIONAL

The major regional news this week was the 39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of the Heads of Government of CARICOM held in Jamaica. The full communique from the meeting may be viewed here. Some of the major headlines from the meeting may be found below:

CARICOM Meeting Headlines

President of Chile keen to negotiate a free trade agreement with CARICOM

Jamaica Information Service: President of the Republic of Chile, His Excellency Sebastián Piñera, has expressed interest in entering into negotiations on a free trade-agreement with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). He was addressing the third plenary session at the 39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM on Friday (July 6), at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, in St. James.Read more

CARICOM must reposition to navigate the new normal

Jamaica Observer: Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell says the Caribbean Community (Caricom) must reposition itself to operate in a global landscape characterised by the “new normal”. Read more

Premier Burt speaks on Fintech at CARICOM

Bernews: During the CARICOM meeting in Jamaica, Premier David Burt made a presentation about Bermuda’s moves in establishing a regulatory platform for fintech and also discussed how “Distributed Ledger Technology more generally can assist with challenges in servicing citizens and increase government efficiency.” Read more 

CARICOM Chairman lobbies Chile for Development Financing

Jamaica Gleaner: Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness has encouraged the Chilean President  to use his country’s “considerable visibility” on the international stage to assist members of the regional bloc to make a strong case for access to development financing. Read more 

Bahamian Prime Minister addresses CARICOM on disaster management

Eyewitness News: Prime Minister, Dr. Hubert Minnis shared with his CARICOM colleagues, a number of initiatives being undertaken by his government in a move to improve his country’s disaster mitigation plan, through the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA. Read more 

CCJ not a priority for St. Lucia at this time

Jamaica Observer: St Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet says while signing on to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is a critical issue, it is not a priority for his Government at this time. Read more 

CARICOM leaders propose that measures be put in place for easier travel

Jamaica Information Service: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders are proposing that measures be put in place to facilitate easier travel within the community. Read more

CCJ’s New President hopes CARICOM nations will join Court’s Appellate Jurisdiction

Jamaica Observer: Justice Adrian Saunders who was yesterday installed as the third president of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is disappointed that more Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations have not yet signed on to the court’s appellate jurisdictions. Read more 

PM Browne calls on CARICOM to address the “disproportionate movement of people”

Antigua Observer: Prime Minister Gaston Browne has called on the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to address the unbalanced movement of people that is borne by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). Read more 

Other Regional Headlines

FDI in Latin America and the Caribbean falls for third consecutive year

St. Lucia Online: Despite an international context characterised by stronger growth in the global economy, abundant international liquidity, high corporate returns and optimism in financial markets, the flows of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Latin America and the Caribbean fell for the third year in a row last year. Read more

Cuba seeks to increase non-conventional agricultural exports

Xinhua: Cuba seeks to increase exports of non-conventional agricultural products like honey, charcoal, coffee and pine resin to various markets around the world and contribute to the government’s strategy of diversification of foreign markets. Read more

TT#1 in Cuba

Newsday: TT exported an estimated $456 million worth of goods to Cuba in 2016 while it imported $37 million of products from the island that same year. Read more 

DT World to create new trade portal in Dominican Republic

Saudi Gazette: A new electronic trade portal that will enable trade and make life easier for business has been launched in the Dominican Republic by Dubai Trade World (DT World). Read more 

Commissiong is Barbados’ new ambassador to CARICOM

Nation News: Controversial attorney David Comissiong will be Barbados’ next Ambassador to CARICOM. Read more 

CARICOM Day in London pays tribute to Windrush Generation

The Daily Herald: The Caribbean Community CARICOM diplomatic missions in London celebrated CARICOM Day on Wednesday with a special thanksgiving service and exhibition in tribute to the Windrush generation. Read more 

Haiti Risks Losing Thousands of Jobs

Haitilibre: As of Saturday, July 7, 2018, will end the derogation granted to Haiti, pending the ratification of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) – European Union – Cariforum. Recall that the countries of the region that signed this agreement, did it to attract foreign investment in their country and to have better access to the EU market. Read more 

INTERNATIONAL

Russia initiates WTO dispute complaint against US steel, aluminium duties

WTO: The Russian Federation has requested WTO dispute consultations with the United States regarding US duties on certain imported steel and aluminium products. The request was circulated to WTO members on 2 July. Read more 

