Sunday, April 21, 2024

Brexit trade hope

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MOVE NOW with a “united push” to grab the trade opportunities that might emerge following the United Kingdom’s (UK) decision to leave the European Union.

Barbados and its neighbours in the region have received this advice from RBC Caribbean group economist Marla Dukharan.

In an interview published by Global News Matters, Dukharan said Brexit “poses both risks and potential opportunities for the Caribbean”.

However, she believed the UK “could look to increase trade with non-EU markets, the obvious alternatives being the Commonwealth and the US, leading to new opportunities for renewed trade partnerships with the Caribbean in the medium-term”.

If this occurred, she asserted, “it is up to us in the Commonwealth and CARIFORUM to make a united push to grab the opportunity that Brexit represents with respect to trade in particular”.

“I think the UK will look more to the Commonwealth and to non-EU trading partners post-Brexit than before, such as [United States], Canada, and maybe even [Latin America and the Caribbean],” she said.

“The Commonwealth recently appointed its second Caribbean and first woman secretary general, Baroness Patricia Scotland from Dominica, who I think will advocate for stronger UK ties with the wider Commonwealth and the Caribbean.”

Dukharan said that opportunities aside, the Caribbean and rest of the world should “wake up to the reality that we are living in a highly volatile world, where ‘shocks’ are more frequent from varied sources including climate change and geopolitics”.

The economist also observed that in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote there was already “fallout for the UK economy as consumers have said in a poll reported by Bloomberg that they will curb discretionary spending”.

She said this “obvious knee-jerk reaction” would “affect UK tourism arrivals and spending in the Caribbean, as a [Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association] study has shown that UK travellers spend seven times the average tourist in the Caribbean”.

“Beyond the direct impact of the UK on tourism, my sense is that the global economy, which I believe was already growing below three per cent from the last quarter of 2015 into first half of 2016 (which the [International Monetary Fund] defines as a global recession), will now slow down further, as fear and uncertainty adversely affect credit growth, consumer spending and investment globally,” Dukharan said. (SC)

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