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Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest – April 28 – May 4, 2019

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the week of April 28-May 4, 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

This week, the CARICOM Council on Trade and Economic Development (COTED) held its 48th meeting, while the 19th Spe­cial Meet­ing of the CARI­COM Heads of Gov­ern­ment on Se­cu­ri­ty took place in Trinidad later in the week. On May 2, the US began enforcing Title III of the Helms-Burton Act of 1996 allowing US investors to bring claims against those found to be trafficking property confiscated by the Cuban government.

The EU has launched a public consultation as part of its evaluation exercise of the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement. The EU also released their proposal on WTO rules for ecommerce.  Meanwhile, the WTO announced a new fund to assist Least Developed Country members’ participation in fisheries subsidies talks.


REGIONAL NEWS

Cuba Denounces Intensification of US Blockade before WTO

Prensa Latina: Cuba denounced in Geneva before the World Trade Organization (WTO) the intensification of the United States, following the activation of Title III of the Helms Burton Law, diplomatic sources say. Read more 

Carnival hit with Helms-Burton lawsuit for using Havana terminal

Travel Weekly: A company that owned the cruise terminal in Havana prior to its 1960 confiscation by the Castro government has filed suit seeking damages from Carnival Corp. Read more 

Trust Deficit Hurting Agricultural Exports

Jamaica Gleaner: Erasing the trust deficit between local farmers and the exporters who peddle their produce to the Jamaican diaspora in North America and the United Kingdom must be addressed as a matter of priority. Read more

St. Vincent and the Grenadines hit by cattle shortage

St Lucia News Online: Local butchers are scheduled to meet with Saboto Caesar, the minister of agriculture, on Monday, amidst claims that there is a cattle shortage in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Richard Gibson, owner of Midway Butchers, told SEARCHLIGHT this week that this country was experiencing a cattle shortage as a result of exports to Grenada. Read more 

No need for alarm as regional labelling standards

Jamaica Observer: A regional standard for the labelling of pre-packaged foods is currently being revised, and is being led by the Caricom Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) – the regional standards development body. Read more 

Take care of matters that are important to people – COTED Chair, CARICOM SG

CARICOM: Barbados Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the Hon. Sandra Husbands, wants Trade Ministers to take action on matters that will allow the people of the Region to actively feel the benefit of the CSME. Read more

Regional rum industry looking to increase share of global market

Nation News: CARICOM Trade Ministers approved a range of recommendations aimed at positioning the region’s rum industry to better take advantage of the global market. Read more 

CARICOM urges US to maintain duty-free market access

Dominica News Online: CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has expressed CARICOM’s interest in the renewal of legislation for the extension of the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) and the WTO waiver beyond December 2019 to allow continued duty-free access to the US market. Read more 

Jamaica PM provides details of meeting with US president 

JIS: Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the recent meeting with President of the United States of America (USA), Donald Trump; and several Caribbean leaders provided a direct opportunity for the strengthening of bilateral and regional relationships. Read more 

Trade Ministers support international competitiveness for regional rum industry

Barbados Advocate: CARICOM Trade Ministers who met in Guyana this week, on April 29, approved a range of recommendations aimed at positioning the region’s rum industry to better take advantage of the global market. Read more 

Implementation of CSME cannot be a shifting target- CARICOM Secretary-General warns COTED

Kaieteur News: CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has called for consistent efforts of Regional Heads for the implementation of recommendations, towards the achieving goals set out under the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). Read more 

Customs and Excise Department holds Asycuda sensitization workshop

Searchlight: Direct trader input, faster clearance time, and increase in revenue collection are just some of the benefits of using ASYCUDA software. That’s the word from ASYCUDA Coordinator at the Customs and Excise Department, Samantha Robinson. Read more

Bim in ‘new’ world battle, says Husbands

Barbados Today: Barbados could soon find itself in another compliance battle with an international body over its trade and taxation practices, Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Trade Sandra Husbands told Parliament today. Read more

Rowley: Robust regional security is essential

Guardian (T&T): Fol­low­ing are the open­ing re­marks de­liv­ered by Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley at the 19th Spe­cial Meet­ing of the CARI­COM Heads of Gov­ern­ment on Se­cu­ri­ty cur­rent­ly tak­ing place in Port-of-Spain. Read more 


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Does China really control Africa’s destiny?

