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Caribbean Trade & Development Digest – March 10-16, 2019

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development Digest for the week of March 10-16, 2019! We are happy to bring you the major trade and development headlines and analysis from across the Caribbean Region and the world from the past week.

THIS WEEK’S HEADLINES

With just two weeks to go before Brexit Day (March 29, 2019), the UK House of Commons has for the second time rejected the Draft Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May’s government with the European Union (EU), this time by a margin of 391 votes to 242 votes. A third vote is expected to be held this upcoming week. The Commons also voted against a no-deal Brexit in a non-binding vote, as well as in favour of an extension under Article 50.

The UK Government has also published details on a temporary tariff regime which it would implement in the case of a no-deal Brexit. The major proposal is to temporarily slash tariffs on 87% of imports into the UK in order to cushion the impact on businesses and consumers. Tariffs will remain for certain sensitive industries. Details have been published here.

Turning regionally, the French Overseas Territory of Guadeloupe has acceded to the Organisaton of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) as an Associate Member, making it the second French Overseas Territory to join that organisation. A Special Meeting of the OECS Authority of Accession of Guadeloupe was held on March 14th and 15th 2019 in Guadeloupe. Read the communique here.

REGIONAL

Label worry

Barbados Today: Barbados’ expanding trade with Latin America has started to create some headaches for the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, as that organisation is witnessing substantial breaches in standardization laws relating to labels in a foreign language. Read more 

Belize among regional sugar producers disenfranchised on the CARICOM market

LoveFM: The movement of sugar in the CARICOM market continues to disenfranchise regional sugar producers. That is what a press release issued today by the Sugar Association of the Caribbean, SAC, is saying. Read more 

GO-Invest facilitated $89.4B in investments last year – CEO

Stabroek: The Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest) facilitated approximately $89.4 billion in investments last year and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Owen Verwey yesterday said there have been no negative indications from businesses and investors stemming from the recent political developments. Read more 

GO-Invest developing plan to revamp operations

Stabroek: The Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest) will be developing a strategic plan to overhaul its operations and refine its investment promotion, according to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Owen Verwey. Read more 

Wto Tariff Cut Fears For ‘40,000 Bahamian Jobs’

Tribune 242: Local contractors have voiced mixed reactions to fears that a WTO-induced 50 percent tariff rate cut on pre-fabricated buildings “puts 40,000 Bahamian construction jobs at risk”. Read more 

Puerto Rico Trade & Export Co. launches support program for women

Caribbean Business: The Puerto Rico government awarded six food trucks to women from various parts of the island, with which they will be able to run, expand and even export their services in the future. Read more

T&T paint company penetrates Cuban market

Loop T&T: Trinidad and Tobago paint manufacturers, ANSA Coatings Limited, on Wednesday loaded a container with over €500,000 worth of product bound for Cuba, the company’s newest export market. Read more 

Energy Exports To Keep T&T’s Current Account In Surplus

Fitch Solutions: Fitch Solutions forecast that Trinidad and Tobago’s (T&T) current account surplus will widen in 2019 due to an expanded traded goods surplus. Read more

EU adds more Caribbean countries to money laundering blacklist

Caribbean News Now: Less than a month after the European Union (EU) blacklisted several jurisdictions worldwide including several Caribbean countries, the EU Commission has added more jurisdictions to its tax-haven and money laundering blacklist. Read more 

Export Saint Lucia anticipates export of mangoes, golden apples to US market

St Lucia News Online: Export Saint Lucia is expressing confidence that some fruits from the island will soon hit the United States (US) market. Read more 

Jamaica Customs On Track To Open Electronic Single Window For Trade In 2021

Jamaica Gleaner: The Jamaica Customs Agency said it is on track to roll out the electronic single-window system for trade in 2021. Read more

OECS welcomes Guadeloupe into fold in a changing regional environment

ST Lucia News Online: Guadeloupe on Wednesday night became the second French-speaking Caribbean country to be associated with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) in an environment that St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves dubbed as “as a variable explanation of regional integration”. Read more 

Cemented

Barbados Today: Rock Hard Cement, owned by Barbadian construction magnate Mark Maloney, has won round one of a trade dispute with the Arawak Cement Company. Read more 

CARICOM leaders committed to delivering competitive transportation industry

Caribbean News Now: Heads of government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are committed to deliver a competitive transportation industry, and are looking for the right model that would be fiscally appropriate for the provision of air transportation services in the region. Read more 

‘Open amnesty to Caricom nationals’

The Guardian (T&T): Cen­tre for Jus­tice chair­man Har­vey Bor­ris is lend­ing his sup­port to the Min­is­ter of Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty, Stu­art Young for his pro­pos­al of a one-year amnesty for Venezue­lan refugees who are cur­rent­ly re­sid­ing in T&T. How­ev­er, he be­lieves this op­por­tu­ni­ty should al­so be ex­tend­ed to oth­er Cari­com na­tion­als fac­ing a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion. Read more

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

How Chinese Investment in Latin America Is Changing

Americas Quarterly: Chinese financing in Latin America is changing. After becoming a major source of capital flows to Latin America and the Caribbean over the past 15 years, a more diverse range of investors has surfaced, interested in more than simply channeling resources towards infrastructure, governments and state companies. Read more 

Trump’s trade war cost U.S. economy $7.8 billion in 2018: study

Hellenic Shipping: President Donald Trump’s trade battles cost the U.S. economy $7.8 billion in lost gross domestic product in 2018, a study by a team of economists at leading American universities published this week showed. Read more 

What to expect from WTO’s 2019 Global Review of Aid for Trade

Devex: The world’s least developed countries have the smallest share of the global trade market, but highest reliance on a small number of commodities to support their economic growth — a key topic on the agenda at the World Trade Organization’s Global Review of Aid for Trade in July. Read more 

U.S. considers sanctions on firms facilitating Venezuelan oil shipments to Cuba

Miami Herald: The Trump administration is considering imposing sanctions on companies from third countries that facilitate the shipment of Venezuelan oil to Cuba, a senior administration official told the Miami Herald. Read more 

Canada open to seamless transition in trade with Britain after Brexit

iPolitics: Tuesday’s massive rejection by the British House of Commons of Prime Minister Theresa May’s eleventh-hour bid for Brexit on her terms leaves Britain’s future relations with the European Union up in the air. Read more 

Gender and trade spotlighted at UN Commission on Status of Women

UNCTAD: Trade policies are not gender neutral and can affect men and women differently due to the distinct roles each plays in our economies and societies, UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General Isabelle Durant said on 13 March at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Read more 

Trade wars are growing over the digital economy – and developing countries are shaping the agenda

The Conversation: At the heart of the current US trade war with China is tariffs on imports like steel, sorghum and silicon chips. But, with the growing role of data and digital technology in the world economy, a new arena of digital trade conflict is on the cards. Read more 

Brazil Reportedly Weighing Import Quota for US Wheat

VoA: Brazil is considering granting an import quota of 750,000 metric tons of U.S. wheat per year without tariffs in exchange for other trade concessions, according to a Brazilian official with knowledge of the negotiations ahead of President Jair Bolsonaro’s visit to Washington. Read more

WTO: India pushes for simpler qualification, licensing norms for foreign workers

Hindu Business Line: India has pushed for more transparent and simpler qualification and licensing norms at the World Trade Organization for workers and professionals seeking to work in another country and has circulated a draft paper for consideration of other members. Read more 

As US tightens sanctions, India cuts down oil imports from Venezuela blaming poor infrastructure

Financial Express: India’s import of oil from Venezuela is almost nil since the country’s infrastructure is not up to the mark, say sources. The bilateral trade between the two countries is at $ 6 billion and is in the favour of Venezuela due to oil imports by India. Read more 

UK will cut most tariffs to zero in event of no-deal Brexit

The Guardian: Tariffs will be cut to zero on 87% of imports to the UK as part of a temporary no-deal plan, but prices of some imports including meat, shoes, underpants and cars will go up. Read more 

Brexit: Does NI tariffs plan violate WTO law?

