Category Archives: news

WTO: Trade tensions could sabotage global trade growth momentum

Alicia Nicholls

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has predicted that global merchandise trade growth will remain strong in 2018 and 2019, but has cautioned that this momentum is contingent on the policy choices taken by governments.

This forecast was disclosed by WTO Director General, Roberto Azevedo, in a press conference held last week. According to Mr. Azevedo, global merchandise trade grew an estimated 4.7% in 2017 and is forecast by WTO economists to grow 4.4% in 2018 and by a more modest, 4.0% in 2019.

He noted that trade volume growth in 2017 was the most robust since 2011, with Asia being responsible for much of the recovery. He noted that South and Central America and the Caribbean made a positive contribution for the first time since 2013 due to Brazil’s economic recovery. The ratio of trade growth to GDP growth will be slightly lower in 2018 at 1.4 in 2018, down from 1.5 in 2017. Commercial services trade experienced strong growth in 2017 after two years of lacklustre growth.

The escalating global trade tensions, particularly between the US and China, cast a shadow over the forecast, as Director-General Azevedo strongly cautioned that continued positive trade growth could be “quickly undermined” if Governments turned to trade restrictive policies and engaged in retaliation. Mr. Azevedo pointedly stated that “a cycle of trade retaliation is the last thing the world economy needs”, noting that trade tensions may already be impacting business confidence and investment decisions. He further warned that missteps on trade and monetary policy “could undermine economic growth and confidence”.

In an appeal to WTO Member States to resort to the rules-based system as opposed to unilateral action, Mr. Azevedo added that “pressing trade problems confronting WTO Members is best tackled through collective action”.

The full WTO press release 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.

 

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CARICOM Heads to meet this week for 29th Intersessional HoG Meeting

Alicia Nicholls

Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) will meet this week, February 26 & 27, 2018, in Port au Prince, Haiti for their 29th Intersessional Meeting. The meeting will be chaired by current chairman of the Conference of the Heads of Government, Haitian President, His Excellency Jovenel Moise.

Chairmanship of the Conference of Heads of Government rotates every six months. Haiti, which became a full member of CARICOM in 2002, will hold chairmanship from January 1st to June 30th. Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness will assume chairmanship on July 1st.

Major agenda items for the intersessional meeting include building climate resilience, crime and violence, the impact on CARICOM Member States of blacklisting actions and de-risking actions by global banks.

Additionally, according to the official press release, the meeting “will seek to advance plans to further strengthen key elements of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME)  including those related to travel and trade”.

CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque; the immediate-past CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell of Grenada and current Chairman, President Moise of Haiti, will make remarks at the Opening Ceremony carded for February 26 and which will be live streamed on CARICOM’s website.

In anticipation of the meeting, Haiti’s Ministry of Trade held a Public Forum last Friday to discuss “Integration of Haiti in CARICOM: Challenges and Opportunities”.

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 – February 4-10, 2018

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade and Development Digest for the week of February 4-10, 2018! We are pleased to share some of the major trade and development headlines and analysis across the Caribbean region and the World. We hope you enjoy this edition.

REGIONAL

CDB reports Regional development gains in 2017 despite catastrophic Atlantic Hurricane Season

CDB: Despite major setbacks caused by a destructive 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is reporting a year of several developmental gains for the Region. Read more 

Positive economic growth expected for Caribbean Region in 2018, but resilience-building measures needed

CDB: The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is projecting regional economic growth of 2% in 2018. This follows a return to positive figures last year, during which the Region experienced overall growth of 0.6%–despite the devastation caused by the Atlantic Hurricane Season. Read more 

Barbados ratifies Trade Facilitation Agreement

BGIS: Barbados has ratified the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) on Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). Read more 

Jamaica Prime Minister Tables Report on CARICOM

JIS: Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, tabled a copy of the Report of the Commission to Review Jamaica’s Relations within the CARICOM and CARIFORUM Frameworks in the House of Representatives,  yesterday (February 6). Read more

CDB President announces up to US$800M for disaster recovery, amid strong Bank performance in 2017

CARICOM: President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr. Wm. Warren Smith, today announced that the institution is making USD700 to 800 million (mn) available to help Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) recover from the impact of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Read more 

INTERNATIONAL

Brazil Circulates Proposal for WTO Investment Facilitation Deal

ICTSD Bridges: Brazil submitted an extensive draft proposal for a potential agreement on investment facilitation to the WTO’s General Council last week, in a bid to jumpstart more “structured discussions” on the subject. Read more 