Support remains solid for Aid for Trade financing, WTO members told

WTO: Support for projects intended to help poor countries expand their participation in global trade continues to be solid, with low income countries garnering the most support on a per-capita basis, WTO members were told on 3 July. The latest update was delivered to the Committee on Trade and Development’s session on Aid for Trade. Read more

Rate of new trade restrictions from G20 economies doubles against previous period

WTO: The WTO’s nineteenth monitoring report on Group of 20 (G20) trade measures covering the period from mid-October 2017 to mid-May 2018, issued on 4 July, shows that new trade-restrictive measures from G20 economies have doubled compared to the previous review period. The report also shows that G20 economies continue to implement trade-facilitating measures, with the rate increasing slightly.  Read more 

WTO issues panel report regarding US duties on Canadian paper

WTO: On 5 July the WTO circulated the panel report in the case brought by Canada in “United States — Countervailing Measures on Supercalendered Paper from Canada” (DS505). Read more 

David Davis resigns as Brexit secretary

Independent: His resignation as Brexit secretary deals a heavy blow to the stability of the prime minister’s administration, with two other ministers almost immediately following suit. Read more 

BONUS

The Closing Press Conference of the Thirty-Ninth Heads of Government meeting may be viewed here on CARICOM Today’s Blog.

Liked this issue? To read past issues of our weekly Caribbean Trade & Development Digest, please visit here. To receive these mailings directly to your inbox, please follow our blog.

Advertisements

Caribbean Trade & Development Digest – June 24 – July 1, 2018

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development Digest for the week of June 24-July 1, 2018! We are happy to bring the trade and development headlines and analysis from across the Caribbean Region and the world from the past week.

REGIONAL

The major regional trade headlines this week

Barbados and IMF to begin negotiations this week

BarbadosToday: Barbados has put together a strong negotiating team and is ready to engage in discussions with the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) representatives from July 2 to 12. Read more

Over 200 heads of State and officials to attend CARICOM Meeting in Jamaica 

Telesur: Over two hundred foreign officials from the Caribbean Community, or Caricom, are preparing to make their way to Jamaica for the organization’s 39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government. Read more

Premier takes OT-UK fight to CARICOM

Cayman27: Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin is taking his case to Caricom leaders to enlist the help of Cayman’s regional partners. This as he continues his battle against the UK’s imposition of public beneficial ownership registries on Overseas Territories. Read more

Cuba’s President will be special guest at CARICOM Summit

Prensa Latina: Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel will be one of the special guests of the 39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the regional entity reports today. Read more 

CARICOM Meeting in Jamaica is time for frankness, says Holness

Jamaica Observer: If Prime Minister Andrew Holness fails to represent us well at the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) meeting he will merit the anger of many yet unborn. He was not among West Indian students in London who took oaths to merge our islands, so he may speak frankly. Read more 

INTERNATIONAL

RCEP on track for substantial agreement by year-end in big win for free trade: Chan Chun Sing

Strait Times: Trade ministers of 16 countries that account for 30 per cent of global trade have re-affirmed their resolve for a regional trade deal that will benefit economies at different levels of development.  Read more 

South Africa to sign African free trade agreement

Fin24: South Africa on Sunday will sign the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA) agreement, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies confirmed. Read more

Canada retaliatory tariffs on US come into force

BBC: Canada’s countermeasures against the Trump administration’s steel and aluminium levies have come into effect. On Sunday, the day the country celebrates its national holiday, Canada imposed a 25% tariff on assorted US metals products. Read more 

Japan PM Shinzo Abe says Asia-Pacific can fly flag for free trade  

Strait Times: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in an impassioned rallying cry for free trade, on Sunday (July 1) urged Asia-Pacific countries to take the lead to further the free, fair and rules-based economic order. Read more 

Japan passes bills to ratify Trans-Pacific deal

Nikkei Asian Review: Japan’s parliament passed bills ratifying a comprehensive trans-Pacific trade deal on Friday, paving the way for the pact to take effect, which its backers say will create a “trade deal for the 21st century.” Read more

Trade barriers: EU removes record number in response to surge in protectionism

EU: The annual report on Trade and Investment Barriers, released today, shows that the European Commission has eliminated the highest number ever of trade barriers faced by EU companies doing business abroad. European exporters reported a major increase in protectionism in 2017. Read more 

AU Summit focused on challenges, progresses

Prensa Latina: The African Union (AU) today highlighted the progress made this year on several fronts, when the continent seeks to achieve peace, development and unity. Read more 