Devex: For decades, development partners from industrialized nations have relied on aid and foreign direct investment to finance infrastructure developments, stimulate economic growth, and build technical capacity. Countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany have, for many years, led the way in providing international support to developing economies. Read more 

AU Commission prepares for single market launch in July

The East African: The African Continental Free Trade Area will enter into force during the next African Union Summit slated for Niamey, Niger, in July. Read more 

African countries urged to discuss modalities as AfCFTA edges closer to effect

Xinhua: The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on Saturday urged African countries and pan-African institutions to prepare modalities as the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) edges closer to entry into force. Read more 

Malaysia: ASEAN’s e-commerce gateway to China

The ASEAN Post: As we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution and practically everything is moving online, the importance of e-commerce is heightened now more than ever before. E-commerce, in fact, is quickly becoming the primary mode of business and trade around the world – ASEAN included.  Read more 

UN Chief to Address WTO General Council next week

Business Standard: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is to make a historic address to the General Council of the World Trade Organization (WTO) next week, the UN said here on Friday. Read more 

Abe vows to seek WTO reforms at G20 Osaka summit

NHK: Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he will raise the issue of reforming the World Trade Organization at the Group of 20 nations summit in Osaka in June. Read more 

EU-Brazil trade should be more sustainable, 600 scientists say

Euractiv: In an open letter, 600 European scientists and 300 indigenous groups are calling for the EU to insist on the respect for environmental and human rights standards in its current trade negotiations with Brazil. EURACTIV Germany reports. Read more 

EU vows to respond to US sanctions to protect companies in Cuba

Euractiv: The European Union is ready to counter potential US sanctions against European companies in Cuba, the bloc’s top diplomat said on Thursday (2 May), following Washington’s reactivation of parts of the legislation that would allow US citizens to file lawsuits against investors in the island. Read more 

Ecommerce on agenda at WTO Delhi meet

Economic Times: E-commerce negotiations at the multilateral level will be a key area of talks at the informal World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial meeting which will take place in Delhi later this month. Read more 

Pence: tariffs part of enforcement in a US-China trade deal

Yahoo News: The removal of tough US tariffs on Chinese goods will be part of enforcing any new trade deal between Beijing and Washington, US Vice President Mike Pence said Friday. Read more 

EU releases proposal on new WTO rules for electronic commerce

EU: The EU has today made public its text proposal on future rules and obligations on e-commerce as part of WTO negotiations on e-commerce endorsed by Ministers in the margins of the Davos World Economic Forum in January 2019. The release of the text proposal is part of the EU’s commitment to transparency and inclusiveness in the development of its trade policy. Read more 

Trump Gave the Japanese Prime Minister a Break on Trade, For Now

TIME: President Donald Trump did Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a favor last week, delaying the start of negotiations on a tricky trade decision, potentially pushing it past that country’s elections in July, three officials briefed on the talks tell TIME. Read more 

Mexico will not accept more labor enforcement in new NAFTA, top official says

Politico: A top Mexican official delivered an ultimatum to Democrats on Friday, saying the country will not accept a stronger labor enforcement mechanism in the new North American trade pact and will not support reopening the deal to further negotiation. Read more 

US boosts exports to Ghana with new framework agreement

Global Trade Review: The export credit agencies (ECA) of the US and Ghana have signed a US$300mn agreement to support the procurement of US goods and services by Ghanaian SMEs.  Read more 

79-Nation ACP Group Must Guard Against Lack of Unity

IndepthNews: The prospect of Brexit, the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union, continues to loom large over the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of countries. If a no-deal Brexit happens in October, this could mean severe consequences for the ACP. Read more 

Africa Continental Free Trade Area to enter into force in July

CGTN: The African Continental Free Trade Area will officially enter into force during the next Extra-Ordinary Heads of State and Government summit slated for 7th July 2019 in Niamey, Niger. Read more 

Mexican Congress Passes Labor Law Tied to USMCA Trade Agreement

Bloomberg: Mexico’s Senate approved an overhaul to the country’s labor code, a move that U.S. House Democrats made a pre-condition for debating a successor to the Nafta trade deal. Read more 

‘Productive’ end to latest round of US-China trade talks

South China Morning Post: The latest round of trade negotiations between China and the United States concluded on Wednesday, with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin describing the talks as productive. Read more 