EU-Chile trade talks: Commission releases its proposals and reports about progress

EU: The Commission also published a report of the second round of talks that took place in Santiago (Chile) from 15 to 19 January 2018. These were the first substantive discussions on trade following the launch of talks in November last year. Read more 

Commission imposes definitive anti-dumping duties on Chinese corrosion resistant steel

EU: The investigation confirmed that Chinese producers were dumping the product on the EU market, a finding that already led to imposition of provisional duties in August 2017. The measures that will be in place for the next 5 years range from 17.2% to 27.9%. Read more 

African Leaders Prep for Summit on Continental Trade Deal

ICTSD Bridges: African national leaders concluded the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union last week, with the summit adopting a series of decisions on issues related to continental economic integration – including on the next steps for the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), as well as the free movement of people and air travel. Read more 

No blanket EU trade ban, says Mustapa

The Star: As Malaysia is an open economy, the government cannot impose a blanket ban on trade with the European Union (EU), but it can collaborate with government-linked companies to determine where to buy and sell goods amid the economic bloc’s threat to palm oil, said International Trade and Industry Minister, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
Read more 

Mozambique joins the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and Southern African States

EU: Mozambique was the last piece of the SADC-EPA jigsaw to fall into place. The other five countries – Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South-Africa, and Swaziland – have been implementing the agreement since October 2016.  Read more

Ministers admit almost 65 existing trade deals with non-EU countries are ‘at risk because of Brexit

The Independent: Ministers have admitted for the first time that about 65 existing trade deals with non-EU countries are at risk because of Brexit, it has been claimed. Read more 

This doesn’t help the little guy! Trader reveals why Germans are furious at EU trade deal

The Express: The European Union has not learned lessons from its trade deal with Canada and the public will slowly start to resent Brussels bureaucrats and turn against the bloc, an expert has warned. Read more 

How can East Asia defend the WTO?

East Asia Forum: A confident, rules-based environment for international trade has made possible the remarkable improvements in East Asian living standards over the past 50 years. This environment — created by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and its successor in the World Trade Organization (WTO) — remains essential for the future. But its survival cannot be taken for granted. Read more 

BiH near membership in the WTO

IBNA: Bosnia and Herzegovina can reach full membership in the World Trade Organisation till summer this year, and is on the right path to finish negotiations. Read more 

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s WTO accession negotiations advance towards conclusion

WTO: At the 13th meeting of the Working Party on the Accession of Bosnia and Herzegovina held on 7 February, WTO members supported the swift conclusion of the negotiations and welcomed the strong commitment and desire by Sarajevo to finalize this process in the coming months. Read more 

US blocks India’s request for WTO compliance panel on solar dispute

Hindu Business Line: Moving on expected lines, the US, on Friday, blocked India’s first-time request for the establishment of a panel to settle a dispute on whether the country complied with a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling against domestic sourcing of solar cells and modules mandated in its national solar power generation programme. Read more 

FM: Belarus has no plans to slow down WTO accession talks

BELTA: In 2017 Belarus considerably intensified the talks on joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) and is intended to keep the pace, Belarus’ Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei said in an interview to the Russian newspaper Izvestia, BelTA has learned. Read more 

Italy eyes stronger ties with ASEAN countries

Indian Express: “Italy wants to strengthen relations with ASEAN and will organise the 2nd High Level Dialogue ASEAN-Italy Economic Relations in Singapore in April,” said Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano. 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 – October 8-14, 2017

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade and Development Digest for the week of October 8-14, 2017! We are pleased to share some of the major trade and development headlines and analysis across the Caribbean region and the World. We hope you enjoy this edition.

REGIONAL

COTED approves of poultry plants to sell products within CARICOM

Jamaica Observer: Nine poultry processing plants in the region have been approved to trade among member states as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) continues to move steadily towards increasing intra-regional and food security, the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat has announced. Read more

Column:Brexit’s Impact on British Overseas Territories

Bernews: An opinion column written by Paul Hare. Read more

CARICOM to push for concessionary funding during meetings with US next week

Jamaica Observer: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries will use “important meetings” in the United States next week to push the international community to re-think its policies regarding regional countries that are no longer eligible for concessionary loans and other forms of preferential treatment, St Lucia’s Prime Minister Allan Chastanet said on Friday. Read more