WTO issues panel report on tobacco plain packaging 

WTO: On 28 June the WTO circulated the panel report in the cases brought by Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Indonesia in “Australia — Certain Measures Concerning Trademarks, Geographical Indications and Other Plain Packaging Requirements Applicable to Tobacco Products and Packaging” (DS435, DS441, DS458 and DS467). Read more 

Hong Kong will pursue more free trade agreements, says official

Strait Times: Hong Kong will continue to pursue free trade agreements (FTAs) as trade is not a zero-sum game, said its secretary for commerce and economic development. Read more

Namibia signs Continental Free trade agreement

NBC (Namibia): Namibia has joined the Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) agreement worth over US$2 trillion. Read more

Turkey, EFTA expand free trade agreement

Hurriyet Daily News: Turkey and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries—Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland—signed an agreement on June 25 to enlarge their free trade agreement (FTA). Read more

Experts applaud intra Africa trade

ENCA: Experts say intra-Africa trade has the greatest potential for building sustainable economic development and integration on the continent. Read more 

Trump reportedly wants the US to withdraw from the WTO

CNBC: President Donald Trump is not a fan of the World Trade Organization. Axios is reporting that Trump has told several top White House officials he wants to withdraw the United States from the WTO. Read more

Trump to delay signing NAFTA deal until after mid-term elections

The Guardian: Donald Trump intends to delay signing a revised version of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) until after the midterm elections, a move aimed at reaching a better deal with Canada and Mexico. Read more 

Mexico’s presidential forerunner could shake up NAFTA and Trump

CNBC: Mexicans will head to the polls Sunday in an election that’s set to bring a paradigm political shift to the country. Read more

EU withdrawal bill officially becomes law

BBC: The government’s flagship Brexit legislation has officially become law, Speaker John Bercow has announced. Read more 

NEW ON CTLD BLOG

5 things the UK’s EU (Withdrawal) Act of 2018 does

The Golding Report Adopted by Jamaica Government: What Next?

Liked this issue? To read past issues of our weekly Caribbean Trade & Development Digest, please visit here. To receive these mailings directly to your inbox, please follow our blog.

 

5 things the UK’s EU (Withdrawal) Act of 2018 does

Alicia Nicholls

After months of heated debate, the United Kingdom’s European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, more colloquially called the ‘Brexit Bill’, received the Royal Assent on June 26th, transforming it into law.

Here are five quick things the EU (Withdrawal) Act of 2018 does:

1.Defines Brexit or ‘Exit day’

The UK’s official ‘exit day’ from the EU is now defined in statute as March 29, 2019 at 11:00 pm. However, the Act allows amendment of this date via regulation to ensure it conforms with the date on which the EU treaties are to cease to apply to the UK as per Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union (Lisbon Treaty), that is, from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification of withdrawal unless the European Council, in agreement with the UK, unanimously decides to extend this period.

2.Repeals the European Communities Act, 1972 on ‘exit day’

The European Communities Act (ECA), 1972 provided for the UK’s accession to the European Communities. Per the EU (Withdrawal) Act, the ECA will be deemed repealed on March 29, 2019 at 11:00 pm (Exit Day).

3.Saves EU-derived domestic legislation and direct EU legislation with exceptions

The Act saves EU-derived domestic legislation and direct EU legislation which is in operation immediately before exit day, meaning it continues to have effect in domestic law on and after the exit day, but does not include any enactment in the European Communities Act, 1972 (which would be repealed). It also provides a guide for the interpretation of EU derived law.

But there are important exceptions. For instance, the rule of supremacy of EU law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights will obviously no longer apply on and after exit day. Additionally, while there is nothing preventing UK courts from having regard to EU courts’ interpretation of retained EU law, they will no longer be bound to principles decided by the European Court and will no longer refer matters to the court.

4.Parliamentary Approval Required for Outcome of EU Negotiations

The Act mandates parliamentary approval for the ratification of the withdrawal agreement and outlines a detailed process at section 13(1) for same.

5.Makes some prescriptions

With respect to the UK’s future relationship with the EU, the Act requires the Government to lay before both Houses of Parliament before the end of October 31, 2018 a written statement outlining the steps taken towards negotiating a customs arrangement as part of the post-Brexit EU-UK relationship. Another example is the requirement placed on the Government to seek to negotiate on the UK’s behalf an agreement with the EU dealing with family unity for those seeking asylum or other protection in Europe.