What’s at Stake and at Risk in the U.S.-Japan Trade Talks

Fortune: More than two years after U.S. President Donald Trump walked away from a regional Asia-Pacific trade agreement, the U.S. and Japan — the world’s largest and third-largest economies — are negotiating a deal of their own. Both sides insist they want a “win-win” outcome, but as evidenced by the Trump administration’s tariff battles with China and the European Union, there’s also potential for serious economic damage if things go bad. Read more 

Canadian and Japanese leaders tout benefits of Pacific trade deal that Trump abandoned

Reuters: The leaders of Canada and Japan on Sunday touted the benefits of a Pacific trade deal that U.S. President Donald Trump walked away from and said the pact should serve as a model for future agreements. Read more 

EU belittles U.S. claims as ‘frankly childish’ at WTO Airbus hearing

Reuters: A European Union trade lawyer fired withering put-downs at U.S. claims for damages due to subsidies for European planemaker Airbus in a recording of a dispute hearing made available by the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Tuesday. Read more

Free trade and WTO face tests on many fronts

Asia Times: In the era of Trump, tariff wars and Brexit, a widely-overlooked ruling early this month at the World Trade Organization looks set to place that organization under US threat, at a time when the world is receding ever further into an era of managed trade. Read more 

EU court backs use of trade tribunals to protect foreign investors

Reuters: The European Union won backing from the bloc’s top court on Tuesday for its system to protect foreign companies, which proponents say is essential for future trade agreements but critics say unfairly favors multinationals. Read more 

New NAFTA’s sunset clause is a ticking time bomb

The Hill: The United States, Mexico and Canada just finished renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but the future of the new NAFTA remains uncertain. Read more 


WTO NEWS

DG Azevêdo announces new fund to help LDCs participate in fisheries subsidies talks

At a meeting of the full WTO membership on 3 May, Director-General Roberto Azevêdo announced that a new WTO trust fund has been established to support least developed countries to take part in negotiations on fisheries subsidies over the coming months, ahead of the end-of-year deadline for this work agreed by members. Read more

Aid for Trade Global Review 2019 registration now open

Registration is now open for the Aid for Trade Global Review 2019, to be held from 3 to 5 July under the theme “Supporting Economic Diversification and Empowerment” at the WTO’s headquarters in Geneva. The Global Review will discuss how Aid for Trade supports economic diversification and empowerment, with a focus on eliminating extreme poverty, particularly through the effective participation of micro, small and medium enterprises, women and youth. Read more

10 years of WTO monitoring — enhancing trade policy transparency and predictability

Following the outbreak of the 2008 global financial crisis, WTO members tasked the WTO Secretariat with the mission to prepare regular updates on the latest trends in the implementation of new trade and trade-related measures and on important developments in trade policy-making. Launched in early 2009, the trade monitoring exercise successfully continues to this day, having delivered 23 WTO-wide and 20 G20 trade monitoring reports over the past decade. Read more 

WTO opens online registration for 2019 Public Forum

Online registration for the 2019 Public Forum is now open. The main theme of this year’s event, to be held at the WTO’s headquarters from 8 to 11 October, is “Trading Forward: Adapting to a Changing World”. Registration closes on 16 September 2019. Read more 

Azevêdo: E-commerce moratorium has long been a feature of the multilateral trading system

Addressing a workshop on the moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmissions on 29 April, Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said the digital economy and the e-commerce moratorium have been an important focus of conversations for many WTO members, particularly since the Buenos Aires Ministerial Conference in 2017.  Read more 

Members adopt national security ruling on Russian Federation’s transit restrictions

The Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) on 26 April formally adopted a panel ruling clarifying the use of national security exceptions to WTO rules as invoked in the trade dispute between the Russian Federation and Ukraine over transit restrictions. 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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CTLD Blog rated among Top 30 Caribbean Blogs to follow in 2019!

BRIDGETOWN, April 2, 2019 – The Caribbean Trade Law & Development (CTLD) Blog has been rated number 10 on Feedspot‘s Top 30 Caribbean Blogs, News Websites & Newsletters To Follow in 2019

caribbean_1000pxIt is the most comprehensive list of best Caribbean blogs on the internet. Out of thousands of Caribbean-focused blogs, news sites and newsletters online, Feedspot ranked the top 30 winners on the following four criteria: Google reputation and Google search ranking; influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites; quality and consistency of posts and Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review.