BBC: The UK government’s strategy for the Irish border if there’s a no deal Brexit will mean no tariffs on Irish goods going to Northern Ireland, but some Irish food products entering Great Britain will face high tariffs. Read more 

US trade rep says WTO playbook is outdated, needs reforms 

Reuters: The World Trade Organization is using an “out of date” playbook despite dramatic changes including the rise of China and the evolution of the internet, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in testimony to Congress on Tuesday. Read more 

Trump seeks to change free-trade agreements with Israel

Israel Hayom: U.S. trade negotiators will travel to Israel this week for advanced talks to rework the countries’ 1985 free-trade accord, upgrade their agricultural trade pact and reduce barriers for American farm exports to the Jewish state, Bloomberg reported. Read more 

Malaysia threatens WTO challenge to EU’s move to drop palm biofuel

New Strait Times: Malaysia on Saturday threatened to bring a World Trade Organisation (WTO) challenge if the European Union goes ahead with recommendations to phase out palm oil from transport fuel used in the bloc. Read more 

UN’s Asia-Pacific Trade And Investment Committee Convenes Amid Global Trade Uncertainty

Eurasia Review: Against the backdrop of uncertain trade relations between the United States and China, senior government officials from across Asia and the Pacific gathered in Bangkok this week to re-iterate their commitment to strengthening regional trade and investment. Read more 

Malaysia is cautiously optimistic on conclusion of RCEP by year end

New Strait Times: Despite some details that need to be ironed out, the government is optimistic on the conclusion of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by year end. Read more 

Commentary: Concluding the high-stakes RCEP in 2019 will need a different approach

Channel News Asia: It’s useful to consider alternative approaches for facilitating the conclusion of the negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), says ISEAS-Yusof Ishak’s Tham Siew Yean. Read more 

EU tax blacklist could block Pacific trade – expert

Radio New Zealand: A Vanuatu-based business adviser is warning Pacific nations caught on a new EU tax blacklist could get locked out of trade in Europe. Read more 

EU leaders seek clarity from UK before possible Brexit delay

Deutsche Welle: European Union leaders say if Theresa May’s Brexit deal is rejected again, a clearer plan must be put forward. The UK is seeking a three-month extension to the current March 29 deadline in order to come to an agreement. Read more 

European parliament deals setback to EU-US trade talks

France24: The European Parliament on Thursday failed to back the launch of trade talks between the EU and the United States, dealing an unexpected blow to efforts to avert a transatlantic trade war. Read more 

EU Foreign direct investment report: continuous rise of foreign ownership of European companies in key sectors

EU: The report is the first of its kind in terms of the detailed company level data used. It confirms a continuous rise in foreign company ownership in key sectors in the EU and an increase in investments from emerging economies, such as China. It illustrates the need for effective implementation of the freshly adopted EU investment screening framework. Read more 

Commerce Sec Anup Wadhawan: India Looks For Better Deal For Exporters Under Free Trade Agreement

Techgraph: India is in discussions with its key trading partners to expand preferential duties under free trade agreements (FTAs) even as the government is streamlining procedures for exporters to avail benefits from such trade pacts, Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan has said. Read more 

Taiwan-El Salvador FTA still effective: MOEA

Focus Taiwan: El Salvador has never asked to cancel a free trade agreement (FTA) with Taiwan so the deal remains in place, even though the Central American country switched diplomatic recognition to China last year, Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said Thursday. Read more 

Mnuchin: Lifting tariffs part of plan for USMCA passage

Politico: The Trump administration will work out a solution on steel and aluminum tariffs with Mexico and Canada as part of its efforts to get the new North American trade pact through Congress, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told lawmakers Thursday. Read more

African finance ministers set to examine fiscal policies key to AfCFTA implementation

The New Times: The 52nd session of the Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA) Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, will be held in Marrakech, Morocco, next week under the theme; Fiscal policy, trade and the private sector in the digital era: A strategy for Africa. Read more 

Quality Research Needed to Help Implement the Afcfta

AllAfrica: With a few more ratifications needed for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to become effective, scholars meeting for the Economic Research Conference in Kigali pledged to produce good high-quality research papers to inform policymakers and help move the agreement forward. Read more 

AfCFTA – What Next After Ratifications?

All Africa: The African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) could soon gather the minimum required ratifications to put it into effect. Read more 

US requests consultations with South Korea under the free trade pact

Business Standard: The Trump administration has requested consultations with South Korea under the two nations’ free trade pact to try to resolve US concerns about procedures in competition hearings held by a South Korean trade commission. Read more 

UK signs post-Brexit trade deal with Fiji and Papua New Guinea

The Guardian: Ministers rush to do deals with countries UK trades with under EU free trade arrangements. Read more 

China Upbeat on Trade Talks, Denies Huawei Spying Allegations

VoA: China used the closing of its annual top-level political meetings, or “Two Sessions,” to send positive signals about its commitment to resolve trade tensions with Washington and push forward economic reforms. Read more 

China Aims to Placate U.S. With Law Banning Theft of Foreign Trade Secrets

Wall Street Journal: China made last-minute changes to a proposed foreign-investment law, trying to address U.S. complaints about forced technology transfer and bolster a compromise seen as crucial to striking a trade deal with Washington. Read more

WTO NEWS

WTO 2019 Public Forum theme to be ‘Trading Forward: Adapting to a Changing World’

The WTO’s 2019 Public Forum, to be held on 8-11 October, will consider how trade and the trading system can adapt to a changing world. Read more 

The Philippines launches safeguard investigation on clear and tinted float glass

On 13 March 2019, the Philippines notified the WTO’s Committee on Safeguards that it initiated on 19 February 2019 a safeguard investigation on clear and tinted float glass. Read more 

DDG Wolff: Eight reasons for optimism about the future of the multilateral trading system

Despite being tested “as never before” in its 80-year history, the multilateral trading system will endure, improve and survive, Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff predicted in a speech to the Harvard Law School on 12 March. DDG Wolff said there were eight “sound reasons for optimism” about the system’s future. Read more 

The Caribbean Trade & Development Digest is a weekly trade news digest published by the Caribbean Trade Law & Development Blog. Liked this issue? To read past issues, please visit here. To receive these mailings directly to your inbox, please follow our blog.

 

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Caribbean Trade & Development Digest – March 3-9, 2019

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development Digest for the week of March 3-9, 2019! We are happy to bring you the major trade and development headlines and analysis from across the Caribbean Region and the world from the past week.

REGIONAL

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines increases export of livestock in 2019

OECS: SVG is known internationally for it’s beautiful chain of islands, but is also taking the Caricom region by storm, as the island witnesses significant increases in fish and livestock exports. Read more 

Renewed Calls To Do More To Protect Conch

Tribune242: There are renewed calls for conch protection measures from environmentalists, including banning the exportation of conch meat and ramping up efforts to tackle the “scourge” of poaching. Read more 

US to allow lawsuits against Cuban firms, foreign businesses excluded for now

CNN: US citizens and companies with claims to Cuban property will soon be allowed to sue Cuban entities, according to a senior State Department official. But foreign businesses operating on the island will be excluded from any lawsuits under the decision to partially suspend Title III of the Libertad Act. Read more

Guadeloupe to accede to associate membership of OECS at Opening Ceremony for Special Meeting of OECS Authority on March 14, 2019

OECS: The OECS Authority is scheduled to meet in special session in Guadeloupe on 14-15 March 2019 at which time Guadeloupe will be admitted as an associate member of the Organisation. Read more 

National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce among entities pushing for passage of North American trade agreement.

Caribbean Business: The Pass USMCA Coalition, an alliance advocating for the passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, welcomed the National Association of Manufacturers, Domino’s Pizza, Dow, and the National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce as its newest members. Read more 

Export development workshop held today in Corozal

Breaking Belize News: The Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Commerce announced that as part of a major deliverable under this consultancy, it is hosting a Validation Workshop of a “Draft Regional Economic Development Master Plan for Corozal” that looks at two main components under the consultancy: I. Free Zone review and repurposing and II. The preparation of an Economic Development Master Plan for the Corozal Region. Read more 

Barbados dismisses claims that island could suffer as a result of CSME requirement

TV6: Barbados has dismissed as “propaganda”, claims that the island could suffer a social fallout as a result of the implementation of the Protocol of Contingent Rights that allows for spouses, young children and dependent parents of skilled Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nationals to reside here. Read more 

All CSME Member States Sign on to Contingent Rights Protocol

Caribbean360: Member States that are participating in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) have all signed on to the Protocol on Contingent Rights and most of them are prepared to immediately begin provisional application of the Protocol. Read more

Caricom grants deferral to two member countries on freedom of movement

Jamaica Observer: Two Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries have been granted a five-year deferral on the freedom of movement of Caribbean nationals under the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) that allows for the free movement of goods, skills, labour and services across the 15-member grouping, Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has said. Read more 