The full text of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act may be viewed here.

Alicia Nicholls, B.Sc., M.Sc., LL.B., is an international trade and development consultant with a keen interest in sustainable development, international law and trade. You can also read more of her commentaries and follow her on Twitter @LicyLaw.

The Golding Report Adopted by Jamaica Government: What Next?

Alicia Nicholls

Last week the Report of the Commission to Review Jamaica’s Relations within the CARICOM and CARIFORUM Frameworks, commonly referred to as the “Golding Report” after the Commission’s distinguished Chairman, the Honourable Bruce Golding, former Prime Minister of Jamaica, was debated and adopted by the Jamaica House of Representatives. We now finally have some idea of what is the official position by the Government of Jamaica on the report which was commissioned by the Most Honourable, Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica and completed nine months later in March 2017.

Initial fears that the report would serve as the basis for a Jexit (Jamaica’s exit from the CARICOM), akin to the country’s withdrawal from the West Indies Federation in 1961, have been allayed somewhat. Official statements from the Jamaican Government do not evince an intention to leave CARICOM and the Government appears convinced, at least for now, that the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) is the best raft for navigating increasingly uncertain global economic and policy waters.

The 51-page report sought to examine Jamaica’s relations within CARICOM and CARIFORUM, but has presented another opportunity for introspection by CARICOM leaders and other stakeholders on what has been achieved, where we have failed and what is needed to move forward. The fact that consultations were held with persons not just from Jamaica, but also from across the wider CARICOM shows that the Report was not solely insular in focus.

The Holness Government has indicated that it would not push for the five-year deadline for full CSME implementation recommended by the Report, calling the timeline “unrealistic”. Instead, Mr. Holness stated that the Government would “get commitments from the various heads for the full and effective implementation of the Common Market, which are things that we can do within the five years.”

The Holness Government has also thrown its support behind a review of the CARICOM contribution scale of fees payable to the Secretariat and other bodies. Jamaica is currently the second largest contributor (23.15%) and is working to reduce its arrears of just under $500 million. Jamaica is not the only Member State to owe arrears, but the lack of information on the level of arrears owed by Member States was one of the transparency issues raised in the report.

In his contribution to the debate on the Report in the Lower House, Mr. Holness further noted that some of the report’s thirty-three recommendations were more immediately implementable than others, and there was need for some flexibility. The Leader of the Opposition, PNP Leader, Dr. Peter Phillips, also supported the report.

Disappointingly, there has been no public reaction by CARICOM leaders to the report so far, aside from the comments made by Prime Minister of St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Dr. the Honourable Ralph Gonsalves. No reference was made to the Report in the Communique from the 29th Intersessional Meeting, but the report is likely to be one of the agenda items at the upcoming 39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) carded for July 4-6 in Jamaica.

At the two-day Stakeholder Consultation on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) held at the Ramada Princess Hotel in Georgetown, Guyana June 8-9, the Honourable Bruce Golding, who was one of the presenters, noted that the CARICOM Secretariat was not to blame for the implementation deficit.

The Jamaica Government should be lauded for this effort. The Report, which has been the most comprehensive report on CARICOM since the Ramphal Commission’s Time for Action Report of 1992, also addresses issues such as transparency, financing and accountability. The report’s recommendations, most of which are not new, are however, far-reaching. Among the more novel recommendations are the proposed establishment of an Office of an Auditor-General, a Central Dispute Settlement Body, and greater involvement of the private sector.

More could have been said in the Report about ensuring buy-in by future generations by increasing youth participation and engagement in the regional integration process, such as through the expansion of the CARICOM Young Ambassadors Programme, the establishment of a CARICOM Young Professionals Programme at the CARICOM Secretariat or across its institutions, or at least providing greater opportunities for young persons to see first hand the work of the Secretariat through internships.

Like the many reports and studies before it, the Golding Report presents an important opportunity for conversation and dialogue, but talk must be parlayed to action. Jamaica will assume chairmanship of the Conference of Heads of Government under its rotational system from July 1-December 31, 2018, and Mr. Holness will have an opportunity within his six month chairmanship to hopefully influence how much attention is paid to the report and its recommendations, and what should be the next steps.

It is hoped that the Golding Report will not suffer the fate that so many previous studies on CARICOM suffered, that is, being relegated to “File 13”. The report should provoke serious introspection about whether the CSME is really what we want. What concrete steps are we willing to take to implement the commitments made under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas?