INTERNATIONAL

We’ve got the A-Team of talks, says Liam Fox

Express UK: International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has hit back at claims his negotiators don’t have enough experience to strike deals with the US and other countries post-Brexit, describing them as the “A-Team”. Read more

South Africa committed to enhancing Intra-African trade

allAfrica: President Jacob Zuma says South Africa remains committed to boosting intra-African trade, which will be equitably beneficial for all participating countries. Read more

Mexico, Canada pledge trade unity as NAFTA negotiations continue

The Hill: Mexico and Canada are vowing to continue work on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) after an unproductive fourth round of negotiations in Washington. Read more

Japan exasperated by Trump’s trade policies

Politico: Japanese officials are expressing growing frustration with the Trump administration’s economic policies, vowing to continue striking trade deals with other countries that undercut U.S. agricultural exports rather than seek a new trade agreement with the United States. Read more

Turkey, Indonesia agree to trade talks

Anadolu Agency: Indonesian and Turkish governments on Thursday agreed to start negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in November in an attempt to further strengthen economic cooperation between the two countries. Read more

Pacific Trade Advances without the US

Wall Street Journal: The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact is regaining momentum despite the Trump Administration’s January decision to withdraw. Representatives of the remaining 11 TPP members met last month in Japan to push for ratification as early as November in the hope that Washington will rejoin. Read more

UK and EU formally inform of post-Brexit tariff quota plan

The Guardian: Britain and the EU have formally informed members of the World Trade Organisation how they plan to split up the EU’s tariff quotas and farm subsidies after Brexit in a plan already rejected by the White House. Read more

WTO DG Azevedo tells ministers more commitment is needed to deliver success at MC11

WTO: At an informal ministerial gathering in Marrakesh on 9-10 October, hosted by Morocco and Argentina, Director-General Roberto Azevêdo told ministers that there were some promising issues on the table, but in all areas there remains a long way to go in order to deliver a successful outcome at the 11th Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires in December. Read more

Qatar escalates UAE trade dispute

Reuters: Qatar has asked the World Trade Organization to set up a dispute panel to adjudicate on its row with the United Arab Emirates, Qatar said in a document published by the WTO on Thursday, escalating a trade complaint it lodged with the WTO in July. Read more

India and EU to look at ways to restart trade pact talks

The Economic Times: India and the European Union plan to take stock of the proposed free trade agreement negotiations next month and explore ways to put in place a framework to resume the stalled talks. Read more

Economist sees merit in Pacific trade deal (PACER Plus)

Radio New Zealand: An economist says the PACER Plus trade agreement still has benefits for smaller Pacific states, despite two of the region’s bigger economies not signing up to the deal. Read more

Pangolin trade forces Ghana to look at new wildlife laws

Sunday Times: Ghana is facing calls to update its laws on wildlife crime after fears the country has become a transit route for the illegal trade in pangolin scales. Read more

Asia-Pacific Services Trade needs more harmonised regulation

Asia Times: Preliminary research has found that it is in the best interest of Asia-Pacific services trade partners in emerging sectors to access the largest possible legal framework, and from within that framework raise the standards of membership in terms of domestic regulation harmonization. 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 – September 24-October 1, 2017

Source: Pixabay

We’re back! Welcome to the Caribbean Trade and Development Digest for the week of September 24-October 1, 2017! We are pleased to share some of the major trade and development headlines and analysis across the Caribbean region and the World. We hope you enjoy this edition.

REGIONAL NEWS

Online plaforms launched to promote regional trade, business

St Kitts & Nevis Observer: The Caribbean community’s development of a single market and economy has been given a boost with the launch of four new online platforms aimed at promoting trade and improving the ease of doing business. Read more

Services an untapped growth sector

Jamaica Information Service: Head of the Trade Agreements Implementation Unit in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Symone Betton-Nayo, says the services sector remains an untapped area that offers tremendous opportunity for Jamaica’s economic growth and development. Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

WTO Chief Warns of Risks to Trade Peace

Financial Times: The head of the World Trade Organization has warned that the Trump administration’s blocking of the appointment of new judges to hear international disputes risks undermining a system that has kept trade wars at bay for more than two decades. Read more

Interview: Pacific Alliance tackles non-tariff trade barriers

Xinhua: Latin America’s Pacific Alliance is looking to do away with non-tariff obstacles to trade between its members Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, according to a top Peruvian businessman. Read more

Cross-border rail links: the spark to ignite intra-African trade?