PROCOMER Will Promote Export Competencies in Businessmen of the Caribbean Region

Costa Rica News: With the objective of developing export capacities for entrepreneurs in the agricultural, food, and logistics services sectors, the Office of the Costa Rican Foreign Trade Promotor (PROCOMER) in the Huetar Caribe region prepares the 5th edition of the Caribbean Business Meeting. It will take place on March 20th and 21st, 2019, starting at 8:00 am, at the EARTH University of Guácimo. Read more 

Oil import bill on the increase 

Barbados Advocate: AFTER declines in recent years, Barbados’ oil import bill is back up in the air.This increasingly high bill of more than $700 million last year was one of the challenges which continued to confront the Barbados economy in 2018. Read more 

INTERNATIONAL

The Kiwi leading the fight to fix the WTO

Newsroom: With a critical component of the international trading system at risk of collapse, a New Zealander has been tasked with helping to avert crisis. Sam Sachdeva speaks to David Walker about the task ahead of him. Read more

Malaysia says EU palm oil curbs lack scientific proof, breach WTO rules

Reuters: A European Union proposal to limit the use of palm oil lacks comprehensive scientific evidence and breaches global trade rules, Malaysia’s marketing agency for the edible oil said on Friday. Read more 

Kenya negotiating AGOA extension despite low exports

The Star: The government is negotiating for a post Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) initiative to grow exports to US. AGOA was enacted in May 2000 and now has seven years to 2025 after its renewal, under which the country is to export duty-free products. Read more 

Americans will need a visa to visit 22 countries in Europe starting in 2021

Insider: In two years, Americans will need to apply for something called ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) in order to enter the continent. The European Commission says the new visas will be enforced as an effort to upgrade international security, effective January 1, 2021. Read more 

Liam Fox: I fear Brexit may never happen

BBC: A cabinet Brexiteer has voiced fears that Remain supporters in parliament will seek to overturn the referendum result over the next week. Liam Fox told BBC Newsnight that a large number of MPs want to keep the UK “locked in the EU”, adding there needs to be an end to the “self-induced pessimism” which is denying the opportunities offered by Brexit. Read more 

UK and South Africa to co-lead initiative on digital trade, aiming to boost Commonwealth trade to $2tn

UK Government: The Commonwealth initiative will seek to increase prosperity in least developed and developing countries through digital trade. Read more 

Malmström calls for renewed transatlantic cooperation on trade

EU: EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström appealed to the US not to stray from the international trade order and instead work with Europe to face the challenges of the modern global economy, including China. Updating the World Trade Organisation (WTO) should be at the heart of this rejuvenated reform effort, she argued. Read more 

Trade agreement between the EU and the Republic of Korea shown to have increased EU exports by 76%

EU: A European Commission evaluation shows that the trade agreement between the EU and Korea has been effective in making trade and investment easier, simpler and less costly. This in turn increased trade in both goods and services between the two sides, contributing to jobs, growth and more consumer choice. Read more 

Foreign Investment Screening: new European framework to enter into force in April 2019

EU: The Council of the EU today approved a new framework to screen foreign direct investments coming into the European Union, thus concluding the legislative process on this proposal. Read more 

China’s foreign investment law to usher in new chapter of opening up

ECNS: With a new draft foreign investment law submitted to national lawmakers for a third reading, China is a big step closer to adopting a unified “fundamental law” that will better protect foreign investors and start a new chapter for its opening up. Read more 

Mercosur hopes to become main food supplier of ASEAN

Saigon Online: The South American trade bloc Mercosur hopes to become a main food supplier of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the next 50 years, according to President of the Mercosur-ASEAN Chamber of Commerce Rodolfo Caffaro. Read more 

Trade barriers stall Asean integration, say experts

The Nation: ASEAN integration is “not going anywhere” if trade regulations between Asean countries are not reformed, a recent forum heard. Read more 

In Blow to Trump, America’s Trade Deficit in Goods Hits Record $891 Billion

New York Times: America’s trade deficit in goods with the rest of the world rose to its highest level in history last year as the United States imported a record number of products, including from China, widening the deficit to $891.3 billion and delivering a setback to President Trump’s goal of narrowing that gap. Read more

Europe Trade Czar Warns of ‘Tariffs on Day 1’ After Hard Brexit

Bloomberg: The European Union’s top trade official warned that the U.K.’s impending exit from the bloc risks being “chaotic’’ with some of the EU’s other member states still not prepared for the practical realities of a no-deal Brexit that may be just three weeks away. Read more 

Kenya bank to open office in China to facilitate Sino-Africa trade

Business Report: Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), a regional financial institution, plans to open a representative office in China in order to lower cost of Sino-Africa trade, officials said Wednesday. Read more 

Brexit: Will it affect the Kenyan flower trade?

BBC: As Britain prepares to leave the European Union, workers in Kenya’s flower industry are closely monitoring developments. Read more

EU trade chief says no support in Europe for US trade deal that includes agriculture

Independent (Ireland): The European Union will not support a comprehensive trade deal with the United States that includes agriculture, the EU’s top trade negotiator said on Thursday, so she is working toward a narrower deal focused on industrial goods and automobiles. Read more 

A key measure of global trade just had its biggest tumble since 2015

Business Insider: Air freight has been weakening since mid-2018 due to “protectionist measures and trade tensions,” according to the International Air Transport Association director general and CEO. Read more 

Venezuelan Diaspora May Number 8 Million by Next Year, Group Says

Bloomberg: More than 3.4 million Venezuelans have already fled in the most severe migration crisis in the world after Syria, the study found. This diaspora will swell to 5.4 million by the end of this year, and to 7.5 million to 8.2 million by the end of 2020, according to the OAS. Read more 

Ports That Boomed on China May Never Be the Same as Trade Shifts

Bloomberg: An industry that saw dramatic growth in the decade before Donald Trump took office is now concerned his administration’s trade tussle with China, and the lack of a deal with Japan, will cut future growth short. Read more 

Big Brexit vote: What do I need to know?

BBC: On Tuesday MPs will pass their verdict on Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to take Britain out of the European Union on 29 March. Here is what you need to know about the vote. Read more 

China Export Slump Adds to Concerns Over Weakening Global Growth

Bloomberg: China’s exports slumped in February as seasonal factory shutdowns and continued uncertainty from the trade war combined to drag on shipments, adding to concerns over a weakening global economy. Read more

US to Suspend India’s Preferential Tariff Status

Times of India: The US decision to withdraw GSP benefits from India will not have a significant impact on Indian exports to US, says top official. Read more 

India, Australia locked in sugar trade dispute at WTO

Livemint: India has to enter into consultations and answer all the specific issues within 30 days after Australia told the World Trade Organization (WTO) that the minimum support prices (MSP) and export subsidies provided to sugarcane and sugar producers by the Narendra Modi government and several state governments violate global trade rules. Read more

US-Mexico-Canada trade deal is ‘crucial’ for future negotiations and needs to get approved: GOP congressman

CNBC: The trade deal between the United States, Canada and Mexico is crucial for future trade agreements and needs to be “put on the books,” Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., told CNBC on Thursday. Read more 

Peru Moves to Ratify Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement in March

Bloomberg Tax: Peru expects to ratify an 11-nation Asia-Pacific trade agreement in March, slightly more than a year after it was signed. Read more

WTO NEWS

Trade and gender training, new research and EIF initiative announced on Women’s Day at WTO

Director-General Roberto Azevêdo announced new efforts for women’s economic empowerment through trade, including a training module and new research on trade, gender and the environment, at an event at the WTO celebrating International Women’s Day on 8 March 2019. Read more 

“Gender issues are central to who we are,” says DG Azevêdo on Women’s Day

At an event at the WTO celebrating International Women’s Day on 8 March 2019, Director-General Roberto Azevêdo reviewed the organization’s current work in trade and gender, and talked about future work and initiatives. “Gender issues are central to who we are as an organization,” he said in opening the event. Read more

Brazil, Australia initiate WTO dispute complaints against Indian sugar subsidies

Brazil and Australia have requested WTO dispute consultations with India regarding domestic support measures and alleged export subsidies provided by India to producers of sugarcane and sugar. The requests were circulated to WTO members on 5 and 7 March. Read more 

Trade Policy Review: Ecuador

The third review of the trade policies and practices of Ecuador takes place on 5 and 7 March 2019. The basis for the review is a report by the WTO Secretariat and a report by the Government of Ecuador. Read more 

South Africa launches safeguard investigation on threaded fasteners of iron or steel

