Category Archives: Trade

Trump’s obscene remark confirms administration’s orientation on US-Caribbean/African Relations

Alicia Nicholls

Much of the international news coverage this weekend has surrounded a reported obscene remark made by United States President Donald Trump about Haiti, El Salvador and the fifty-four internationally recognised countries of the African continent (countries with majority non-white populations) during a bi-partisan meeting last week on immigration. He was further reported as stating, on the contrary, that immigrants from countries like Norway (majority white population) would be preferred.

The vulgar phrase attributed to the US President has been widely reported ad nauseum and there is, therefore, no need for me to repeat it here. Both the African Union and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have released statements strongly condemning the President’s reported choice of words. President Trump eventually denied using the obscenity, though conceding he had used ‘strong language’ in the meeting. However, the incident was confirmed by several persons who had been present at the meeting, including one Republican senator.

The underlying assumption that immigrants from the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa have nothing to offer the US is erroneous and unfortunate for several reasons.

  • It ignores the fact that the US is a land of immigrants and that the majority of immigrants to the US are law-abiding citizens who make sterling contributions to their adopted land. From colonial days to present, one can cite countless examples of Caribbean, Latin American and African immigrants who have made sterling contributions to US society, in fields from the arts, medicine, engineering, law, academia, the Armed Forces, and the list goes on.
  • The assumption that immigrants from these countries are overwhelmingly low-skilled is also not borne out in the data. For instance, data from the 2015 American Community Survey show that some 13.5% of the estimated 4.165 million Caribbean born US immigrants had a Bachelor’s degree and 6.7% had a graduate degree
  • Turning to Haiti in particular, President Trump’s comment shows a fundamental ignorance of the critical role Haiti played in the American colonies’ struggle for their own independence. A favour which was not returned when Haiti attained theirs given the fear that a successful black independent republic would inspire other slaves, including in the US, to follow suit.
  • The statement forgets that migration is not a one-way street. Americans too have migrated to, and made their home, in some of these same countries.

The second fundamental flaw with the statement is that it is grossly incorrect and ignores the fact that all countries have their challenges. War, conflict, Mother Nature and other factors could change a country’s fortunes at any time. The prosperous countries of today all underwent periods of time when they too could have been described in such a manner as President Trump used to describe the countries concerned. The Germany which President’s Trump grandfather fled in order to migrate to the US is not the prosperous Germany of today.

It also ignores the role external political actors have played in shaping the fate of many of these countries. For all the development aid given to countries in the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa, history is replete with examples of western powers’ interference in the domestic politics of these countries, from supporting corrupt governments to overthrowing democratically-elected left-leaning governments. These foreign interventions have undoubtedly contributed to many of the problems faced by some of these countries, including corruption, poverty and inequality.

Haiti, no doubt, is perhaps one of the more tragic examples. It is a country which is rich in culture, beauty, spirit and natural resources, and occupies a unique position in history as the world’s first majority black republic.  The colony of Saint Domingue  was the crown-jewel of the French West Indian Empire, but was almost condemned to poverty from the beginning of its post-independence life after being forced to pay France reparations for decades. And if that were not bad enough, how can one overlook US government support for the brutal Haitian dictator Francois Duvalier (Papa Doc) and his son Jean Claude Duvalier (Baby Doc) or more recently, the foreign-orchestrated removal of democratically elected leader Jean Bertrand Aristide in 2004? Moreover, the island has had more than its fair share of natural tragedy, from hurricanes to earthquakes.

The racially-charged slur attributed to the President of the United States should shock no one given his suspect history on race relations, and his ethnonationalist worldview.  It has revealed yet again the ideology underlying an increasingly more isolationist US foreign policy and immigration policy which has seen travel bans, increased deportations and the threat of ending once and for all the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme.

The biggest take-away, however, is that the inflammatory rhetoric used by the President to describe these countries is further evidence that US-Caribbean relations and US-Africa relations will not be a priority for this administration, outside of narrow US national security concerns.