Leaders of CARICOM countries must not just be willing to make commitments but be champions for their implementation domestically. The election result in Barbados, which under the quasi-cabinet has lead for the Single Market (including Monetary Union), presents some cause for hope. The new Prime Minister, the Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, has taken a more pro-integration stance than seen in the previous administration, and one of her first acts was to remove the visa requirement for citizens from Haiti, which is not yet a CSME participatory but is a CARICOM Member State.

Alicia Nicholls, B.Sc., M.Sc., LL.B., is an international trade and development consultant with a keen interest in sustainable development, international law and trade. You can also read more of her commentaries and follow her on Twitter @LicyLaw.

Caribbean Trade & Development Digest – June 17-23, 2018

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development Digest for the week of June 17-23, 2018! We are happy to bring the trade and development headlines and analysis from across the Caribbean Region and the world from the past week.

REGIONAL

The major regional trade headlines this week focused on the debate  and adoption in the Jamaica House of Representatives of the Report of the Commission to Review Jamaica’s Relations within the CARICOM and CARIFORUM Networks (commonly referred to as the Golding Report after its chairman, former Jamaican Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding).

Golding Report Headlines

These headlines may be found here:

Jamaica House of Representatives Adopts Report on CARICOM

JIS: The House of Representatives on Tuesday (June 19) adopted the Report of the Commission to Review Jamaica’s Relations within the CARICOM and CARIFORUM Frameworks. Read more 

Jamaica will Continue Relations with CARICOM– PM Holness

JIS: Prime Minister Andrew Holness has reiterated that Jamaica will continue its relationship with the CARICOM. Read more 

Does Caricom need a WTO-type dispute-resolution system?

Jamaica Observer: It cannot be gainsaid that an effective dispute-settlement system is required in any regional trade agreement to ensure the legitimacy of the trade arrangement. Read more 

Jamaica PM Supports Review of CARICOM Contribution Scale

St. Kitts & Nevis Observer: Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness has embraced the Bruce Golding-led Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Review Commission’s proposal for greater equity in the assessment and calculation of fees payable to the CARICOM Secretariat and agencies by member states. Read more

Jamaica Isn’t Accepting Recommendation to Give CARICOM Ultimatum on CSME Implementation

Caribbean360: Jamaica’s Parliament has adopted the report of the commission set up to review the country’s relations within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), but Prime Minister Andrew Holness says government will not insist on the five-year timeline for the implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), as recommended in the document. Read more

Minister Shaw Calls for Fair and Rigorous Application of Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas

JIS: Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, says that the provisions of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas must be applied fairly and rigorously in order to result in increased economic development in the region. Read more

Other Regional Headlines 

EU – African, Caribbean and Pacific countries future partnership: Council adopts negotiating mandate

EU: On 22 June 2018, the Council adopted the negotiating mandate for the future agreement between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. Read more

EU and 79 ACP Countries Aim at New Partnership to Address Global Challenges

InDepthNews: The heads of state or government of the 28 EU member states, constituting the European Council, have authorized the European Commission to open negotiations for a new partnership agreement with 79 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP). The Group’s Secretary-General Dr. Patrick I. Gomes has greeted the decision. Read more

(Trinidad) Exports up, imports down

Newsday (T&T): T&T Exports rose by 11 per cent in the last quarter of 2017, while imports decreased by 1.5 per cent, year on year, the latest data from the Central Bank has shown, and as expected, the uptick in the energy sector is the reason. Read more 

Fewer Jamaicans Denied Entry to T&T

JIS: The number of Jamaicans being denied entry into Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) continues to decline. Read more 

More engagement needed between CARICOM and Caribbean Diaspora 

South Florida Caribbean News: Guyana’s Ambassador to the United States Dr. Riyad Insanally has suggested that there be a more structured process of engagement between the Caribbean Diplomatic Caucus  in Washington DC and the Caribbean diaspora to ensure that efforts to advance the cause of the region and its people are well defined and co-ordinated. Read more 

Implications for the Caribbean… as US imposes tariffs on steel, aluminium

The Guardian: The Trump administration imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union effective June 1, 2018. The implementation of the tariffs are designed to protect the US steel and aluminium industry from foreign producers that undercut domestic prices. Read more

City chamber launches trade councils with India, Canada and Cuba

Stabroek: The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) yesterday launched three trade facilitation councils in efforts to operationalize memoranda of understanding (MoU) signed with Cuba, India and Canada. Read more 