Founder of the CTLD Blog, Miss Alicia Nicholls, was happy and humbled by the Blog’s inclusion on this list. An international trade and development consultant, Miss Nicholls created the blog in 2011 to share trade and development information of specific interest to the Caribbean. The Blog’s signature weekly Caribbean Trade & Development Digest newsletter was created in 2016.

While the Blog’s content is primarily Caribbean focused, its readership has quickly grown to include academics, practitioners, students and other persons from across the world. Miss Nicholls expresses her gratitude to the Feedspot Editorial Team as well as the Blog’s readers for their support.

Congratulations to all winners! The full list of top 30 Caribbean blogs may be found here.

                                                            – END-

Caribbean Trade & Development Digest – December 9-16, 2018 (Final for 2018)

Welcome to the final Caribbean Trade & Development Digest for 2018! We are happy to bring you the latest trade and development news and analysis for the week of December 9-16, 2018

As this will be our last edition for 2018, we take this opportunity to thank you for your readership over the past year and to wish you and yours the very best for the season! 

THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS

At COP24, nearly 200 countries have reached an agreement on the implementing guidelines – the ‘Rulebook’ –  for the operationalization of the Paris Agreement (2015). This agreement came on Saturday night, a day after the two week UN Climate Talks were scheduled to end.

The Brexit saga continued. UK Prime Minister Theresa May postponed a scheduled vote on her draft Withdrawal Agreement with the EU in the face of fervent political opposition, survived a confidence vote and  has been thus far unable to win additional concessions from the EU to placate MPs’ fears about the Withdrawal Agreement.

See my article with Dr. Jan Yves Remy, Deputy Director of the University of the West Indies’ Shridath Ramphal Centre, analysing what these latest Brexit political headwinds mean for CARIFORUM-UK trading relations!

Below are the other major trade and development headlines from across the Caribbean region and the world for last week:

REGIONAL

Antigua-Barbuda calls on WTO to reform dispute settlement body

Caribbean News Now: Antigua and Barbuda has officially intervened in the ongoing discussions concerning the reform of the Dispute Settlement Understanding of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Read more 

Barbados Ambassador to Geneva sounds warning

CBC (Barbados): Ambassador Blackman was addressing the WTO’s General Council Meeting. He told the body Barbados continues to believe in the WTO’s rules based trading system, but the country remains concerned about the impasse in the selection process for Appellate Body members. Read more 

St Vincent becomes first OECS island to decriminalise marijuana

LoopT&T: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) has made history as the first OECS Member State to decriminalise marijuana for medical purposes and scientific research. Read more 

CARICOM to review intra-regional transportation

LoopBarbados: Come next year, the Caribbean region will see a host of new measures, including improved intra-regional transportation. Read more 

Antigua Asks For Delay In Further Free Movement, Says It Already Has Large Numbers Of CARICOM Nationals

Antigua News Room: The Government of Antigua and Barbuda says it has asked to be excluded, for now from implementing measures under Caricom which would see free movement of more classes of people. Read more

CARICOM Secretary General holds talks with Aruba on associate membership

TV6 (Trinidad): The  Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Ambassador Irwin LaRocque  on Wednesday met with Prime Minister of Aruba Hon Evelyn Wever-Croes on Associate Membership in the 15 member regional grouping – the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)  for the Dutch Territory. Read more 

Regional Statement on the IPCC Special Report 

CARICOM Today: CARICOM ministers with responsibility for addressing climate change released a statement on the IPCC’s Special Report. Read more 

Belize accepts chairmanship of AOSIS

CARICOM: Belize’s acceptance of the chairmanship of AOSIS from the Maldives in January 2019. Belize will hold the chairmanship for two years to be followed by Antigua and Barbuda in 2021. Read more 

INTERNATIONAL

UK and Switzerland agree to transition trade agreement after Brexit

UK Government: The UK Government and the Swiss Federal Council have approved the transition of a trade agreement, allowing businesses to continue trading freely after the UK leaves the European Union. Read more 

Commission reports on trade negotiations with Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia

EU: As part of its commitment to transparency, the European Commission published today a report from the latest round of negotiations between the EU and Australia, as well as the EU’s six initial text proposals tabled during this round. Read more 

