Trinidad could feel effects of US shutdown

Internal Revenue Service employees display placards during a rally by federal employees and supports in front of the Statehouse, in Boston, to call for an end of the partial shutdown of the federal government.

(Trinidad Guardian) As the longest-ever gov­ern­ment shut­down in Unit­ed States his­to­ry con­tin­ues, there are warn­ings that T&T and oth­er coun­tries in the Caribbean could be af­fect­ed.

Econ­o­mist Dr Ronald Ramkissoon said the shut­down can cre­ate greater eco­nom­ic un­cer­tain­ty in the re­gion and he is urg­ing this coun­try’s for­eign af­fairs of­fi­cials to pay clos­er at­ten­tion to is­sues which might di­rect­ly af­fect trade and im­mi­gra­tion.

Dr Ronald Ramkissoon

“While the world, the Caribbean in­clud­ed, is more and more turn­ing to de­vel­oped economies for trade, de­pen­dence on North Amer­i­ca and Eu­rope is still crit­i­cal for this re­gion. As such, if the sit­u­a­tion in the US wors­ens there will be im­pli­ca­tions for the Caribbean,” he said.

Ramkissoon said while in the short term there might not be any sig­nif­i­cant im­pact, over the long term, for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment (FDI) and oth­er ar­eas of the Caribbean and T&T’s econ­o­my can be af­fect­ed.

“The de­vel­oped world is still strug­gling to achieve strong and sus­tain­able growth and fail­ure in fis­cal man­age­ment in the US can on­ly make the sit­u­a­tion worse for that coun­try and all its trad­ing part­ners,” he said.

CEO of the T&T Cham­ber of In­dus­try and Com­merce Gabriel Faria said as the shut­down con­tin­ues it’s in­evitable that it’s go­ing to have an im­pact on those con­duct­ing busi­ness with the var­i­ous fed­er­al au­thor­i­ties in the US.

“Es­pe­cial­ly many of the small­er coun­tries like us where we need to get ap­provals for visas and for agri­cul­tur­al im­ports. We hope they will come to some sort of arrange­ment soon be­cause this could af­fect our busi­ness arrange­ments.

Gabriel Faria

“I know many peo­ple are ac­tu­al­ly re­ar­rang­ing their trav­el in the US,” Faria said.

He said Cham­ber have mem­bers have ex­pressed con­cern about the ef­fect the shut­down is hav­ing on their busi­ness­es, in­clud­ing ap­point­ments with fed­er­al au­thor­i­ties.

Po­lit­i­cal stakes are high in the US as the shut­down moves in­to a fifth week, with hun­dreds of thou­sands of fed­er­al work­ers go­ing with­out pay and no out­ward signs of res­o­lu­tion.

The shut­down be­gan on De­cem­ber 22 when the Unit­ed States Con­gress and Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump could not agree on an ap­pro­pri­a­tions bill to fund the op­er­a­tions of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment for the 2019 fis­cal year or a tem­po­rary con­tin­u­ing res­o­lu­tion that would ex­tend the dead­line for pass­ing a bill.

It stemmed from an im­passe over Trump’s de­mand for US$5.7 bil­lion in fed­er­al funds for a US–Mex­i­co bor­der wall.

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