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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Caribbean Trade and Development Digest – January 7-13, 2018

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade and Development Digest for the week of January 7-13, 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

Venezuela Extends Suspension of Air and Sea Travel, Trade with ABC Islands in Continued Fight Against Smuggling

Telesur: Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami has announced that President Nicolas Maduro has extended the suspension of air and sea traffic as well as trade with the Caribbean countries of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. Read more

CARICOM condemns Trump’s reported statements on Haiti

Barbados Today: The 15-nation Caribbean Community (CARICOM) says it is deeply disturbed by reports about the use of “derogatory and repulsive language” by the president of the United States with respect to its member state, Haiti, and other developing countries. Read more

 

Belize votes to indefinitely end all oil exploration in its waters

Inhabitat: Belize has decided to indefinitely end all new oil exploration in its waters. Belize only produces 3,000 barrels of oil a day, in contrast to the 1.5 million barrels that the United States produces each day in the Gulf of Mexico. Read more

Trade attorney warns of the need for compliance with new EU data rules

Barbados Today: Local businesses are being told to prepare themselves for new data protection regulations that will affect trade with the European Union (EU). Read more

EU to target UK ‘tax haven’ territories as trade negotiations begin

The Independent: Demands to open up Britain’s shady network of overseas tax havens are set to be used by the EU as leverage to force concessions during Brexit trade talks, The Independent understands. Read more

CAL makes triumphant first trip to Cuba

LoopTT: Caribbean Airlines landed at the Jose Marti airport in Cuba ten minutes ahead of schedule on Saturday morning as it made its first flight to the Spanish island. Read more

INTERNATIONAL

Viet Nam files WTO complaint over US anti-dumping duties on fish

WTO: Viet Nam has requested WTO consultations with the United States concerning certain US anti-dumping laws, regulations, administrative procedures, practices and methodologies, as well as certain anti-dumping determinations in administrative reviews on fish fillets from Viet Nam. The request was circulated to WTO members on 12 January. Read more

Canada takes US to WTO in wide-ranging trade complaint

CBC (Canada): Canada has launched a wide-ranging trade dispute against the United States, challenging Washington’s use of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties, according to a World Trade Organization filing dated Dec. 20 and published Wednesday. Read more

Trump’s ‘Shithole’ Countries Are Worth $46.6 Billion in Trade to America

Newsweek: During a bipartisan meeting on immigration reform Thursday President Donald Trump fumed about the U.S. accepting immigrants from “shithole” countries. Yet the countries—and indeed continents—that angered him are worth billions in trade to America. Read more

Canadian officials believe that Trump is going to yank the US out of NAFTA

Business Insider: Canada is increasingly convinced that US President Donald Trump will soon announce that the United States intends to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), two government sources said on Wednesday. Read more

Brexit shock: No deal will cost EU £500billion

Sunday Express: Pressure was last night mounting on the EU to sign a free-trade agreement with Britain after a report revealed that a “no deal” scenario could cost the bloc more than £500billion. Read more

Preparations, but no NAFTA plan B yet, says trade minister

CTVNews: With the next round of NAFTA talks approaching, and uncertainty about where the U.S. stands from one day to the next, Canada’s International Trade Minister said there’s no clear “plan B” if the trilateral deal gets torn up. Read more

US looking at free trade agreement with India

Hindu Business Line: The US government is planning a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India in an effort to boost two-way trade that currently stands at $115 billion. Read more

Philip Hammond: Brexit trade deal without services not ‘realistic’ for UK

Politico: It is not a “realistic proposition” for the U.K. to accept a post-Brexit trade deal that does not include services and the EU would be “crazy” to cut itself off from London’s financial center, the British chancellor Philip Hammond said Saturday. Read more

Commerce submits steel imports report to Trump

Global Trade Mag: The United States Department of Commerce announced that it had submitted its report on the Section 232 investigation of steel imports to President Donald Trump. Read more