U.S. Rejects the EU’s Trade Reform Proposal, Putting WTO at Risk

Bloomberg: The U.S. rejected the European Union’s proposal to reform the World Trade Organization, dealing a blow to international efforts to bolster the Geneva-based body, which has come under attack from President Donald Trump’s administration. Read more 

EU-Japan trade agreement on track to enter into force in February 2019

EU: The European Commission welcomes today’s approval in the European Parliament of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and the EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement. Read more

China buys US soybeans for first time since trade war

BBC: China has bought US soybeans for the first time since the trade war between the two countries started in July. The country’s finance ministry also confirmed it would temporarily reduce tariffs on US car imports from 40% to 15%, beginning on 1 January. Read more 

Shipping costs from China to the US have more than doubled as trade war sparks a ‘bonanza’

CNBC: The price of shipping a container from China to the United States has risen dramatically in the last year due to uncertainty surrounding trade tensions between Washington and Beijing. Read more 

AEC pushes for an inclusive African Continental Free-Trade Agreement

African Review: A successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement cannot be achieved without the “people dimension,” ensuring that the integration process does not lead to widening inequalities or exclusion, the AEC Forum observed. Read more 

Appellate Body issues report on revised US “dolphin-safe” tuna labelling measure

WTO: On 14 December the Appellate Body issued its report in the cases brought by Mexico and the United States in “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 

India appeals panel ruling in dispute with Japan over safeguard duties on steel products

WTO: India filed an appeal on 14 December concerning the WTO panel report in the case brought by Japan in “India — Certain Measures on Imports of Iron and Steel Products” (DS518). The panel report was circulated to WTO members on 6 November. Read more 

Appellate Body issues report regarding Brazil tax measures

WTO: On 13 December the Appellate Body issued its report in the cases by the European Union and Japan in “Brazil — Certain Measures Concerning Taxation and Charges” (DS472 and DS497). Read more

Trade Policy Review Body: Overview of developments in the international trading environment

WTO: Speech by WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo. Read more.

WTO-World Bank joint publication highlights need for policies to maximize trade gains for extreme poor

WTO: Trade has made a significant contribution to poverty reduction but further integration of developing countries into international markets and policies to share the gains from trade more widely will be essential for further reducing poverty and ensuring that no one is left behind, according to a joint publication by the World Bank Group and the World Trade Organization launched today (11 December). Read more 

Report shows sharp rise in the coverage of trade-restrictive measures from WTO members

WTO: The Director-General’s annual overview on trade-related developments presented to members on 11 December at a meeting of the Trade Policy Review Body (TPRB) shows a significant increase in trade coverage of trade restrictive measures by WTO members from mid-October 2017 to mid-October 2018. Read more

EU parliament approves huge free trade deal with Japan

Japan Today: The European Parliament on Wednesday approved an accord with Japan that has been dubbed the world’s biggest trade deal, covering economies that represent a third of the world’s GDP. 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 and Development Digest – December 2-8, 2018

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development Digest for the week of December 2-8, 2018! 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

This week, CARICOM Heads of Government held a Special Session on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) in Port of Spain, Trinidad. They issued the St. Ann’s Declaration on CSME in which they recommitted to the process of CSME implementation and outlined some key priority areas for implementation.

The CARICOM Competition Commission (CCC) has indicated that it is closely monitoring the proposed sale of Scotia Bank’s operations in several Caribbean jurisdictions to the Trinidad-based Republic Financial Group Ltd. Read the CCC’s full statement here.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and parliamentarians from ACP countries held their  36th session of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) in Cotonou, Benin. They adopted several resolutions, including their Declaration of the Co-Presidents on Post-Cotonou Negotiations on the occasion of the meeting of the 36th Joint Parliamentary Assembly

Below we share the other major trade and development headlines from across the Caribbean region and the world for last week:

REGIONAL

CARICOM to open government procurement to regional companies

LoopBarbados: A portal called CIMSuPro – the CARICOM Interactive Marketplace and Suspension Procedure – will be established as a managed market place for CARICOM companies to post their raw material, goods and services.  It would be made available to regional and global purchasers. Read more

More Categories of Workers to Be Granted Free Movement Within CARICOM

Caribbean360: More Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nationals are to be allowed to seek work in fellow member states, it has been revealed, as CARICOM leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the vision of free movement and a shared market space. Read more

