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SRC Trading Thoughts

The SRC Trading Thoughts Column is a bimonthly issue produced at the SRC in which we, or contributing authors, provide critical views and thoughts on issues of ongoing interest in trade and investment, with a particular focus on the Caribbean.

If you would like to contribute as an author, please contact us.

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Editorial Guidelines – SRC Trading Thoughts Submissions
  1. Title: “SHRIDATH RAMPHAL CENTRE TRADING THOUGHTS” followed by the title of the article below e.g “Trade Policy in COVID-19 times”.
  2. Insert the authorship i.e.: By Dr. Jane Doe or John Doe
  3. Word limit (700 – 1,200 words)
  4. No footnotes or endnotes.
  5. In text Hyperlinks can be included e.g: The WTO Report was published last week.
  6. Please avoid excessive use of jargon and overly technical language.
  7. Please conclude by including a short byline “Jane Doe is [INSERT JOB TITLE] with [INSERT PLACE OF AFFILIATION].

 

Publications

WTO MC13: Investment Facilitation for Development Agreement

The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) upcoming 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13), takes place from February 26-29, 2024 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), against the backdrop of a shifting global trade landscape marked by rising protectionism and geopolitical tensions, economic uncertainty and shipping route disruptions. Amid these challenges…

WTO Reform at WTO MC13: A Catalyst for Transformative Change in CARICOM

As the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC13) approaches, its once lackluster agenda has been infused with new life. This biennial assembly of the highest body of WTO Members, convening from 26-29 February in Abu Dhabi, now promises to tackle critical decision-making areas for global Ministers of Trade. Topics range from fisheries…

Will 2024 be a Pivotal Year for US-Caribbean Economic Relations?

It is the start of a new year; one filled with promise coupled with uncertainty amidst a growing climate crisis, a forecasted deceleration in global growth and escalating geopolitical tensions and instability in several parts of the world…

A Tradee at COP28: My Impressions of the UNFCCC Climate Change Negotiations

The Dubai team preparing for 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) promised that it would “Unite. Act. Deliver.” when the world met in December 2023 to take forward climate action. And although some – including our small island developing states – might have wished for…

Opportunities for Economic Growth and Development Presented by the Afreximbank-CARICOM Partnership

From 30-31 October 2023, Heads of Governments, delegates, private sector representatives, and other key stakeholders from Africa and the Caribbean gathered in Georgetown, Guyana for the second annual AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF) organized by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank). Building on the success of the first ACTIF, held in September…

A SIDS Perspective on Balancing Ocean Health and Wealth with Global Trade

As one of Earth’s most valuable natural resources, the ocean – which covers 70 percent of the planet, absorbs 90 percent of heat from global warming, sequesters 30 percent of carbon dioxide released, and produces over 50 percent of the oxygen that we breathe – holds a…

Outcomes from the 2023 WTO Public Forum

On its website, the World Trade Organization (WTO) describes its annual as its largest outreach event, designed to provide a platform to discuss the latest developments in global trade and propose ways to enhance the multilateral trading system. As indicated by the theme “It Is Time for Action”, this year’s Public Forum…

My MITP Study Tour Experience

My biggest self-improvement decision to date was applying for the Masters in International Trade Policy (MITP) Programme at the Cave Hill Campus, University of the West Indies’ Shridath Ramphal Centre for International Trade Law, Policy, and Services (SRC)..

Could trade help to achieve the 2023 Bridgetown Declaration on NCDs and Mental Health?

Ministers, as well as delegates from partner organizations, gathered in Barbados on June 14-16, 2023 for the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Ministerial Conference on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and Mental Health. The conference was a collaboration by the Government of Barbados, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO)…

It’s Time To Overcome The Borders And Boundaries Creating Barriers

In a region with 15 full member states, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is comprised of numerous borders ranging from 10 land borders and 37 maritime boundaries. Simply put, a border is a ‘real or an artificial line that separates geographic areas.’ According to the National Geographic, borders are ‘political boundaries’ known…

Applying Climate Commitments To Trade Between CARICOM and Canada

At the CARICOM Heads of Government Conference held in February 2023, regional leaders received the Prime Minister of Canada, The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, PC, MP. The engagement between the Canadian and CARICOM leadership focused on “charting new strategic partnerships, built on modern realities, including the diversification of the economic relationships and addressing climate change…

Uncovering a Sustainable Digital Trade Pathway for the Caribbean

As a co-lead of the Remaking the Global Trading System for a Sustainable Future Project (The Remaking Trade Project), I had the privilege last month to take our “trade and sustainability” crusade to New Delhi, India, and the Villars, Switzerland.  The Remaking Trade Project is an attempt by…

Interning with the African Export-Import Bank in Cairo, Egypt

As a Barbadian national, interning at the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in Cairo Egypt following the completion of my Master’s in International Trade Policy at the University of the West Indies was undoubtedly, a career defining experience. This once in a lifetime opportunity allowed me to travel and experience the histories and cultures of a number of African countries…