International Railway Journal: Trade between African nations is considered one of the continent’s great untapped economic opportunities, but poor cross-border connectivity continues to hinder growth. Keith Barrow reports from Cape Town on the potential role for rail in unleashing intra-African trade. Read more

Philippines revives plan to join Trans-Pacific Partnership

Philstar Global: The Philippines is reviving its plan to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) even as the mega-trade deal pushes through without the US, the Department of Trade and Industry said. Read more

Britain caught in cross fire of trade spat between Boeing and Bombadier

The Globe and Mail: Britain, caught in the crossfire of a damaging trade dispute between airplane makers Boeing Co. and Bombardier Inc., said on Sunday it would fight to protect thousands of jobs put at risk in Northern Ireland. Read more

Ciobo chases Mexico free-trade deal

The Australian: Trade Minister Steven Ciobo will lead a business delegation to ­Mexico to open new opportunities for Australian companies as free-trade talks progress for a new Latin American free-trading bloc.  Read more

The US made the global trade rules it claims are unfair

The South China Morning Post: If trade conflict erupts between China and the United States in the coming year, it will certainly not be for want of both sides trying to keep the peace. Read more

Ireland hopes to boost exports under Japan-EU Agreement

Japan Times: Ireland hopes to boost exports to Japan under an economic partnership pact the European Union and Japan reached a broad agreement on in July, Irish Deputy Prime Minister Frances Fitzgerald said in a recent interview. Read more

Zambia Commerce Minister saddened by low intra-African trade

Lusaka Times: MINISTER of Commerce, Industry and Trade Margaret Mwanakatwe has called for concerted efforts in boosting intra-Africa trade. Read more

Liked this issue? 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.

The Trump Presidency – Implications and Opportunities for Caribbean IFCs

Alicia Nicholls

On March 31, 2017 I was a panellist representing FRANHENDY ATTORNEYS at the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) Barbados International Business Forum 2017 entitled “Is the Barbados International Business Sector Under Attack?” held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Barbados.

I was on the second panel which discussed the topic “The Trump Presidency – Implications and Opportunities for IFCs“. My esteemed fellow panellists were Jeremy Stephen, Economist and UWI Lecturer, Lisa Cummins, Executive Director of UWIConsulting and Cadian Dummond, Attorney at Law. The discussion was expertly moderated by Melanie Jones, Partner at Lex Caribbean Attorneys-At-Law.

I spoke to the possible implications of the Trump Presidency in regards to de-risking, FATCA and visa restrictions.

For those who missed the panel discussion and have expressed interest in my remarks, please find a copy of same in powerpoint form here. Enjoy!

For more on past presentations I have done, please see news and announcements.

Alicia Nicholls, B.Sc., M.Sc., LL.B., is a 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.

 

 

“What’s Next for NAFTA?” FITT Trade Elite Chat Recap

Alicia Nicholls

Last Thursday I was a panellist for the Forum for International Trade Training’s (FITT) Trade Elite Twitter Chat on “What’s Next for NAFTA” – the North American Free Trade Agreement which comprises the United States (US), Canada and Mexico.

My fellow panellists were Horacio Lopez-Portillo, a Partner at Vazquez, Tercero and Zepeda in Mexico City,  John Boscariol, Partner and leader of the International Trade and Investment Law Group at McCarthy Tetrault LLP in Toronto, Joy Nott, the President and CEO of the Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters (I.E. Canada) in Toronto and  Paola Viviana Murillo, the Founder and Director of Latincouver. The moderator was Jon Yormick, Special Counsel for Phillips Lytle LLP.

The topic is timely in light of new US President Donald Trump’s sustained criticism of NAFTA and his call for a renegotiation of the over two-decades old agreement. The discussion focused on issues surrounding the strengths and weaknesses of NAFTA in its current dispensation, whether there was the need for a NAFTA 2.0, whether other more modern free trade agreements like the recently concluded EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) could serve as useful models for a NAFTA 2.0,how  issues such as e-commerce, labour, services and the environment should be addressed, and how much blame should really be placed on NAFTA for job losses.

Please feel free to read FITT’s recap of the robust discussion on their website here. Further information on FITT’s past and upcoming Tradeelite Chats can also be found in the FITT website at the previous link.

Alicia Nicholls, B.Sc., M.Sc., LL.B., is a 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.

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