South Korea, Vietnam seek redress from US through WTO

CBC (Canada): South Korea has asked the World Trade Organization for authorisation to impose annual trade sanctions worth at least $711 million on the United States, a filing published by the World Trade Organization showed on Friday. Read more

Booming Global Trade helped China Exports Surge Last Year

Bloomberg: China’s exports rose in December, capping a year of stronger trade growth buoyed by a robust global economy. Read more

China eyes new stage of cooperation with Africa

Xinhua: With a key cooperation forum and the Belt and Road Initiative, China hopes to raise its cooperation with Africa to a new stage, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said. Read more

US says Vietnam should have notified eight state firms to WTO

Reuters: The United States has notified the World Trade Organization of eight Vietnamese firms it says should have been registered as state trading enterprises under the global trading rules, a U.S. filing published by the WTO showed on Thursday. Read more

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Caribbean Trade and Development Digest – January 1-6, 2018

Happy New Year! Welcome to the Caribbean Trade and Development Digest for the week of January 1-6, 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

Cuba’s Raul Castro Meets Top EU Diplomat to tighten relations

TeleSur: Cuban President Raul Castro met with the European Union’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, at the end of her two-day visit to the country, seeking to construct and reinforce ties between EU member countries and Cuba. Read more

Exxon Mobil reports Oil Discovery off Guyana

Fox Business: Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) on Friday said it made another positive oil discovery off the coast of Guyana.  Read more

2017 gold declarations below target

Stabroek News: The Guyana Gold Board has recorded total gold declarations of 652,000 ounces for 2017, which is below the target of 720,000 ounces. Read more

Hurricane-hit Caribbean countries slash cost of Citizenship by Investment programs, says report

Nation News: Caribbean nations ravaged by recent hurricanes are selling citizenship at dramatically discounted prices in an effort to raise emergency funds, sparking concerns that the programmes may be vulnerable to abuse, according to reports here. Read more

Arrivals of US tourists to Cuba tripled in 2017

Caribbean News Digital: U.S. tourism to Cuba grew nearly threefold in 2017 over the previous year, mainly due to relaxation of travel ban, a Cuban official said Saturday. Read more

CARICOM moving to create first climate-resilient region

Jamaica Observer: Incoming chairman of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse, says the regional grouping is moving towards creating the world’s first climate-resilient region this year. Read more

INTERNATIONAL

Will intra-African trade flourish in 2018?

The Herald: Overcoming the barriers for intra-African trade to double in a decade can feel like a Sisyphean task – impossible to complete. But that is the objective of the Boosting Intra-African Trade (BIAT) action plan, which targets to double flows between January 2012 and January 2022. Read more

Rwanda: AU Summit to discuss Continental Free Trade Area

AllAfrica: The upcoming 30th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Assembly of Heads of State and Government is expected to receive a progress report on the status of negotiations of the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), an official has told Sunday Times. Read more

US Trade deficit hits $50.5 billion, biggest since 2012

ABCNews: The U.S. trade deficit rose to $50.5 billion in November, the largest imbalance in nearly six years, as imports and exports both hit records. Read more

Canada’s NAFTA charm offensive kicks into high gear

CBCNews: The new year begins with Canada relying on an old strategy for saving the North American Free Trade Agreement. Read more

UK seek free trade agreement covering goods and services in Phase Two

RTE: British Prime Minister Theresa May has said the UK will be looking for a free trade agreement with the EU that will cover goods and services in Phase Two of the Brexit negotiations this year. Read more

Tariffs to be slashed as China-Chile free trade agreement kicks in

China.org.cn: Nearly 98 percent of products traded between China and Chile will have zero tariffs attached when the new China-Chile free trade agreement is implemented in 2018, according to the Guangdong Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, reports Chinanews.com. Read more

Will 2018 be the year of protectionism? Trump alone will decide

New York Times: The Trump administration will soon face several major trade decisions that will determine whether the White House adopts the type of protectionist barriers that President Trump campaigned on but that were largely absent during his first year in office. Read more

Will global trade survive 2018?