On 4 March 2019, South Africa notified the WTO’s Committee on Safeguards that it initiated on 1 March 2019 a safeguard investigation on threaded fasteners of iron or steel. Read more 

DG Azevêdo urges open and inclusive discussions on investment facilitation

Speaking at a meeting of the Structured Discussions On Investment Facilitation for Development on 4 March, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo welcomed the progress made in the talks. He said participants have proceeded in an open and transparent manner and urged them to keep working to inform and interact with the full membership. Read more 

NEW ON THE CTLD BLOG

In commemoration of International Women’s Day 2019, I co-authored an article with Dr. Jan Yves Remy, Deputy Director of the University of the West Indies’ Shridath Ramphal Centre for International Trade Law, Policy & Services, discussing the importance of accelerating gender mainstreaming in CARICOM trade policies in order to foster inclusive development. Have a read here: Accelerating Gender Mainstreaming in CARICOM Trade Policy

Also feel free to take a look at my other commentary this week: CARICOM Protocol on Contingent Rights: An important Step to CSME Consolidation

The Caribbean Trade & Development Digest is a weekly trade news digest published by the Caribbean Trade Law & Development Blog. Liked this issue? To read past issues, please visit here. To receive these mailings directly to your inbox, please follow our blog.

Caribbean Trade and Development Digest – February 24 – March 2, 2019

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development Digest for the week of February 24-March 2, 2019! We are happy to bring you the major trade and development headlines and analysis from across the Caribbean Region and the world from the past week.

THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS

The Government of Belize this week launched its first National Trade Policy 2019-2030. The full text of the policy may be viewed here.

Meanwhile, the US released its 2019 Trade Policy Agenda and 2018 Annual Report, in which it warned, inter alia, that “we will not allow the WTO Appellate Body and dispute settlement system to force the United States into a straitjacket of obligations to which we never agreed”.

CARICOM Heads of Government held their 30th Inter-sessional Meeting this week (February 26-27, 2019) in St. Kitts & Nevis. Agenda items included transportation, the CSME, security, blacklisting and the situation in Venezuela. The communique may be read here.

Two Caribbean representatives (one from Barbados and the other from Jamaica) are among the list of chairpersons for WTO bodies released by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on February 28, 2019.

REGIONAL 

Amnesty for Venezuelans in Trinidad & Tobago

St Lucia Online: Cabinet will meet on a policy position for illegal and legal Venezuelans in Trinidad and Tobago to be allowed an amnesty where they will be given ID cards and allowed to work in the country for one year. Read more 

CARICOM food import bill set to reach US$8-10 billion by 2020

Stabroek: For all the talk in the Caribbean regarding the relatively food secure status of many of the territories, the real picture is not one that generates unbridled optimism according to an article headlined “Five Overlooked Facts About Caribbean Food Security” authored by the Barbadian writer, Daphne Ewing-Chow, and published on February 20th in Forbes magazine. Read more 

White House to announce new sanctions on Cuba over Maduro support, source says

Fox News: The White House will soon impose major new sanctions against the Cuban government over its support for the regime of contested Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, a source familiar with President Trump’s national security team told Fox News. Read more 

CARICOM Says EU’s Shifting Tax Compliance Requirements Encroaching on CARICOM’s Sovereignty

Caribbean360: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has expressed strong disquiet that the constantly shifting parameters for good tax governance set out by the European Union (EU), are encroaching on the region’s sovereignty. Read more

CARICOM among four major markets targeted by Jamaica Ministry of Agriculture

Jamaica Observer: Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Audley Shaw, says CARICOM is among four major markets being targeted, under the Government’s thrust to attain higher levels of economic growth, through the linkage between agriculture and industry. Read more 

USTDA Supports Port Cybersecurity in the Dominican Republic

BN Americas: Last week, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency awarded a technical assistance grant to Fundación Ramon E. Mella (FRM), a maritime and port organization in the Dominican Republic. The grant will support the development of a national cybersecurity risk assessment, reporting, and management capability platform for port facilities across the Dominican Republic. Read more 

CARICOM Integration advances: All CSME Participating Member States now Signatories to Contingent Rights Protocol

CARICOM: Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, highlighted the gains made towards the regional integration movement, particularly through the signing of the Protocol of Contingent Rights by all CARICOM Member States, as one of the success stories coming out of the 30th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government, held at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort, Frigate Bay, from February 26-27. Read more 

CARICOM Discussions Highlight Concerns about Single Market and Economy

The Bahamas Chronicle: Efforts to strengthen the advancement of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy (CSME) will continue following recent developments that promote the free movement of people, goods, services and capital, and robust discussions slated for the (CARICOM) 30th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Read more 

CARICOM countries sign multilateral air services agreement

St Kitts & Nevis Observer: Several CARICOM Member States including Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, have signed the Multilateral Air Services Agreement (MASA), aimed at expanding the scope for airlines owned by CARICOM nations to provide air services throughout the Community. Read more 

Belize’s exports second lowest in 15 years

Breaking Belize News: Belize’s export revenues for the year 2018 amounted to just under $399 million, making it the second lowest amount earned from exports since the $380 million in 2003 according to the Statistical Institute of Belize’s Annual Export Reports 2003 to 2018. Read more 

INTERNATIONAL

Reforming the WTO: The Swiss View

Swissinfo.ch: The crisis-hit World Trade Organization (WTO) is going through difficult times. World leaders have committed to an overhaul of the Geneva-based institution, but it is unclear what the future holds. Swiss ambassador to the WTO Didier Chambovey link gives his view.  Read more

Australia set to seal Indonesia free trade agreement

Australia Financial Review: A long-anticipated free trade agreement with Indonesia will be signed in Jakarta on Monday, ending more than eight years of negotiations and offering new economic opportunities for industries including the country’s citrus farmers. Read more 

‘India should cut car tariffs for free trade agreement with EU’

MENA FM – Gulf Times: The proposed India-EU free trade agreement (FTA) cannot be finalised without an Indian commitment to lower import duties on cars and car parts since this is a politically sensitive issue in the European Union (EU), the EU Ambassador to India Tomasz Kozlowski said in New Delhi on Friday. Read more 

Mexico pushing labour reform, won’t ratify new NAFTA with U.S. tariffs in place

CBC: Mexico’s Congress will be asked to approve a major labour reform bill this spring as a necessary step to ratifying the new North American free trade pact later this autumn, say Mexican officials. Read more 

Trump said trade wars are ‘easy to win.’ A year later, here’s a timeline of what’s happened with China

CNBC: A year ago, President Donald Trump declared “trade wars are good and easy to win.” The White House has since moved toward its goal of revamping global trade deals, largely through a series of tariffs on — and talks with — China. Read more

U.S., China Are Close to Trade Deal That May End American Tariffs

Bloomberg: Most or all U.S. tariffs on China are likely to be lifted as part of a trade deal between the world’s two largest economies now in its final stages, said two people familiar with the discussions. Read more 

International business engagement key to future of trade, ICC Sec Gen

ICC: Speaking at a conference on current challenges to global trade in Lisbon this week, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO said business could not afford to sit on the sidelines when it came to global challenges, including reform of the multilateral trade system. Read more

Thailand to apply to join trans-Pacific FTA this month: official

The Mainichi: Thailand will apply this month to join a trans-Pacific free trade agreement, aiming to ensure it is not left behind by its competitors in the vibrant region, according to a senior Thai government official. Read more 

New Zealand’s Two-way trade with CPTPP countries nears $50 billion

Scoop New Zealand: New Zealand’s two-way trade with the combined Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) countries was $49.6 billion in the December 2018 year, Stats NZ said today. Read more 

New push for Asia-Pacific mega deal

Nikkei Asian Review: Ministers from Asia’s leading economies met here to renew their pursuit of a sweeping regional trade deal as an easing of tensions between the U.S. and China gives momentum to multilateral negotiations. Read more 

Michel Barnier casts doubt on whether UK will leave EU on March 29

ITV News: Michel Barnier has indicated he does not believe the UK will have enough time to approve Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement by March 29. Read more 

WTO: India insists on flexibilities in negotiations on fisheries subsidies

Hindu Business Line: India has insisted that larger developing countries should also be extended flexibilities at the fisheries negotiations of the World Trade Organisation that would allow them to retain some subsidy programmes important for small-scale fishers. Read more

The Commission reinforces procedural rights of parties in EU trade defence investigations

