European Council President Donald Tusk, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at the Eastern Partnership summit, Riga, Latvia, May 22, 2015 (AP photo by Mindaugas Kulbis).

In May 2008, the foreign ministers of Poland and Sweden proposed the Eastern Partnership, an initiative designed to foster ties between the European Union and six former Soviet republics: Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. That August, a brief war broke out between Georgia and Russia, after which Russia formally recognized the Georgian breakaway enclaves of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as sovereign states. Seven years later, the region remains divided along these lines, with the EU offering a possible future for Russia’s former satellites, and Russia itself using military force and separatist proxies to prevent that from happening. Last […]

The port in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Jan. 19, 2011 (photo by Flickr user the brit_2 licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license).

Earlier this month, Jamaica announced plans to expand regional trade ties through a framework agreement with Cuba and a deal that supplements the existing free trade agreement with Costa Rica. In an email interview, Krista Lucenti, an economist with the Inter-American Development Bank, discussed Jamaica’s trade policy. WPR: What are Jamaica’s main exports, and who are Jamaica’s main trade partners? Krista Lucenti: Jamaica exported roughly $2.3 billion in goods and services in 2014. Exports of goods are concentrated in bauxite, alumina and other non-traditional exports, including chemical, minerals and food processing exports, and represent nearly three-fourths of the total value […]

A worker cuts a diamond, reflecting Botswana’s attempt to control stages of diamond production beyond mining, Gaborone, Botswana, March 18, 2008 (AP photo by Themba Hadebe).

The past year has seen dramatic declines in the prices of global commodities. Between June 2014 and the beginning of this year, crude oil prices fell by 50 percent to around $50 a barrel. Similarly, mineral prices have seen a drastic fall since the peak of the “commodity supercycle” in early 2011. Between then and April of this year, iron ore prices fell by 70 percent, coal prices by 54 percent and copper prices by 40 percent. Many countries dependent on revenues from these commodities have been hit hard. Venezuela is unable to import food and medicine to satisfy the […]