Foreign Policy (Blog): The future of the global trade system faces more risk and uncertainty than at any time since it was created after World War II. Read more

Macron pursues ambitious agenda on first official China visit

RFI: French president, Emmanuel Macron’s heads to China Sunday hoping to forge closer ties with President Xi Jinping. During the three-day trip which begins Monday, Macron plans to seek a “strategic partnership” with Beijing, notably on terrorism and climate change, an official in the president’s office said. Read more

Why Britain should be allowed to join the TPP

The Strait Times: Analysis by James Crabtree Read more

US-Korea trade talks pit pickup trucks against nuclear threat

Reuters: The United States and South Korea on Friday completed the first round of review talks on a bilateral trade deal with Washington saying there was “much work to do” to reach a new pact.  Read more

Will there be a Pacific trade war in 2018?

Nikkei Asian Review: Analysis by Glen Fukushima Read more

New Chinese consul general talks tough on trade

Business in Vancouver: China is eager to conclude a free-trade agreement with Canada, but not at the expense of a set of “baseline” political principles seen as untouchable by Beijing, said the new top Chinese diplomat in the Western Canada region. Read more

How Nepal’s trade costs could be minimised

The Himalayan Times: A recent report jointly prepared by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UNESCAP) titled ‘Trade and Transport Facilitation Monitoring Mechanism (TTFMM) in Nepal’ has suggested the government to set up the TTFMM institutional mechanism to monitor processes in certification, customs, transit and cargo transportation to bring down the cost of trade. Read more

Brexit: UK Government considers joining TPP trade agreement to help bolster economy after leaving EU

The Independent: Britain is exploring the possibility of joining a trans-Pacific trade bloc after Brexit in a bid to find alternative markets for exports that currently go to Europe, it has emerged. Read more

Brexit: May urged to stay in the single market by 20 British MEPs

The Guardian: Theresa May is being urged to change course and seek full membership of the European single market and customs union by 20 British MEPs, including three Tories and the majority of Labour politicians based in Brussels. Read more

Pressure grows for UK to bring ban on ivory trade

The Guardian: Consultation by the government shows huge public support for ending all sales. Read more

More than 2,300 EU academics resign amid warning over UK university ‘Brexodus’

The Independent: New figures show a 19 per cent increase in departures of European staff from universities last year compared to before the EU referendum, and a 10 per cent rise from some 2130 resignations in 2015-16. 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.

How can Caribbean CIPs survive increased global and regional competition and scrutiny?

Alicia Nicholls

Citizenship by investment programmes (CIPs) operated by five Caribbean small island developing States have been receiving increased international competition and scrutiny, with some arguing that a veritable “race to the bottom” has begun. Indeed, these programmes face increased competition not just inter se, but globally as more countries worldwide are turning to citizenship or residency programmes for attracting much needed investment.

The CIP-operating countries in the Caribbean are currently St. Kitts & Nevis (the world’s longest running), Dominica, Grenada, Antigua & Barbuda and most recently, St. Lucia. As all five of these countries are part of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), investors who obtain citizenship under one of these countries’ CIPs are also entitled to the freedom of movement privileges under the CSME, which has caused legitimate national security concern in some non-CIP operating CARICOM countries.

  1. Eliminate price as a factor

Although Caribbean CIPs are already the most affordable in the world, there are irrefutable signs of increased price competition among Caribbean CIPs.  In January of this year, St. Lucia amended its regulations to, inter alia, reduce the minimum qualifying investment to US$ 100,000 to the National Economic Fund. In the wake of the passage of Hurricane Irma, St. Kitts & Nevis added a lower cost option (US$150,000 plus applicable fees) in the form of the temporary hurricane relief investment option (until March 2018), whereby the invested funds would be earmarked for assisting hurricane-affected areas. This latter change was sharply criticised. Even more recently, Antigua & Barbuda cut the investment threshold for the National Development Fund by 50%.