EU: The Commission has today updated the terms of reference for the Hearing Officer for trade defence proceedings, the independent watchdog that guarantees fairness and impartiality of EU anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases. Read more 

EU and New Zealand complete third round of trade negotiations

EU: Trade negotiators from New Zealand were in Brussels from 18-22 February 2019 for the third round of negotiations for a trade agreement with the EU. Read more 

U.S. says rejects WTO’s ‘straitjacket’ of trade obligations

Reuters: The Trump administration filed another salvo at the World Trade Organization on Friday, saying U.S. trade policy was not going to be dictated by the international body and defending its use of tariffs to pressure China and other trade partners. Read more

EU grants Ghana €40 million under Economic Partnership Agreement

Business Ghana: The government has signed a €40-million budget support agreement with the European Union (EU). The grant is to support the country’s national development framework, which focuses on jobs as a means to create prosperity and opportunity for all, thereby contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Read more 

WTO NEWS

WTO issues panel report regarding Chinese agricultural subsidies

WTO: On 28 February the WTO circulated the panel report in the case brought by the United States in “China — Domestic Support for Agricultural Producers” (DS511). Read more 

Summary of General Council meeting of 28 February 2019

WTO: Report by the Chairman of the Trade Negotiations Committee and Report by the Director-General. Read more 

DDG Wolff: More institutional cooperation is needed to address shortages of trade finance

WTO: Speaking to the Expert Group on Trade Finance at the WTO on 28 February, Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff called on the trade finance community to build on the significant progress in recent years in reducing trade finance gaps in developing countries. Read more 

DG Azevêdo: “The time is now to confront systemic challenges”

WTO: At a meeting of the full WTO membership today (27 February), Director-General Roberto Azevêdo commented on the emerging debate on ‘WTO reform’, acknowledging the variety of views held by members and arguing that the trading system must be able to evolve if it is to have a bright future. Read more 

Tunisia initiates new WTO dispute complaint against Morocco book duties

WTO: Tunisia has requested WTO dispute consultations with Morocco concerning final anti-dumping duties imposed by Morocco on imports of school exercise books from Tunisia. The request was circulated to WTO members on 27 February. Read more Read more 

UK set to become a party to the Government Procurement Agreement in its own right

WTO: Parties to the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) gave their final approval to the United Kingdom’s accession to the pact, in its own right, once it leaves the European Union. At a meeting of the WTO’s Committee on Government Procurement on 27 February, the GPA parties also agreed to grant Paraguay observer status. Read more 

EIF strategic plan seeks to help least developed countries gain more from trade

WTO: A new Strategic Plan launched by the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) seeks to deepen efforts to assist least developed countries (LDCs) benefit from trade. The goals of the new plan are to improve the trade environment for LDCs so there is inclusive and sustainable growth, and to increase their exports and access to international markets. Read more 

Members consider Thai request for panel to rule on Turkish air conditioner duties

WTO: At a meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) on 25 February, WTO members considered Thailand’s request for the establishment of a dispute panel to rule on duties levied by Turkey on imported Thai air conditioners. Members also renewed their discussions on resolving their differences over the appointment of Appellate Body members and heard from several members regarding their efforts to implement WTO rulings. Read more 

NEW ON THE CTLD BLOG

My latest commentary is on future CARICOM-US relations beyond the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI): Future CARICOM-US Trading Relations Beyond the Caribbean Basin Initiative. 

The Caribbean Trade & Development Digest is a weekly trade news digest published by the Caribbean Trade Law & Development Blog. Liked this issue? To read past issues, please visit here. To receive these mailings directly to your inbox, please follow our blog.

Caribbean Trade & Development Digest – February 17- 23, 2019

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development Digest for the week of February 17-23, 2019! We are happy to bring you the major trade and development headlines and analysis from across the Caribbean Region and the world from the past week.

THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has warned that “trade weakness is likely to extend into the first quarter of 2019”. This is based on its trade indicator whose reading is currently the weakest since March 2010. Read more here.

UNCTAD has released an article taking stock of the current level of ratification, implementation notifications, and transparency obligations of the Trade Facilitation Agreement and may be viewed here.

20190223_193111.jpgRegionally, Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, presented a lecture in Barbados entitled “The Role of UNCTAD in Trade and Development in the Caribbean”. The lecture was a collaboration between the Shridath Ramphal Centre for International Trade Law, Policy and Services of the University of the West Indies’ Cave Hill Campus and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados. The Secretary General touched, inter alia, on the current challenges facing the multilateral system, challenges facing small States and the current ACP-EU negotiations.

 

REGIONAL

Bahamas Must Benefit In WTO Sector Openings

Tribune242: The Bahamas will only open up industries to foreign competitors under the WTO if doing so generates “real economic opportunities” for this nation, its chief negotiator asserted yesterday. Read more

Trade arrangements with EU to remain in place for now

Barbados Today: As the date for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU), commonly referred to as Brexit, draws nearer, Barbados and other Commonwealth countries have been reassured that current trading arrangements with the EU will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Read more

Bahamas Urged To Target Fatf Escape

Tribune 242: The Bahamas has been urged to “prioritise” escaping the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) monitoring list as all its recent woes “flow” from this. Read more 

Regional Transportation, CSME among matters for CARICOM Heads’ attention

CARICOM Today: Enhancing regional air and maritime transportation and further advancing the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) are among matters for deliberation when CARICOM Heads of Government hold their 30th Inter-Sessional Meeting in Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis, 26-27 February. Read more

Trade License Reform Coming in 2020 in Belize

Breaking Belize News: Businesses countrywide can look forward to more predictability with regards to paying their trade licenses thanks to a new regime coming next year, according to Belize City Mayor Bernard Wagner. Read more 

INTERNATIONAL

New AU trade observatory to support implementation of AfCFTA

The New Times: The African Union Commission (AUC), the European Commission (EU), and the International Trade Centre have set up the ‘African Union Trade Observatory’ expected to accelerate the implementation of one of the continent’s flagship projects – the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Read more 

Eswatini bids to host AfCFTA secretariat

African Daily Voice: The Kingdom of Eswatini government has made a bid to host the upcoming Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat. Read more 

Pacific Trade Agreement Triggers IP Overhaul in Vietnam

Bloomberg: The Pacific trade pact is expected to give Vietnam a complete intellectual property makeover, covering everything from fast-food chains to patented inventions, even those owned by U.S. firms. Read more 

India, EMs make case for special treatment at WTO

Livemint: India, along with China, South Africa and Venezuela, has insisted on continuing with the special and differential (S&D) treatment for developing countries at the World Trade Organization (WTO), countering efforts of the US, which is seeking equal treatment for all members at the multilateral trade body. Read more

India refuses to join e-commerce talks at WTO, says rules to hurt country

Business Standard: The government believes the push for initiating negotiations on substantive obligations related to e-commerce will oblige India to permanently accept the current moratorium on imposing customs duties. Read more 

Half of Canadian executives say old NAFTA better for our economy than USMCA

Financial Post: Half the executives surveyed for the inaugural FP500/Forum Research Business Barometer poll say they think the original North American Free Trade Agreement was better for the Canadian economy. Read more

UK and US agree post-Brexit derivatives trading deal

The Guardian: In a joint announcement heralded as a sign of the special relationship between the UK and the US, the two countries said they would take every step to ensure the continued trading of derivatives across the Atlantic under every Brexit eventuality. Read more

Brexit: UK-US agree to preserve trading arrangements

BBC: The UK has struck a deal with the US to preserve £12.8bn of trade after Brexit.The mutual recognition agreement replicates the current deal between the EU and US on technical standards for exported goods. Read more 

 

WTO NEWS

WTO trade indicator points to slower trade growth into first quarter of 2019

WTO: Trade weakness is likely to extend into the first quarter of 2019, according to the WTO’s latest World Trade Outlook Indicator (WTOI) released on 19 February. The simultaneous decline of several trade-related indicators should put policy makers on guard for a sharper slowdown should the current trade tensions remain unresolved. Read more 

The Caribbean Trade & Development Digest is a weekly trade news digest published by the Caribbean Trade Law & Development Blog. Liked this issue? To read past issues, please visit here. To receive these mailings directly to your inbox, please follow our blog.

Caribbean Trade & Development Digest – February 10-16, 2019

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development Digest for the week of February 10-16, 2019! We are happy to bring you the major trade and development headlines and analysis from across the Caribbean Region and the world from the past week.

THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS

Nine countries, including the US, Russia and the EU, approved an international agreement banning commercial vessels from fishing in the Arctic Sea for sixteen years in an effort to preserve the environment of the Arctic Sea.

The US-China trade talks continued this week. Meanwhile, US President Trump may possibly be considering an extension to the 90-day truce agreed by the two behemoths in December 2018, which is supposed to end March 1.

With Brexit only a month or so away,  UK Prime Minister Theresa May suffered yet another defeat in parliament when MPs voted 303 to 258 against endorsing her government’s Brexit negotiating strategy. While not binding, it is a further sign of declining confidence in the May Government’s handling of Brexit.

Turning regionally, IMF Deputy Managing Director Tao Zhang gave a speech in Grenada entitled “Building Resilience to Natural Disasters and Climate Change in Grenada and the Caribbean”. Have a read here.

REGIONAL

T&T Ministry working with USDA to stop inferior chicken imports

LoopTT: Government is now working with the US Department of Agriculture to stop the importation old, inferior chicken into Trinidad and Tobago, after reports that old, substandard chicken was being sold locally.  Read more 

Guyana: No foreign exchange shortage but fewer US notes in circulation

Demerara Waves: The Governor of the Bank of Guyana, Dr. Gobin Ganga, has assured that there is no shortage of foreign currency to transact international business such as wire transfers, but there are fewer United States (US) notes circulating at cambios and commercial banks partly because the increasing number of foreign workers are buying up the bills. Read more

Republic of China (Taiwan) donates to trade development in Belize

LoveFM: The Republic of China (Taiwan) is one of the country’s staunch allies that continues to contribute to Belize’s development. Their latest contribution comes in the form of sixty thousand US dollars earmarked for trade development. Read more 

BNSI proposes introduction of front-of-pack labelling standard 

Barbados Advocate: The Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI) hosted a national consultation recently to get feedback from consumers on a new, compulsory standard they sought to introduce. Fabian Scott, Chief Technical Officer at the BNSI, explained that they were seeking to update the current requirements for the food labelling standard. Read more 

Jamaica Government to Leverage New Opportunities in Partner Countries to Support Trade

JIS: The Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, will work assiduously to leverage new opportunities in both traditional and non-traditional partner countries to support trade, investment and technical cooperation pursuits. Read more 

Caribbean tourism on the upswing

CTO: The Caribbean tourism sector is projected to record strong growth in 2019 on the heels of a stronger-than-expected performance last year. Read more 

Major oil find excites southern Caribbean

Amsterdam News: U.S. supermajor ExxonMobil announced two major oil finds offshore Guyana in the past week, and the discovery has raised the hopes for similar massive oil discoveries in two of its neighbors that incidentally already produce oil and gas. Read more 

Spotlight on Statistics Strategy – PM Mitchell to address High Level Forum in Grenada next week

CARICOM: A High Level Advocacy Forum on Statistics will be held next week as the Region continues to place more emphasis on the production and use of quality statistics. Read more

Youth Bridge Gap Between Climate Change, Climate Awareness in Guyana

CARICOM: A group of youngsters in the Caribbean who promote environmental protection in the region is on a drive to empower other youth to address some of the big issues facing their generation. Read more 

Guyanese American Chamber of Commerce Recommends Extension of CBERA

South Florida Morning News: The Guyanese American Chamber of Commerce (GCAA) wishes to draw to the attention of the  business community in the United States and Guyana the fact that the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) will expire on September 30, 2020 and to urge the private sector at home and in the US, as well as the Government of Guyana in collaboration with its CARICOM partners to embark on efforts to ensure that this Act is extended by the US Congress for at least another 10 years. Read more

Guyana denies shipping ‘bad’ rice to Jamaica

TV6 T&T: Guyana says it has not shipped any rice to Jamaica under the “Cinderella” brand for the year after media reports in Kingston said that 70 metric tonnes of White Cinderella rice, had been confiscated by Jamaican authorities. Read more

Jamaica confiscates 70 tonnes of Guyanese rice

Demerara Waves: The Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation Division (FSPID), in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF) says it has confiscated 70 metric tonnes (1,575 bags) of White Cinderella rice from Guyana due to high microbial content. Read more

INTERNATIONAL

US, Canada accuse India of underreporting support for lentils, chickpeas; approach WTO 

Economic Times: The United States and Canada have moved the World Trade Organization (WTO) accusing India of underreporting its market price support for five pulses. Read more 

Tariffs Take Toll On American Whisky Exports

Jamaica Gleaner: Retaliatory tariffs caused a sharp downturn in American whisky exports in the last half of 2018 as distillers started feeling the pain from global trade disputes, an industry trade group said Tuesday. Read more 

German discounters’ banana tactics irk Ecuador

Deutsche Welle: Ecuador is the world’s largest exporter of bananas. The fruit plays just as big a role as oil for the country’s economy and its fight against poverty. Some German discounters seem to care little about that. Read more 

Indian Commerce ministry to notify WTO regarding revoking MFN status to Pakistan

Economic Times: The commerce ministry would soon notify to the World Trade Organization (WTO) its decision to revoke the most-favoured nation (MFN) status to Pakistan on security grounds, an official said Friday. Read more 

Record EU Trade Surplus With U.S. Could Put Trump Truce at Risk

Bloomberg: The European Union’s trade surplus with the the U.S. jumped 17 percent last year to the highest on record, potentially putting at risk ongoing negotiations just as President Donald Trump is gearing up to decide whether to hit the 28-nation bloc with a new set of tariffs. Read more

European Commission welcomes European Parliament’s support for investment screening framework

EU: Following today’s vote, the EU is one step closer to putting in place a Europe-wide framework for screening foreign direct investment. Read more 

Commission puts in place duties on subsidised biodiesel from Argentina

EU: Today, the Commission imposed definitive anti-subsidy measures on imports of biodiesel from Argentina. In parallel, the Commission adopted a decision accepting sustainable price commitments (known as undertakings) from eight Argentine producers and the Argentinian Chamber of Biofuels (CARBIO) that will exempt the exporting producers from the duties within an agreed import limit. Read more 

Israel, Iran to join Russian-led free trade agreement

JNS: However, the two nations will sign their own free-trade accord with the bloc, meaning the adversaries could not trade freely with one another. Read more 

U.S. drafts WTO reform to halt handouts for big and rich states

Reuters: The United States proposed a reform of the World Trade Organization on Friday that would slash the number of countries that are eligible for “special and differential treatment”, a plan likely to be resisted by China, India and other countries. Read more 

New treaty bans commercial fishing in the Arctic for 16 years

Euractiv: The European Union and nine other countries, including the US and Russia, approved an international agreement on Thursday (14 February) that will prohibit commercial vessels from fishing in the Arctic in order to preserve the region’s fragile ecosystem. Read more 

The EU’s Dirty Money Blacklist: North Korea, Syria, and… Puerto Rico?

Foreign Policy: The U.S. Treasury Department scolded the European Union for including U.S. territories on a list of dirty money hotspots around the world, telling American banks to ignore EU directives in an unusual technocratic spat that highlights continued friction between Washington and Brussels. Read more 

New Caledonia and Vanuatu sign free trade agreement

Radio New Zealand: The leaders of New Caledonia and Vanuatu have signed an agreement to free up trade for a range of products. It will apply to about 50 products, with Vanuatu being able to export agricultural products including coffee without duties or quantity restrictions. Read more 

No-deal Brexit: UK exporters risk being locked out of world’s harbours

The Guardian: British exporters sending goods to far-flung destinations in the coming days risk being locked out of harbours around the world as a no-deal Brexit looms, business leaders have warned. Read more 

US-China trade talks break up without a deal

BBC: Trade talks between the US and China have broken up without a deal, with the US warning that “very difficult issues” remain unresolved. The talks in China this week were aimed at securing a new deal before further US tariffs are imposed on 1 March. Read more

Australia-Indonesia free trade agreement to be signed before election

Australian Financial Review: The on again, off again free trade deal between Australia and Indonesia has been salvaged after both governments said it would be signed in March, before both nations hold their federal elections. Read more 

EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement Signed

ASEAN Briefing: On February 13, 2019, the European Parliament approved the EUSFTA by a majority vote. The stage is now set for the final ratification and entry into force of the trade pact between the two jurisdictions. Read more 

USMCA Coalition Formed during 116th Congress 

Global Trade Magazine: In an effort to support fastidious implementation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a group consisting of trade associations, businesses, and other advocacy groups joined forces to create what is now known as the “Pass USMCA Coalition.” Read more