SRC Women’s In Trade Awardee Amb. Gail Mathurin

The SRC hosted its 2nd Annual International Women's Day Lunchtime Chat on March 3rd, 2023 in early commemoration of International Women's Day (March 8). Moderated by our Director Dr. Jan Yves Remy, the esteemed panelists were Ms. Kim Butcher (CEO, OkoyebyKim), Dr. Sylvia Dohnert (Executive Director, Compete Caribbean), Ms. Gayle Gollop (National Private Sector Specialist…

Industrial Policy and Post-COVID19 Economic Transformation in CARICOM

Writing in an SRC Trading Thoughts back in May 2020, the author Joel K. Richards presciently posited that the COVID-19 pandemic, which was then still in its early days, provided the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) with the opportune time to ‘reclaim’ industrial policy. Fast forward three years later, CARICOM appears to be making concrete steps to formulate the community industrial…

Boosting CARIFORUM’s Trade Capacity Through Skills Training and Investment

When seeking to boost trade capacity, national and regional investment in skills and education is not always front of mind. However, the International Labour Organisation emphasizes the importance of skills investment for inclusive trade, noting that open economies…

Why the Bridgetown Initiative on Climate Finance is Good For Trade

It was not so long ago, in March 2022, that Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley of Barbados went to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva seeking concrete answers on how the WTO was helping developing countries with one of their most pressing needs – financing their climate adaptation and…

Pound Volatility’s Implications for Caribbean Tourism and Trade

Winter is coming! And not in the Game of Thrones sense. The big news in currency markets on Monday, September 26, 2022 was the British pound (GBP)’s record slump against the United States dollar (USD). It seems unfathomable now that years ago one UK pound was worth some 2 USD. Then early…

When The Dust Settles From The Afri-Caribbean Trade Forum (2022), What’s Next?

When the curtain fell last week on the inaugural Afri-Caribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF) 2022 hosted jointly by the Afri-Eximbank and the Government of Barbados, spirits were riding high. The three-day conference held in Barbados under the theme “One People. One Destiny. Uniting and Reimagining Our Future”, was hailed…

The Importance of the WTO

Pursuing the Masters in International Trade Policy offered by the Shridath Ramphal Centre for International Trade Law, Policy and Services at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus was definitely a great idea, and certainly one of my best life decisions to date. However, adding the study tour to Geneva…

WTO MC 12 Outcomes: What do they mean for the Caribbean?

Much of the trade policy world released a collective sigh of relief when on June 17 it was announced that ministers and delegates at the World Trade Organisation (WTO)’s Twelfth Ministerial Conference (MC12) had reached an agreement. MC12 had been postponed for two years due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. Negotiators worked…

Transforming the “C” in “LAC” to Combat Global Trade Headwinds

For geographic purposes and statistical convenience, the Caribbean sub-region is often subsumed under the umbrella of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Despite some improvements, it too often seems as though the “C” in “LAC” is little more than an extra letter given the negligible attention devoted to…

The 9th Summit of the Americas as a Reset for CARICOM-US Economic Relations

Whatever one might think of the politics of the Ninth Summit of the Americas due to take place 6-10 June in Los Angeles, one thing is incontrovertible:  for CARICOM leaders, the hemispheric meeting is an opportunity to upgrade economic and trade relations with the United States, at the highest levels.  We must not squander it…

Is this the CARICOM we want at fifty?

Forty-nine years ago, regional Prime Ministers agreed to the establishment of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Since then the region has had numerous successes and advancements in deepening regional integration. As the region counts down to CARICOM’s 50th Anniversary, the author is pondering: What is in store for CARICOM at 50? Will…

A Call for Young Professionals to Transition Into the CSME as Entrepreneurs

The last time I wrote this column, my simple advice was to brace for impact…major disruption to your yuletide season. In an effort not to sound repetitive, my advice now is to buckle down and make the CARICOM Single Market (CSM) work for you as an entrepreneur…

Leveraging Web 3.0 Part 2: Digital Infrastructure and Potential Risks

In our first piece titled: Leveraging Web 3.0 to Boost Trade & Investment in the Orange Economy we explored how Web 3.0 developments like smart contracts, asset tokenization, and the metaverse can be leveraged in the orange economy. In this SRC Trading Thoughts, we examine practical tools and applications for navigating Web 3.0 and associated risks…

The WTO must deliver on PM Mottley’s message… and on the next-generation version of itself!

At a time when all is not well with international economic relations, a message of inclusiveness, equity and morality in trade appears to have resonated strongly in a room at the World Trade Organization (WTO) packed to capacity with trade negotiators, dignitaries, WTO staff, students and academics…

Integrating Gender and Trade Policy in CARICOM for this Year’s International Women’s Day

It would be remiss not to highlight important strides made recently to advance the trade and gender agenda in CARICOM:  Under the incoming Presidency of Barbados, UNCTAD XV hosted an inaugural Forum on Gender and Development, led by Caribbean feminists…

The Chamber and Barbados’ Trade Mission to Guyana

At bilateral negotiations held between President of Guyana, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, and the Prime Minister of Barbados, Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, at the margins of the UNCTAD XV hosted in Barbados in October 2021, a decision was taken by both leaders to chart a new paradigm in the relations between…

Leveraging Web 3.0 to Boost Trade & Investment in the Orange Economy

A decline in tourism due to the COVID-19 pandemic reminded the Caribbean of their need for economic diversification. An area for consideration is the “orange” economy which, given the region’s rich cultural assets, presents endless opportunities. However, comparative advantage alone is not sufficient to…

The WTO Services Domestic Regulation: Should CARICOM Countries Join?

