Late last November the Government of Antigua gave notice to the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Disputes Settlement Body (DSB) that if the United States did not reach “an appropriate and beneficial settlement” in relation to a legal adjudication made previously in its favour, it would act to recover the revenue it has lost.
Few people understand how great the daily pressures are on a prime minister or a president. Instead they mostly observe the public persona, see their leaders in the context of tribal politics, and are variously entertained or exercised by the media coverage of what is said, done or ignored.
Some time ago I received an email asking me how many five star hotels there are in the Caribbean. I replied that there was no recognised or independently adjudicated rating system anywhere in the region other than in the French département d’outre-mer.
At the end of last month, China published a detailed 16-page document, ‘China’s Policy Paper on Latin America and the Caribbean’, which sets out a new approach to relations between the Americas and the world’s second largest economy.
On November 28, the US President-elect, Donald Trump said that “if Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the US as a whole, I will terminate deal”.
Being able to identify the policy changes that will transform the future is normally far from easy. Arguably, however, in the week past, the remarks of two world leaders make plain how the trajectory of global history is about to change.
In a few days’ time, the outcome of the US presidential election will be known. Whichever of the two principal candidates wins, it is likely that sooner or later they will have to accept that the old global order has changed, and the country they need to reach an accommodation with, as an equal, is China.
What does solidarity between nations mean in the early twenty first century? Are the values inferred practical or advisable, in a multipolar world in which self-interest, overlapping relationships and multiple economic and political ideas compete?
How should the anglophone Caribbean respond to Brexit? Should it, based on the expert advice it has received from the Caricom Secretariat and its own trade negotiators, now be actively exploring with the UK an approach that secures an equivalent trade relationship to that which it has with the EU under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)?