CCJ Issues Record Number of Judgments in 2018

CARICOM: During 2018, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) issued 34 judgments and reasons for decision, its highest number of judgments delivered in a calendar year since it began its operations in 2005. Throughout that period, the CCJ also heard 28 new matters in both its Original and its Appellate Jurisdictions. Read more 

CARICOM Committee of Ambassadors charting enhanced role

CARICOM: CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque in welcome remarks, told the ambassadors their role, both individually as the link between the regional and the national, and as a constituent group within the governance structure of the Caribbean Community, assumes even greater significance in the renewed drive to implement the provisions of the CSME and other critical areas of the community’s work. Read more 

No plans for Jexit 

Jamaica Observer: Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness yesterday reiterated that the decision to establish a commission to review his country’s relationship with the Caribbean Community (Caricom) was not intended to create an avenue for it to leave the 15-member regional integration movement. Read more

Tackle CSME Issues Head On, Urges CARICOM Chairman

Caribbean360: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Chairman, Prime Minister Andrew Holness of Jamaica, has urged a “head on” approach to tackling of complex issues during the Special CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) underway in Trinidad and Tobago. Read more

Guyana pushes trade and investment at OIC meeting in Turkey

Caribbean News Now: Guyana attended the 34th meeting of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (COMCEC), which was held last week in Istanbul, Turkey. Representing Guyana at the meeting was its permanent ambassador to the United Nations, Michael Ten-Pow, who promoted the opportunities for trade and investment in his country. Read more

Exxon Mobil could push Guyana past Mexico, Venezuela in oil output

Houston Chronicle: The small South American nation of Guyana could become the continent’s second-largest oil producer thanks to the offshore discoveries made by Exxon Mobil, according to a new report. Read more 

Sugar sales down, total exports down (Belize)

The Reporter (Belize): Revenue earned from sugar exports, Belize’s largest export earner, were down in the month of October, contributing largely to an overall decrease in export revenues of 5.1 percent, according to the Statistical Institute of Belize. Read more

Region’s Coconut Industry gets EDF boost

CARICOM: The coconut industry in Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean should soon be receiving a further boost. That is because the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) will be financing a second coconut project in the region. Read more 

Prensa Latina: The Caribbean Sugar Association (SAC) reported that its members met approximately 80 percent of Caricom”s raw sugar needs during 2017/18 harvest. Read more

IMF thumbs up for Barbados

Nation News (Barbados): The International Monetary Fund (IMF) likes the way the Barbados economy is being fixed, calling it an “excellent start”. Read more 

INTERNATIONAL

COP24 fails to adopt key scientific report

BBC: Attempts to incorporate a key scientific study into global climate talks in Poland have failed. The IPCC report on the impacts of a temperature rise of 1.5C, had a significant impact when it was launched last October. Read more 

Macron threatens to scupper EU-Mercosur trade deal over climate

Euractiv: French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that he will oppose a trade deal between the EU and Mercosur if Brazil’s incoming far-right president pulls his country out of the Paris Agreement. Read more 

Mercosur and EU trade negotiators meet in Brasilia

The Rio Times: The foreign ministers of Mercosur and EU members are meeting in Brasilia on Thursday (December 6th) in an effort to advance the partnership agreement between the two economic blocs. This is the first time Mercosur and the UE are meeting after statements made by France’s Macron caused tension and doubt about the partnership. Read more 

Why Qatar left OPEC

Al Jazeera: Explaining the motivation behind the decision, Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, Qatar’s minister of state for energy affairs and president and CEO of Qatar Petroleum, said that Qatar’s exit from OPEC “is not political, it was purely a business decision for Qatar’s future strategy towards the energy sector.” Read more 

RCEP: Experts to evaluate pact to strengthen India’s position

Hindu Business Line: To sharpen India’s bargaining position in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which is being negotiated among 16 countries, the Commerce Ministry has roped in experts from academic institutions and think-tanks to carry out a detailed study of the pact and give their recommendations. Read more 

#ACPEU – MEPS agree on a partnership tailored to international context

EU Reporter: During the 36th session of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA), which took place from 3 to 5 December in Cotonou (Benin), Members of the European Parliament and their counterparts from 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries debated and adopted several resolutions. Read more 