Any semblance of price competition among Caribbean CIPs is problematic for several reasons.  Although the majority of persons seeking alternative citizenship do so for the ease of business and travel a good quality passport brings, lowering the minimum investment threshold makes Caribbean CIPs more accessible to those persons who may seek alternative citizenship for nefarious purposes. Even if the due diligence processes remain unchanged, a perceived price war could cause third States to either reimpose visa restrictions or apply more scrutiny to passport holders of those States  (or of other Caribbean States!), which diminishes the value and attractiveness of those CIP-countries’ passports. It lessens the perceived value of the citizenship offered by those countries which may actually be a turn-off to some High Net Worth Individuals who may be more attracted to exclusivity.

What this speaks to is the need for CIP-operating Caribbean countries to eliminate price as a factor of competition by harmonising their minimum investment threshold, a point I made in a paper I delivered on this topic earlier this year.

2. Increase due diligence cooperation

Cooperation among CIP-operating Caribbean countries should also extend to cooperation on issues of due diligence to ensure that an applicant who fails one country’s due diligence requirements is not accepted under another’s. Based on my research, it appears that there is some due diligence cooperation already occurring, but more can be done. Additional options could be to harmonise due diligence requirements and to formulate a harmonised list of excluded countries instead of national lists as currently obtains in some CIP-operating Caribbean countries.  This would also address some of the national security concerns of non-CIP operating Caribbean countries, and third States.

3. Improve transparency

Lack of transparency remains a major problem plaguing the perception of Caribbean CIPs. Antigua & Barbuda’s legislation makes it mandatory for a 6-month report to be published and this information is found online. However, generally speaking, there is little information made available about Caribbean CIPs’ operation, except for the economic data found in the IMF’s Article IV consultation reports. With few exceptions, officials are often very reluctant to share data on these programmes’ operation, whether out of fear of competition or negative publicity.

Failure to share information only adds to the shroud of secrecy plaguing the programmes and it also makes it difficult to analyse the socio-economic impacts of these programmes.

It would be useful if CIP-operating Member States would use the framework for information sharing as mentioned in the Strategic Plan for the Caribbean Community Plan 2015-2019 to share data on the operation of their programmes for transparency purposes, including their approval and disapproval rates.

4. Compete on quality

Competition among Caribbean CIPs should be on quality of service and product without compromising standards. Caribbean countries already have inherent natural advantages which are pull factors for HWNIs, such as their natural beauty, pleasant climates, stable democratic societies and quality of life. But these alone are not enough. What the latest World Bank Doing Business Report 2018 shows is that there are several indicators on which Caribbean countries, including CIP-operating countries, can improve their attractiveness as investment destinations by improving the ease of doing business. Jamaica, which does not offer a CIP, is a good example of a Caribbean country which has been making sound reforms in the quest for  ‘best in class’ status as an investment destination.

5. Good governance

Good governance is key to the long-term sustainability of Caribbean CIPs. This includes ensuring that due diligence standards are robust, as well as that transparency and efficiency remain paramount to the programmes’ administration. It also entails keeping the programmes free of political interference.

6. Residency Criterion?

Currently, all five Caribbean CIPs are direct citizenship programmes which means that there is no requirement on the investor to reside in the jurisdiction for a fixed period of time before citizenship is granted. The lack of a residence requirement is one of the unique selling points of Caribbean programmes, but it is also one of the reasons why some third States are increasingly critical of these programmes.

The addition of  a short residency requirement, similar to Malta’s 12-month requirement, could be a possible option for Caribbean CIPs as it would remove some of the transactional nature to the process.

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.

COP23: Five Negotiation Priorities for Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

Alicia Nicholls

In about a week’s time, delegates from over 190 countries will convene in Bonn, Germany for the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). During this round of climate negotiations, which will last from November 6-17th, the parties will continue work on implementation guidelines for the Paris Climate Change Agreement signed at COP21 in December 2015.