Cuba Seeking Trade, Investment from Wider Caribbean

St Kitts & Nevis Observer: Businesses in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean are being encouraged to explore opportunities for trade and investment with Cuba. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Cuba, Rogelio Sierra Diaz, said his Government is seeking to widen cooperation with countries in the region under its foreign investment law. Read more 

T&T reaffirms trade ties with Cuba

Sunday Express: Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon recently met with Cuba’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Rogelio Sierra Diaz to discuss, among other things, opportunities for increased trade with Cuba. Trinidad and Tobago is currently Cuba’s largest Caricom trading partner, recording 80 per cent of trade in the region. Read more 

INTERNATIONAL

It was another rollercoaster week in international trade policy news. Norway added itself to the growing list of countries challenging the US’ steel and aluminium duties. Meanwhile, the tariff war between the US, EU and China continued to escalate. 

Norway initiates WTO dispute complaint against US steel, aluminium duties

WTO: Norway has requested WTO dispute consultations with the United States regarding US duties on certain imported steel and aluminium products. The request was circulated to WTO members on 19 June. Read more 

NAFTA’s fate could change timing of 2019 federal election: expert

Global News: An expert on Canada-U.S. relations says he could see Prime Minister Justin Trudeau triggering a federal election earlier than planned next year if the trade war with the United States continues to escalate and NAFTA falls to pieces. Read more

Negotiators must redouble efforts as clock ticks on NAFTA

The Hill: After a short cooling off period, the North American Free Trade (NAFTA) negotiators need to redouble efforts to forge an agreement this summer that all three countries find beneficial. Read more 

WTO members intensify discussions on standards

WTO: WTO members continued their three-year review of the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement, proposing ideas on how to improve implementation of the Agreement at a TBT committee meeting on 19-21 June. Read more 

Brexit: PM urged to speed up no-deal Brexit plans

BBC: Theresa May must prepare to exit the EU with no deal to have “real leverage” in Brexit negotiations, a letter from 60 politicians and business figures says. Read more

US unveils new veto threat against WTO rulings

CGTN: The United States ramped up its challenge to the global trading system on Friday, telling the World Trade Organization that appeals rulings in trade disputes could be vetoed if they took longer than the allowed 90 days. Read more

Commission reports on progress in trade talks with Chile and Mercosur

EU: As part of its commitment to a transparent trade policy, the Commission today published reports from the latest negotiating rounds with Chile and Mercosur. Read more 

EU and New Zealand launch trade negotiations

EU: Today, in the capital of New Zealand, Wellington, Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström and New Zealand’s Minister for Trade David Parker officially launched talks for a comprehensive and ambitious trade agreement. Read more 

EU adopts rebalancing measures in reaction to US steel and aluminium tariffs

EU: The European Commission adopted today the regulation putting in place the EU’s rebalancing measures in response to the US tariffs on steel and aluminium. The measures will immediately target a list of products worth €2.8 billion and will come into effect on Friday 22 June. Read more

EU Pushes for a Revamp of the World Trade Organization

Bloomberg: European Union leaders plan to push for improvements in the way the World Trade Organization operates, saying it’s important to uphold the global commercial order amid “growing” tensions prompted by U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariffs. Read more 

Liked this issue? To read past issues of our weekly Caribbean Trade & Development Digest, please visit here. To receive these mailings directly to your inbox, please follow our blog.

Caribbean Trade and Development Digest – June 10-16, 2018

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development Digest for the week of June 10-16, 2018! We are happy to bring the trade and development headlines from across the Caribbean Region and the world from last week:

REGIONAL

‘Tremendous Anxiety” over (Bahamas) WTO Accession

The Bahamas Tribune: The Chamber of Commerce’s chairman yesterday warned there was “tremendous anxiety” over the WTO accession amid the absence of analysis on its likely impact. Read more 

CSME necessary; Consultation raises concerns over architecture

CARICOM: Stakeholders at the just-concluded Stakeholder consultation on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) agree that there is value in, and benefits to be derived from the CSME. Read more 

ECLAC chief calls for ‘new narrative’ on international cooperation for C’bean development

Jamaica Observer: The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, has called for a “new narrative” on international cooperation for the region’s development. Read more 

CARICOM, Cuba to strengthen cooperation

Jamaica Gleaner: The Caribbean Community (Caricom) and the Government of Cuba have both pledged to continue to strengthen relations in matters related to trade and the arts. Read more 