Japan-EU trade pact clears hurdle on road to Feb. 1 start

Nikkei Asian Review: Japan’s parliament approved an economic partnership agreement with the European Union early Saturday, keeping one of the world’s biggest free trade zones on course to take effect Feb. 1. Read more 

EU agrees post-Brexit import quotas for other WTO members

Reuters: The European Union endorsed on Friday new tariff rate quotas (TRQs) that the bloc will apply mainly for agricultural products coming from other World Trade Organization members after Brexit. Read more 

Britons scramble to get E.U. passports before Brexit

NBC: With the U.K. due to leave the European Union in March, the demand among Britons for citizenship and passports from the other 27 countries in the bloc has skyrocketed. Read more

DG Azevêdo in US: This is a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to renew trading system

WTO: Speaking in Washington DC on 5 December, Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said that WTO members have “a once-in-a-generation opportunity to renew the trading system”. He argued that in responding to the range of challenges in the global trading system today, momentum was building towards strengthening and improving the work of the WTO. The Director-General was speaking at the National Foreign Trade Council’s annual World Trade Dinner. Read more 

Argentina initiates WTO dispute complaint against Peruvian measures on biodiesel imports

WTO: Argentina has requested WTO dispute consultations with Peru concerning anti-dumping and countervailing measures imposed by Peru on biodiesel imports from Argentina. Argentina’s request was circulated to WTO members on 5 December. Read more 

Panels established to review India, Swiss complaints against US tariffs

WTO: At its meeting on 4 December, the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) agreed to requests from India and Switzerland for the establishment of panels to examine tariffs imposed by the United States on steel and aluminium imports. Read more 

United Kingdom submits draft post-Brexit services commitments to WTO

WTO: WTO members received today, 3 December 2018, the United Kingdom’s draft schedule outlining its WTO commitments for services once the UK leaves the European Union. Members now have 45 days to review the schedule before certification. Read more 

China confirms its working on independent WTO reform

Asia Times: China is planning to put forward an independent proposal to promote WTO reform, Yicai.com reported, citing a government official and several sources. 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 – September 9-15, 2018

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development Digest for the week of September 9-15, 2018! We are happy to bring the trade and development headlines and analysis from across the Caribbean Region and the world from the past week.

REGIONAL

Laing appointed Bahamas’ WTO Chief Negotiator

Eyewitness News: Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration Brent Symonette held a press conference on Sunday at the Campbell Maritime Centre to provide an update on the country’s current accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Accession. Read more 

Bahamas’ Top Negotiator: ‘WTO’ won’t hurt this economy 

Tribune 242: The Bahamas’ newly-appointed chief negotiator yesterday pledged this nation “cannot join the WTO on terms that injure” its economy or any major industries. Read more 

Guyana, other Caribbean countries searching for new fuel sellers following Trinidad’s refinery closure; regional tax to be waived 

Demerara Waves: In the wake of the closure of Trinidad and Tobago’s state-owned oil refinery, Petrotrin, Guyana and several other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states are scrambling to buy fuel from extra-regional suppliers, Foreign Minister Carl Greenidge said Monday. Read more 

All hands on deck with Windrush

The Gleaner: Article by Jamaica Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, on the Jamaica Government’s approach to the ‘Windrush’ issue in the UK. Read more 

SAC issues position paper for regional integration of sugar market

The Jamaica Observer:  The Sugar Association of the Caribbean (SAC), which represents sugar producers in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), has disclosed that it issued a position paper on the regional integration of the sugar market on September 7. Read more 

Caribbean banks support CARICOM in regional integration efforts

Caribbean News Now: The Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB) has commended the Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP) for reaffirming the commitment towards the Caribbean Single Market and Economy and its significance for the regional financial sector, at the sixth special meeting of the Council on September 4, 2018, in Barbados. Read more 

INTERNATIONAL

RCEP Negotiations Reach Critical Stage – Likely to be Inked by Year-End

ASEAN Briefing: In the sixth Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) ministerial meeting held in Singapore, the negotiations for the conclusion of the proposed RCEP reached a critical stage; the top leaders from the 16-member coalition came together and pledged to endorse a package of outcomes by year-end. Read more

Trudeau sets out fall priorities, including finalising the Trans-Pacific deal as NAFTA talks continue

The Toronto Star: Canada will try to meet a Sept. 30 deadline to reach a North American free trade pact, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested Thursday the most recent timeline set by the U.S. may not be met as NAFTA talks continue. Read more 