Canada won’t ratify new NAFTA until steel and aluminum tariffs lifted, warns key U.S. Senator

Financial Post: Canada and Mexico won’t consider ratifying the revised North American Free Trade Agreement unless the United States lifts its tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley said Tuesday. Read more

WTO’s Potential Game-Changer: Global E-Commerce Rules? – Analysis

Eurasia Review: The recently launched WTO negotiations on e-commerce seeks to establish a new rulebook for e-commerce trade, and could be a potential game-changer for the global economy. Read more

Traditional Knowledge, Cheaper Drugs on India’s Agenda for the WTO

The Economic Times: India wants the World Trade Organization (WTO) to address issues related to exploitation of traditional knowledge, food security and access to affordable medicine going ahead. Read more 

WTO NEWS

DG Azevêdo in Mozambique: the trading system must support LDCs

WTO: Director-General Roberto Azevêdo was in Maputo, Mozambique, today (14 February), where he met President Filipe Nyusi. They discussed how to strengthen global trade cooperation for the future, through the WTO, so it can keep supporting the integration of Mozambique and other least developed countries (LDCs) into the global economy. Read more

Members discuss progress and assistance on Trade Facilitation Agreement’s 2nd year

WTO: WTO members took stock of progress in implementing the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) at the 12-13 February meeting of the Committee on Trade Facilitation a week before the second anniversary of the Agreement’s entry into force. Members called for the timely fulfilment of commitments and discussed efforts to help each other carry out the Agreement. Read more

CLTD BLOG NEWS

Have a read of my latest article with Dr. Jan Yves Remy, Deputy Director of the University of the West Indies’ Shridath Ramphal Centre for International Trade Law, Policy & Services entitled “Can CARICOM Countries Afford to Miss the WTO E-Commerce Train”? published here.

The Caribbean Trade & Development Digest is a weekly trade news digest published by the Caribbean Trade Law & Development Blog. Liked this issue? To read past issues, please visit here. To receive these mailings directly to your inbox, please follow our blog.

Caribbean Trade & Development Digest – February 3-9, 2019

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development Digest for the week of February 3-9, 2019! We are happy to bring you the major trade and development headlines and analysis from across the Caribbean Region and the world from the past week. We apologise for the delay in the publication of this edition.

THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS

A bi-partisan bill has been introduced in the US House of Representatives to reauthorize the US Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) until 2030.

Trade was one of themes touched on by US President Donald J. Trump in his State of the Union Address. See write up here.

UNCTAD identified the winners and losers from the US-China trade tensions in a recently released report entitled The Trade Wars: The Pain and the Gain which may be viewed here.

REGIONAL

Bipartisan Caribbean Trade Bill introduced in US congress

CaribbeanNewsNow: US Reps. Terri Sewell (D-AL) and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) have introduced legislation to reauthorize the US Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) until 2030. Since 2000, CBTPA has allowed for the duty- and quota-free import of goods made with US yarns, fabrics and threads from Caribbean countries. Read more 

Efforts take shape to reduce OECS food import bill

St. Lucia News Online: Spurring domestic agricultural production to meet local and international demand while reducing the region’s food import bill is the focus of a powerful new data tool recently presented to agricultural decision-makers at the OECS Commission. Read more 

Commercial Court ‘could boost’ Barbados economy

Barbados Today: The minister responsible for business is counting on the planned commercial law court to transform the way business is done and boost the flagging economy. Read more 

Trinidad: PM wants technology to play greater role in energy sector; offers help to Caribbean countries

St Lucia News Online: The Trinidad and Tobago government Monday said it is prepared to assist its fellow Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries develop their hydrocarbon sector as it placed much emphasis on the importance of technology in developing its own industry. Read more 

Marshall and Brown launches Jamaican gourmet line in UK

Jamaica Observer: A new premium Jamaican product line, Marshall & Brown, has been launched in the United Kingdom (UK) to fill a gap in the market for authentic Jamaican food and cooking ingredients.  Read more 

High demand for Jamaican black castor oil in United States

Jamaica Observer: A new study on the local castor oil industry is showing significant potential for Jamaican black castor oil in the United States. The Complete Caribbean study indicates that the US market for the product stands at about US$28 million. Read more 

CDB President calls for resilience, transformation to drive Regional economic growth

CARICOM Today: Although grappling with challenges related to climate change; wide fiscal deficits and high public debt; as well as high unemployment, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) today projected that the Region’s economy is expected to grow by 2% in 2019. Read more 

Trinidadians seeking business opportunities in Jamaica

CARICOM Today:A business delegation from Trinidad and Tobago is in the island for a four-day trade mission from February 5 to 8. The team, being hosted by the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, represents 10 companies involved in various sectors. These are construction, architectural services, food and beverage, agro-chemical, consumer and household products, software development, marketing and advertising. Read more 

Consultations on CARICOM Gender Policy

CARICOM Today: The first of 15 national consultations on a draft Regional Gender Equality Strategy for CARICOM opened on Thursday, in St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda. Read more 

INTERNATIONAL

Japan seeking big concessions from Britain in trade talks

The Guardian: Japan is seeking tougher concessions from Britain in trade talks than it secured from the EU, while negotiations between London and Tokyo are also being slowed by the looming risk of no-deal. Read more 

US-China trade war could slash almost 1 million jobs from the US economy, new study says

South China Morning Post: Research from the Washington-based consultancy Trade Partnership Worldwide, paid for by the pro-free trade lobbying group Tariffs Hurt the Heartlands, ominously predicts that more than 2 million American jobs could be on the line should US President Donald Trump push ahead with his threat of a 25 per cent tariff on all Chinese exports. Read more

WTO awards South Korea $85 million against U.S. over washing machine tariffs

Reuters: South Korea can impose annual trade sanctions of $84.81 million on the United States after challenging U.S. anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs on washing machines, a World Trade Organization arbitration panel ruled on Friday. Read more

India, Peru to hold next round of free-trade agreement talks in March in Lima

ET Now: India and Peru will hold the next round of negotiations for a proposed free-trade agreement (FTA) in the South American nation next month, a move aimed at boosting two-way commerce between the countries, an official said.  Read more 

Uruguay Betting On Exports Of Medical Marijuana

Jamaica Gleaner: The country got a head start on competitors in December 2013 when it became the first in the world to regulate the cannabis market from growing to purchase, a move that has brought a wave of investment. Read more 

No-deal Brexit: What does the WTO rules option actually mean and how would it work?

iNews: If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, which is still the default option if one cannot be agreed, it would automatically fall back to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. But what would this actually mean? Read more

Brexit: May says she can get deal through with binding changes

BBC: Theresa May has told EU leaders she can get the Brexit deal through Parliament if they give her legally-binding changes to it. Read more 

African Free Trade Zone deal may come into force in 2 months: Egypt’s FM

Egypt Today: The agreement of the African Continental Free trade Area (AfCFTA) for 55 member states of the African Union may come into force within six months, said Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on the sidelines of the 32nd session of the African Union that will kick off on Sunday in Addis Ababa. Read more

Turkey, US ‘will reach $75 bln trade target with free trade agreement’

Hurriyet: Trade volume between Turkey and the United States may reach $75 billion through a free trade agreement and the removal of regulations and tariffs, the chairman of the American-Turkish Council has said, stressing that the bilateral potential has never been realized. Read more

A modernized WTO is far better than no WTO at all

The Hill: Last month, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, leading members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) met to discuss how to improve the organization. At the same time, more than 70 governments agreed to commence WTO negotiations on trade-related aspects of electronic commerce. Read more

China says US report on its WTO compliance lacks factual basis

CNBC: China opposes a report by the U.S. Trade Representative’s office on its World Trade Organization (WTO) compliance, the commerce ministry said, saying it is inconsistent with the facts. Read more

WTO NEWS

Arbitrator issues decision in dispute between Korea and US on large residential washers

WTO: On 8 February 2019, a WTO arbitrator issued a decision on the level of trade suspension Korea may request in its dispute with the United States regarding US anti-dumping and countervailing duty measures on large residential washers from Korea (DS464). Read more 

The Caribbean Trade & Development Digest is a weekly trade news digest published by the Caribbean Trade Law & Development Blog. Liked this issue? To read past issues, please visit here. To receive these mailings directly to your inbox, please follow our blog.

Caribbean Trade & Development Digest – January 27 – February 2, 2019

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development Digest for the week of January 27 – February 2, 2019! We are happy to bring you the major trade and development headlines and analysis from across the Caribbean Region and the world from the past week.

THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS

On the Brexit front, UK Prime Minister Theresa May won support from British MPs for a renegotiation of the Draft Withdrawal Agreement, in particular the removal of the ‘Irish Backstop’, the controversial ‘insurance policy’ to avoid a hard border between the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland in the event that the UK and EU are unable to reach a trade deal within the transition period.

However, the EU, including the Republic of Ireland, remains adamant that the current draft Withdrawal Agreement is not up for renegotiation and that the backstop cannot be removed. The UK is due to leave the EU on March 29, 2019.

Another major trade policy development is that the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement has come into force. Additionally, the latest round of trade talks between the US and China have been hailed as a success.

Regionally, some CARICOM leaders initiated a visit to the United Nations (UN) on the situation in Venezuela.

REGIONAL

$10m Investor: We Can Defeat WTO ‘Concerns’

The Bahamas Tribune: A $10m poultry farming investor yesterday expressed confidence that The Bahamas could follow Jamaica’s self-sufficiency lead despite its “concerns” over WTO’s potential impact. Read more 

JMEA head cites one-sided trading conditions affecting Jamaica

LoopJamaica: President of the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters’ A’ssociation (JMEA), Metry Seaga, has described the favourable trade conditions that Jamaica extends to its overseas trading partners as being one-sided, saying that too often the same treatment is not returned to the country’s manufacturers and exporters. Read more 

Port Operator KFTL Boasts Record Container Moves In A Day

Jamaica Gleaner: Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited, KFTL, a subsidiary of the French-based shipping company CMA CGM, said that on January 24 it recorded the best performance ever in the history of the port of Kingston in terms of container moves. Read more 

Statistical Institute of Belize: Belizeans paid an average of 30 cents more for goods and services in 2018

Breaking Belize News: For the year 2018, Belizeans paid an average of 30 cents more for goods and services, while for the month of December specifically, consumer prices were about 10 cents less when compared to the year before. Read more 

Statement on second day of visit to the UN by Delegation of CARICOM Member States

CARICOM: On Tuesday, 30 January 2019, the delegation of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) comprising Dr the Hon. Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of S.Kitts and Nevis (Chairman of CARICOM) and Dr the Hon. Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, the Hon. Peter David, Foreign Minister of Grenada, H.E. Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General, as well as the Permanent Representatives of these countries continued its engagements at the United Nations and at the Trinidad and Tobago Permanent Mission in New York on the situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its implications for the Community. Read more 

Belize exports first shipment of crude soybean oil to Jamaica

LoveFM: Belize has made its first shipment of crude soybean oil to Jamaica. The five containers were exported last week and were supplied by Bel-Car Exports and Imports located in Spanish Lookout, Cayo District and Northern Grains Cooperative located in Blue Creek, Orange Walk District. Read more 

CARICOM Leaders To Meet With UN Secretary General On Venezuela

Jamaica Gleaner: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders are to meet with the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Monday to discuss the ongoing political situation in Venezuela where the government of President Nicolas Maduro is under international pressure to step down. Read more 

Barbados hosting EU funded meetings

TV6: Barbados is hosting a two-day consultation aimed at continuing the development of a framework for an effective platform for structured and continuous dialogue between the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) and French Caribbean Outermost Regions (FCORs) and British and Dutch Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs). Read moreRead more

WTO lacks clout on dispute rulings

Bahamas Tribune: The failure to enforce its rulings on trade disputes is among the “biggest criticisms” that can be levelled against the World Trade Organisation (WTO), a Bahamian arbitrator has charged. Read more 

INTERNATIONAL

1-in-3 UK firms have relocation plans due to Brexit

Euractiv: Brexit has prompted almost a third of British companies to move some operations abroad or at least consider it, a survey from an employers group showed on Friday (1 February). Read more 

UAE initiates WTO proceedings against Qatar

Gulf News: The UAE Government announced on Tuesday that it has initiated World Trade Organisation, WTO, dispute-settlement proceedings against Qatar following its ban of the sale of UAE products in Qatari markets. Read more 

China, U.S. make important progress in trade talks, paving way for further consultations

Xinhua: Negotiators from China and the United States have made important progress in the latest round of high-level talks to resolve their economic and trade frictions, laying foundation for further consultations, according to the visiting Chinese delegation. Read more 

Is WTO Article 24 the antidote to a No Deal Brexit? Euronews Answers

Euronews: Nigel Farage, one of the UK’s leading proponents of a ‘hard Brexit’ told Euronews yesterday that the negative impacts of Britain leaving the EU without a deal could be eliminated by the use of “Article 24 of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)”. Read more 

Trump sends Congress list of planned USMCA trade policy changes

Washington Examiner: The Trump administration formally gave Congress a list of its proposed changes to trade policy, requests that will put the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade into effect. Read more 

WTO chief is in denial over climate impact of trade 

Climate Change News: When the head of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) says trade does not impact the environment, we should all be worried. Read more 

US, China may cross swords on e-commerce at WTO

VoA: China has given up its long-held resistance to the World Trade Organization’s push for global standards for the $27 trillion e-commerce market. Some analysts say this is a direct result of the trade war with the United States, which is forcing China to seek wider cooperation with trading countries. Read more

Sturgeon to visit US and Canada for talks on trade links

BBC: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is to visit the US and Canada next week. The trip is planned in a bid to build stronger trade links between Scotland and North America. Read more

Japan-EU free trade deal takes effect

NHK: A comprehensive free trade deal between Japan and the European Union has come into force. The pact will eventually remove tariffs on more than 90 percent of imports from both sides and liberalize rules in a broad spectrum of fields. Read more

Brexit: MPs back May’s bid to change deal

BBC: MPs have backed seeking “alternative arrangements” to replace the Irish backstop in Theresa May’s Brexit plan. Read more 

Safeguards in free trade agreements: Council adopts horizontal framework for bilateral measures

EU: The EU will soon have in place an overall framework for ensuring consistency of safeguard measures included in free trade agreements. The Council today adopted a regulation streamlining the inclusion of safeguard measures in trade agreements so that they are applied effectively and consistently across the board.  Read more

Iraq, Jordan sign free trade agreement

Middle East Monitor: Jordan has reached a new agreement on free trade with Iraq, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister, Rajai Muasher, said yesterday. Read more 

UK cannot simply trade on WTO terms after no-deal Brexit, say experts

The Guardian: The UK will be unable to have frictionless, tariff-free trade under World Trade Organization rules for up to seven years in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to two leading European Union law specialists. Read more 

WTO Launches Investigation Into Trump’s China Tariffs, Official Says

Bloomberg: The World Trade Organization launched an investigation into President Donald Trump’s tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods, ratcheting up tensions as the two nations are set to begin a new round of trade talks, according to an official with knowledge of the probe. Read more 

EU to fight US tariffs on Spanish olives at WTO

Deutsche Welle: The European Comission will back Spain’s fight to defend its olive exporters, who were hit by Donald Trump’s tariffs in June 2018. Madrid considers the punitive measure to be “an evident prejudice” on olive producers. Read more 

China accuses US of a ‘blatant breach’ of trade policy in WTO meeting

CNBC: Chinese representatives met with the World Trade Organization on Monday to begin the process of legally challenging United States tariffs on China’s exports, Reuters reported, citing a transcript of the meeting’s discussion. Read more 

WTO NEWS

United Arab Emirates requests consultations with Qatar on goods restrictions

WTO: The United Arab Emirates has requested WTO dispute consultations with Qatar regarding certain measures restricting the import, distribution and sale of goods in Qatar from the UAE (DS576). The request was circulated to WTO members on 31 January. Read more

European Union initiates WTO dispute proceedings against US olive duties

WTO: The European Union has requested WTO dispute consultations with the United States concerning US anti-dumping and countervailing duties imposed on imported ripe olives from Spain. The request was circulated to WTO members on 31 January. Read more 

Panels established to rule on US, Turkish tariff measures

WTO: At a meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) on 28 January, WTO members agreed to establish a dispute panel to rule on additional duties imposed by the United States on certain imports from China. Members also agreed to establish a panel to rule on additional duties levied by Turkey on certain imports from the United States. Read more 

The Caribbean Trade & Development Digest is a weekly trade news digest published by the Caribbean Trade Law & Development Blog. Liked this issue? To read past issues, please visit here. To receive these mailings directly to your inbox, please follow our blog.

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