Despite United States’ President Donald Trump’s statement in June that the United States would be withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, there is some cause for optimism that this year’s COP negotiations will bear fruit. For the first time, a small island developing state (SIDS), the Republic of Fiji, has assumed the presidency of COP and brings to this task first-hand experience from the front lines of the climate change battle.

Secondly, recent natural disasters worldwide have brought increased international attention to the devastating effects of climate change and the need for urgent action on reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. This point was well-made by President of Fiji, Mr. Frank Bainimarama, who stated at a Pre-COP Ministerial Meeting held on October 17 in Fiji that:

“We can no longer ignore this crisis. Whether it is fires in California, Portugal and Spain. Flooding in Nigeria, India and Bangladesh. The dramatic Arctic melt. Ice breaking off the continent of Antarctica. The recent hurricanes that devastated the Caribbean and the southern United States. Or the hurricane that has just struck Ireland and Scotland – the tenth hurricane of the Atlantic season this year. It’s hard to find any part of the world that is unaffected by these events.”

Thirdly, except for the US, political will among the world’s most powerful nations has coalesced on the side of climate action. The 19 other G20 countries reaffirmed their “strong commitment” to the Paris Agreement, calling it “irreversible” in their Summit Declaration following the Hamburg meeting in July.

Below are five key likely priorities for SIDS as they go into the negotiations:

  1. Scaling up Climate Finance to SIDS

At COP15 in 2009, developed countries committed to jointly mobilise USD 100 billion annually by 2020 to meet the mitigation and adaptation needs of developing countries. According to an OECD study, climate-related concessional finance has increased in both absolute terms and as a percentage of total concessional development finance, however annual commitments for 2014 were still 20% of the USD100 billion goal.

SIDS often find it difficult to attract private financial inflows for development purposes due to their small size and economies, and current financing levels do not meet their current needs. Moreover, current graduation criteria have made some middle and upper income SIDS, like those in the Caribbean, ineligible for certain types of concessional financing.

Pledged contributions, whether to the Green Climate Fund or otherwise, also do not necessarily always lead to timely disbursement, and there is the need for guidelines and protocols for incorporating the Adaptation Fund established at COP7 into the Paris Agreement’s framework.

Finding innovative and effective ways to attract and increase financial flows, including from both public and private and bilateral and multilateral sources, will be key. For example, Fiji became the first developing country to issue a sovereign green bond, with technical support from the World Bank, to support the country’s mitigation and adaptation efforts.

  1. Loss and damage

Loss and damage was one of the most contentious topics in the negotiations leading up to the Paris Agreement and was strongly lobbied for by SIDS and LDCs as they are the least culpable but most vulnerable to the harshest impacts of climate change. The concept recognises that there is some irreversible damage which cannot be avoided through mitigation and adaptation strategies.

The Paris Agreement has recognised the concept of ‘loss and damage’ as a distinct concept of climate action and has made the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage permanent. It, however, does not deal with liability or compensation, something which developed countries were adamant they did not wish to be included. The softer language used in Article 8, which, inter alia, itemises areas for cooperation and facilitation, is reflective of these developed country concerns.

The costliness of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season is an important background against which SIDS should call for greater discussion on concretely addressing loss and damage, including the successful launch of the Clearing House for Risk Transfer which is slated to take place at COP23.

  1. Adaptation and Mitigation

Developed countries’ continued and increased support will be necessary to assist SIDS in implementing national climate action plans, policies and projects in order to build climate resilience. This support for adaptation and mitigation includes not just financial support, but technology transfer and capacity building and technical assistance.

Certain groups within societies are particularly vulnerable to climate change, including women and children, the disabled and indigenous and rural communities. As such, the COP23 negotiations will involve operationalizing the Gender Action Plan and the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platforms.