Services providers – whether lawyers, accountants or IT professionals – know all too well the non-negligible costs and high regulatory barriers encountered when seeking authorization to ply their trade in a foreign land. It is with this reality in mind that on December 2, 2021, 67 members of the 164-member World Trade Organization (WTO)…

The Last Mile to MC12

The World Trade Organization (WTO) approaches its 12th Ministerial Conference (of Ministers responsible for trade) with its centrality in the Multilateral Trading System (MTS) assured despite the severe shocks it has faced in recent years. These shocks have been magnified by the stagnation in its negotiating pillar and the severe setback…

Brace For Impact… Major Disruption To The Yuletide Season Consumer

Approximately nearly 18 months since the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States were disrupted by the Covid-19 Pandemic, we can now look back and examine the lessons learnt from surviving the catastrophic human, social, economic, and political losses. As we commence our Christmas preparations, there is one more lesson we need to…

From the Savannah to the Sea: Connecting Kenya and Barbados through Trade and Investment

On the side lines of the UNCTAD XV Conference hosted by Barbados on 3-7 October 2021,  a growing courtship between Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley and Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta was entering a new phase. While trade officials were busy negotiating the final text of the Bridgetown Covenant at the UNCTAD XV plenary session…

What was achieved at UNCTAD XV and what next?

In October 3-7, 2021, Barbados not only successfully hosted the Fifteenth Quadrennial Conference of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XV) in hybrid format, but has assumed the presidency of this UN General Assembly organ for the next three years. Barbados is not only the smallest State and first small island developing…

Can You Gig It? Leveraging The Gig Economy for Cross Border Trade in Services in the Caribbean

The COVID-19 pandemic has ensured that it can’t be business as usual – more firms are leveraging digital solutions for business continuity, online labour markets are becoming more popular, and the suitability of the traditional 9-5 workweek is being questioned…

CARICOM SIDS and the WTO Fisheries Subsidies Negotiations

By the time the World Trade Organization (WTO) holds its Twelfth Ministerial Conference (MC12) in November this year, Members hope to have finally reached a multilateral agreement to discipline harmful fisheries subsidies. Fisheries subsidies negotiations have been on-going at the WTO since 2001. Should an agreement be reached among the…

The EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism and CARICOM

On 14 July 2021, the European Union (EU) released its long-awaited proposal for a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) which will serve as the EU bloc’s first carbon import levy. As anticipated, the proposed CBAM has attracted attention among international observers, even if it has not been widely reported in Caribbean circles…

Facilitating Private Sector Investment for SDG Achievement in Caribbean SIDS

The following is an adapted article from talking points delivered by esteemed panelist Mr. Matthew Wilson at the August 5, 2021 Shridath Ramphal Centre event on ‘Facilitating private sector investment for SDG achievement in Caribbean SIDs’…

The CARICOM Commission’s Report on the Economy: Time to Play Your Part!

At the invitation of the Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, I recently participated in a vibrant session of the Caribbean Economic Forum entitled “Putting People at the Centre of Development in the Caribbean”.   My fellow panelists – Professor Avinash Persaud and Dr. Damien King – were two…

TRIPS and Health: Moving towards a friendlier intellectual property regime

Over the past decade, global health issues, and questions about the impact of international trade on global health have taken centre-stage. The diverse nature of health-related conflicts that have arisen within the international trade context dramatically illustrate that it is no longer possible to view issues of global health and international…

Same Cast, Time for a different script: A Sobering Welcome to Dr. Barnett 

With the announcement of the upcoming retirement of Ambassador Irwin LaRocque in August 2021 as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General (SG), this author waited with bated breath for the confirmation of the selected successor. The moment came earlier this month when CARICOM Chair, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago made

Diaspora Financing for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Caribbean

Although in recent years, Caribbean governments have accelerated their diaspora engagement efforts, the diaspora as a development actor remains under-harnessed. This SRC Trading Thoughts examines the potentially transformative role the diaspora could play in assisting Caribbean countries’ financing of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)…

My Experience at the Model WTO International 2021

As a freshly minted graduate and alumnus of the Masters in International Trade Policy (MITP) Programme at the UWI Shridath Ramphal Centre (SRC), Cave Hill Campus, I anticipated that my first real test to apply the skills I acquired would take the form of the traditional 3-month internship…

Unleashing the Potential of Youth in International Trade

Youth unemployment, defined by the International Labour Organization (ILO) as persons aged 15-24 seeking but unable to find a job, is a global crisis. According to the ILO, more than 64 million youth are unemployed globally, and 145 million young workers live in poverty. To achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, the reduction of youth unemployment is explicitly outlined…