Intrigue, impasse persist over NAFTA

Calgary Herald: With trilateral NAFTA talks having been on hiatus for most of the summer, the foreign affairs minister was in Berlin, barely one full day into a week-long diplomatic mission to Europe, when news emerged that the United States and Mexico had forged their own trade alliance in Canada’s absence. Read more

NAFTA negotiations ‘hang over heads’ of Canadian farmers, U.S. counterparts

CBC (Canada): The tough talk between Canada and the U.S. around NAFTA negotiations is having real-life consequences for those working in the industry every day.  Read more 

Canada working on WTO Reform: Report

MoneyControl: Canada is working on a project for the reform of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and aims to organise international talks on the subject next month, Canadian sources said Friday as US pressure on the body mounts. Read more

Canada-EU trade, one year on; Imports rising faster than exports

CBC (Canada): When the Canadian government talks about trade diversification, the agreement it puts in the window is its wide-ranging trade deal with the European Union, which started to take hold one year ago this week. Read more 

USTR Publishes Agreed Outcomes from US-Korea FTA Amendment and Modification Negotiations

USTR:  Today, the Office of the United States Trade Representative and Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy published the agreed outcomes of the negotiations to amend and modify the U.S.-Korea (KORUS) Free Trade Agreement. Read more 

Japan and Vietnam urge US to rejoin Pacific trade deal

Gulf Times: Japan and Vietnam yesterday urged the United States to rejoin a sprawling Pacific trade deal, almost two years after President Donald Trump’s withdrawal dealt a major blow to what would have been the world’s largest free trade pact. Read more

Canada requests consultations with China on compliance with paper duties ruling

WTO: Canada has requested consultations with China regarding China’s alleged non-compliance with the recommendations and rulings of the Dispute Settlement Body in the dispute concerning Chinese anti-dumping duties on imports of Canadian cellulose pulp (DS483). The request was circulated to WTO members on 12 September. Read more

Azevêdo urges Commonwealth to play full part in strengthening the multilateral system

WTO: Speaking at a meeting of WTO Commonwealth members held at the WTO on 11 September, Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said the support provided by Commonwealth members for the multilateral trading system is hugely important. Read more 

Jean-Claude urges EU to offer free trade agreement to Africa

The Punch: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday, urged the European Union to offer a free trade agreement to the whole of the African continent and a new investment alliance. Read more 

‘Moving into the heart of negotiations’ for Africa’s free trade agreement

RFI: The African Continental Free Trade Area agreement makes some big promises about removing barriers to trade and freeing up the flow of goods and services.  Read more 

Totally wrong! Brexit stalemate as EU says NOTHING will be agreed this week

The Sunday Express: EU officials have crushed rising hopes of a breakthrough on the question of the Irish border when leaders meet for Wednesday’s summit in Salzburg, with one dismissing the suggestion as “totally wrong”. Read more 

Can international trade agreements help to introduce labour reforms?

South China Morning Post: Labour advocates have long complained international trade agreements are driven by corporate agendas and pay little attention to the interests of working people. Read more 

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

Alicia Nicholls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

WTO launches its new World Trade Statistical Review

Alicia Nicholls

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) launched its new annual flagship statistical publication, the World Trade Statistical Review yesterday. According to the WTO’s press release, this new report replaces the WTO’s previous annual statistical publication, International Trade Statistics, which was published each October. The new report will be published online in July each year and a printed report will be available from September.

In his foreword to the report, Director-General of the WTO, Roberto Azevedo notes that “[t]he new structure of the publication allows for more comprehensive information about trade and trade policy developments to be provided, and in a more timely way.”

In addition to statistical compilations, this current report includes a discussion on trends in global trade over the past 10 years, discussions on merchandise trade and commercial services, global and regional trading patterns. An addition is the detailed analysis of developing countries’ participation in global trade, including Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

Among its findings are that the value of both global merchandise and commercial services trade are nearly two-times greater in 2015 than in 2005 but declined in 2015 compared to 2014. Although developing country merchandise trade declined in 2015, their commercial services exports saw a robust increase. The report also mentions the increase in the overall stockpile of restrictive measures, including trade remedies, introduced by WTO members in 2015.

The WTO’s press release may be viewed here.

The full report may be accessed 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.

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