  1. More ambitious NDCs

Some 163 parties have already submitted their Nationally Determined Contributions which outline their emission reduction targets toward meeting the goal set out in Article 2 of the Paris Agreement of keeping average global temperature increase to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius. These NDCs may be found at the interim NDC registry.

However, the May 2016 synthesis report on the aggregate effect of INDCs showed that a higher level of ambition will be needed in order to reach the goal in Article 2.

SIDS will want all parties to communicate to more ambitious NDCs after 2018 in order to meet the temperature goals in the Agreement and in keeping with the Article 4(3) commitment of communicating successively progressive NDCs.

  1. Preparations for Facilitative Dialogue 2018

The Facilitative Dialogue which will take place in 2018 will be the first initial opportunity under the Paris Agreement to take stock of parties’ collective progress in a transparent manner towards meeting the Agreement’s long-term goal and inform the preparation of NDCs. It will be a precursor to the Global Stock Take, the first of which will take place in 2023 and will occur every five years thereafter.

The Facilitative Dialogue 2018 will be launched at COP23 and parties will need to organise and decide on the procedures, events and expected outcomes in time for its convening. The President of Fiji, who must be commended on his country’s excellent work on preparations for COP23 to date, has indicated that these talks will approached on the principle of ‘talanoa’, a Pacific concept which values inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue.

A copy of the negotiating agenda for COP23 (current as at this date) may be viewed here.

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.

 

Caribbean Trade and Development Digest – October 22-28, 2017

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade and Development Digest for the week of October 22-28, 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

Rowley talks trade with Mexico at CARICOM Summit

Trinidad Express: According to a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister, Rowley has asked Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to immediately consider the development and implementation of a partial scope trade agreement which will allow Trinidad and Tobago manufactured goods access to the Mexican market. Read more

Get cracking: EU wants region to get to work on CSME; EPA

Barbados Today: Barbados and its Caribbean Community (CARICOM) neighbours have been told to get cracking on the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Europe. Read more

South Africa set to boost trade with Cuba

allAfrica: The upcoming Havana International Fair will further advance relations between South Africa and Cuba, says Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Bulelani Mangwanishe. Read more

Haiti-DR. Towards a border resident card to facilitate trade?

Haiti Libre: Director of the National Institute of Migration (INM) of the Dominican Republic encourages the Directorate General of Migration (DGM) to create a border resident card, which would facilitate the movement of people who depend on binational trade in areas border with Haiti. Read more

India eyes trade deals with Central American, Caribbean Countries

Times of India: India is looking to expand its trade footprint in America with initial discussions initiated in the government for a possible free trade agreement (FTA) with Caribbean and Central American countries and a logistics hub in Panama to help shipment of goods. Read more

China, Cuba sign agreements to expand economic, trade ties

China Daily: China and Cuba on Wednesday signed five cooperation and legal agreements, which reaffirm the willingness of both nations to strengthen and expand their economic and trade relations. Read more

Mexican President and CARICOM meet in Belize

Amandala: Oct. 26, 2017–Belize hosted a historic meeting between heads of government of CARICOM and the president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza on Wednesday, October 25, 2017. Read more

Mexico gives USD$14 million to CCRIF

The Reporter: The Government of Mexico will contribute $14 Million to the CARICOM Catastrophe Risk Insurance Fund (CCRIF), Mexico’s President, Enrique Peña Nieto confirmed at the IV CARICOM-Mexico Summit. Read more

CARICOM should seek to deepen ties with BRICS

Stabroek: An opinion piece by a staff writer at Stabroek. Read more

Barbados and Italy Double Taxation Agreement enters into force

Nation News: The Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) between the Government of Barbados and the Italian Republic has entered into force in accordance with Article 30 of the Agreement. Read more

INTERNATIONAL

UK, EU send proposal to rest of WTO

Reuters: Britain and the European Commission formally told other members of the World Trade Organization on Wednesday how they plan to split up the European Union’s WTO-agreed tariff quotas and farm subsidies after Brexit. Read more