Jamaica, other CARICOM countries to benefit from new Mexico-FAO initiative

Jamaica Observer:  At least 14 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries will design multiple projects to mobilise resources from international sources allowing them to improve the resilience and adaptation of their agriculture, food systems and rural communities to change climate. Read more

Blame Governments, not CARICOM

Barbados Today: Blaming the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat for the gaps in implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) is unfair, former Prime Minister of Jamaica Bruce Golding has argued. Read more 

Integrity Commissions of Guyana, other Caribbean countries want corruption on CARICOM agenda

Demerara Waves: Guyana’s Integrity Commission is among several other similar bodies in the Caribbean that have called on the 15-nation Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to put  graft and corruption on their agenda and craft Commissioner harmonised legislation to tackle the scourge. Read more 

CARICOM unhappy with single market and economy system

New Amsterdam News: Leaders, former leaders and top officials from across the Caribbean assembled in Guyana last week to review the state of play, progress and problems associated with the decades-old Caribbean Single Market and Economy system, and most said the slow pace of implementation was frustrating them terribly. Read more 

Minister Greene pleased with CARICOM meeting

Antigua Observer: Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Trade Minister Chet Greene is pleased with the outcome of a CARICOM Council meeting for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) in Guyana, which concluded yesterday. Read more

New fund launched to assist CARPHA deal with outbreaks and health emergencies

Jamaica Observer: A fund has been launched to provide financial support and assistance to the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to manage outbreaks and emergencies with health and humanitarian consequences across the risk management cycles. Read more 

INTERNATIONAL

WTO chief warns of global downturn if trade dispute escalates 

The Economic Times: If the trade conflict between the United States and other countries intensifies, it could negatively impact the global economy and there are indications this is already happening, the head of the World Trade Organization warned in newspaper. Read more 

Opportunities beckon as Singapore and Rwanda ink agreements

The Straits Times: More business and investment opportunities are under way for Singapore and Rwanda, as both countries signed a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) and an air services agreement (ASA) on Thursday. Read more 

India moves ahead with tariffs on US goods

CNN Money: The country has proposed hiking tariffs on 30 US products in order to recoup trade penalties worth $241 million, according to a revised World Trade Organization filing. Read more 

USTR Issues Tariffs on Chinese Products in Response to Unfair Trade Practices

USTR: The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released a list of products imported from China that will be subject to additional tariffs as part of the U.S. response to China’s ‘unfair’ trade practices related to the forced transfer of American technology and intellectual property.  Read more 

 

EU-Mercosur Trade Talks Resume in Montevideo, Though 2018 Timeframe Remains Unclear

ICTSD Bridges: Trade negotiators for the EU and Mercosur resumed formal talks last week, with officials announcing “constructive progress” thereafter while stopping short of announcing a timeframe for concluding the long-awaited trade deal. Read more 

American businesses brace for pain from trade fight with China

CNN Money: President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods are intended to help American companies that have been hurt by Beijing’s industrial policies. But in the short term, at least, many American businesses may be the ones feeling pain. Read more 

Japan enacts law to ratify Trans-Pacific trade deal

Nikkei Asian Review: The Japanese Diet on Wednesday enacted a law to ratify the 11-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal, moving a step closer to completing domestic procedures. Read more 

Colombia has made request to join Pacific trade pact: Mexico

Reuters: Colombia has formally requested permission to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Mexico’s Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on Friday. Read more

Liberals (Canada) table legislation to ratify Trans-Pacific free trade deal

CBC: The Liberal government introduced legislation Thursday to ratify a free trade deal with 10 other Pacific nations that it says would see Canada get preferential access to some of the biggest and fastest-growing economies in the Asia-Pacific region. Read more 

Australia to start free trade agreement negotiations with the EU

Bloomberg: Australia will begin negotiations with the European Union on a free-trade agreement covering a market with 500 million people and worth $17.3 trillion, making it one of the country’s biggest potential deals. Read more 

Italy won’t ratify EU free-trade deal with Canada: farm minister

Reuters: Italy will not ratify the European Union’s free trade agreement with Canada, its new agriculture minister said on Thursday, ratcheting up an international trade spat and potentially scuppering the EU’s biggest accord in years. Read more

NAFTA talks to continue in tense atmosphere

CNBC: The U.S. and Canada agreed on Thursday to continue negotiating a new NAFTA deal, amid a tense trade environment that includes an announcement Friday of new U.S. tariffs on China. Read more 

EU and Mercosur complete latest talks

EU: The Parties achieved progress on several issues such as services and exchanges were constructive overall but there is still work to be done, notably on cars and car parts, geographical indications, maritime transport and dairy. Read more 

WTO members focus on subsidies for fishing in overexploited stocks at June meetings

WTO: WTO members in the Negotiating Group on Rules on 11-14 June held their second cluster of meetings on fisheries subsidies this year, where they exchanged views and information on subsidies for fishing in overexploited stocks.  Read more 

EIF symposium looks at how to make trade more inclusive for LDCs

WTO: Representatives from 42 least-developed countries (LDCs) met at the first Global Forum on Inclusive Trade for LDCs taking place at the WTO on 13-14 June 2018 to seek ways to further integrate the world’s poorest countries into the multilateral trading system. Read more 

Trade Policy Review: Colombia

WTO: The fifth review of the trade policies and practices of Colombia took place on 12 and 14 June 2018. Read more 

Merkel and leaders of six multilateral agencies call for enhanced global cooperation

WTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted a meeting with the heads of six multilateral agencies on 11 June in Berlin to discuss ways to foster international economic cooperation to address global challenges and improve the prospects for inclusive and sustainable growth. Read more 

Liked this issue? To read past issues of our weekly Caribbean Trade & Development Digest, please visit here. To receive these mailings directly to your inbox, please follow our blog.

FDI inflows to SIDS grow for second consecutive year: UNCTAD Report

Alicia Nicholls

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) rose to $4.1 billion in 2017, representing the second consecutive year of growth and buoyed by an 9% increase in inflows to the ten Caribbean SIDS which grew to $2.7 billion. This is according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in the recently released 2018 edition of its World Investment Report.

Although the majority of countries in the region saw declines in FDI inflows, robust increases in Barbados (+25 per cent to $286 million), Saint Kitts and Nevis (+50 per cent to $127 million), and Trinidad and Tobago (from -$17 million in 2016 to $179 million in 2017) were responsible for the growth of 9%.

In total $5 billion in FDI flowed to the Caribbean subregion in 2017. The Dominican Republic was the main recipient of these flows ($3.6 billion) thanks to trade-related investments and its telecommunications and energy sectors, and to a lesser extent, a modest increase in free trade zone activity, UNCTAD Reports. Inflows to Haiti tripled to $375 million, which though still modest may be a sign of positive things to come as several infrastructure and other projects are in the pipeline.

UNCTAD cautioned, however, that FDI inflows to SIDS remain fragile and noted that several projects previously announced had not yet come to fruition. The intergovernmental body further noted that while policy developments to facilitate renewable energy projects were positive, the concentration of these might mean not all SIDS would reap the benefits.

Outflows

Four Caribbean countries also led SIDS globally with regard to FDI outflows, despite those countries each seeing declines in outflows. The Bahamas topped with outflows of $132.3 million, despite a 63.1% decline. In second place was Trinidad & Tobago which saw outflows of $84.2 (-143.6%). The Indian Ocean SIDS of Mauritius was third place ($61.5m, an increase of 1020%). In fourth and fifth place were Jamaica ($42.7m representing a 80% decline) and St. Lucia ($22.1m and a 208.1% decline).

Regional and global contexts

In the wider Latin America and Caribbean region, economic recovery buoyed an 8% increase in FDI inflows to $151 billion, reflecting the first increase in six years but still well below levels in 2011 during the commodities boom. Moreover, UNCTAD further tempered its prospects for FDI in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2018 due to macroeconomic and policy uncertainties.

The global scene is also much more subdued. Global FDI flows dropped 23% in 2017, a three-year low owing to a drop in cross-border mergers and acquisitions and despite growth in global trade and GDP. UNCTAD noted this negative outlook was of concern to policy makers, especially given the importance of FDI to many emerging economies’ sustainable industrial development.

FDI flows to developed economies were $712 billion, representing a fall of one third. FDI flows to developing economies, which accounted for 47% of global FDI inflows, up from 36% in 2016, remained steady rising to $671 billion in 2017.

The full report may be viewed here.

Alicia Nicholls, B.Sc., M.Sc., LL.B., is an international trade and development consultant with a keen interest in sustainable development, international law and trade. You can also read more of her commentaries and follow her on Twitter @LicyLaw.

« Older Entries