Turkey, Pakistan finalise free trade agreement talks

Xinhua: Turkey and Pakistan have finalized negotiations on free trade agreement (FTA), and wished to sign the deal as soon as possible, Turkish Customs and Trade Minister Bulent Tufenkci said on Friday. Read more

NAFTA Uncertainty already hurting growth, Bank of Canada says

Bloomberg: Uncertainty about U.S. trade policy will reduce investment growth by 0.7 percentage points and export growth by 0.2 percentage points in both 2017 and 2018, according to projections in the Bank of Canada’s quarterly Monetary Policy Report, released Tuesday in Ottawa. Read more

Infrastructure deficit remains major challenge to intra-Africa trade: ECA

Xinhua: The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has reiterated that infrastructure deficit in Africa remains a major challenge to trade facilitation, intra-regional trade as well as economic development and transformation on the continent. Read more

Trudeau dismisses concerns free trade with China will hurt Canada-US relationship

CBC: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said strengthening trade ties with China does not put the Canada-U.S. relationship at risk, shrugging off concerns raised Thursday by a member of his NAFTA advisory council. Read more

PM Lee urges the US to uphold free trade and sustain economic ties with Asia

Today Online: The United States’ relations with Asia has not “been turned upside down” despite the different approach taken by the Trump administration on some issues, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in urging Washington to uphold free trade and sustain economic engagement with the region. Read more

RCEP deal unlikely this year, says South Korea official

Nikkei Asian Review: An agreement to create a free trade zone among 16 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including China, Japan, India and South Korea, is not expected before the end of the year, said a South Korean representative in charge of the negotiations on Friday. Read more

WTO issues compliance panel reports on revised US “dolphin-safe” tuna labelling measure

WTO: On 26 October the WTO issued the panel reports in the cases brought by the United States and Mexico in “United States – Measures Concerning the Importation, Marketing and Sale of Tuna and Tuna Products – Recourse to Article 21.5 of the DSU by the United States” and “United States – Measures Concerning the Importation, Marketing and Sale of Tuna and Tuna Products – Second Recourse to Article 21.5 of the DSU by Mexico” (DS381). Read more

Canada in bid to limit Brazil aircraft subsidy probe at WTO

Reuters: Canada has urged the World Trade Organisation to block attempts by Brazil to trigger a detailed investigation of its aerospace industry to buttress its case that subsidies to Bombardier caused “serious prejudice” to Brazil’s Embraer. Read more

Move to introduce ‘gender inclusivity’ in the WTO

The Hindu Business Line: Waking up to the need to enable more women to participate in international trade, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and a group of member countries are making efforts to get a joint declaration on gender and trade to be adopted at the Buenos Aires Ministerial meet in December. Read more

Colombia looks to expand free trade deals with Pacific region countries

The City Paper (Bogota): Colombia wants its share of the Asia Pacific trade pie as it joins the three other member nations of the Pacific Alliance (Chile, Peru and Mexico) in free trade talks with Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Read more

Germany, UK will gain the most from an India-EU free trade deal

The Hindu Business Line: Germany and the UK will witness the highest absolute gains if the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and the European Union (EU) is concluded, states a study conducted by the Bertelsmann Stiftung of Germany. Read more

Former WTO boss warns Brexit trade agreement could take seven years

The Express: A FORMER World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General warned that Britain’s worst option post-Brexit would be to trade under WTO rules, amid claims that Britain is preparing for Brexit talks to fail. Read more

‘Decision on fishing subsidies certain in WTO’s Dec meet’

The Hindu: An agreement on elimination of ‘harmful’ fisheries subsidies is likely to be the only major outcome at the forthcoming meeting of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) highest decision-making body called the ‘Ministerial Conference’. Read more

European Parliament votes for trade deal with New Zealand

Radio New Zealand: The European Parliament has voted to press ahead with plans to do a trade deal with New Zealand. Read more

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