Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 15th 2017 Contents The implications of
the recently con-
cluded UK elections
are far reaching.
What was meant to
increase an existing
majority instead resulted in a hung
parliament. The outcome provided
a mandate for a different, possibly
softer, approach to Brexit negotia-
tions albeit unintended. The impli-
cations and lessons are extensive for
T&T and the Caribbean.
Trade with the EU, UK and Carib-
bean will become more challenging.
At the moment, the EU is the 2nd
largest trading partner for Carifo-
rum, after the US. Further, the trade
imbalance continues to grow as the
Cariforum deficit with the EU dou-
bled from 2014 to 2015 and grew by
over 20 per cent from 2015 to 2016
Much of the trade takes place with
the UK, complicating matters for
the Caribbean. Even as a block, the
Caribbean is a minor trading partner.
With only two years and an increas-
ing lack of clarity as a result of the
concluded election, we are not in a
priority negotiation position from
the UK's perspective.
More Cariforum companies need
to swiftly move to establish export
arrangements to capitalise on the
market access the Cariforum-EU
Economic Partnership Agreement
(EPA) set out to establish.
As a global accountancy body
one of the first perspectives that
we would consider would be that
of our members and the impact of
these changes on them. ACCA re-
cently co-commissioned a study
which revealed that "almost half of
(UK) MPs (47 per cent) believe that
Brexit will have a positive impact on
the accountancy profession, because
accountants can advise clients on the
implications of exiting the European
While the study was conducted
in the UK we consider the positive
impact to be both local as well as in-
ternational. The prudent approach to
the inevitable implications of Brexit
are to model different scenarios rath-
er than wait and see what changes
are to come and be ready regardless.
ACCA's chief executive, Hel-
en Brand OBE, says: "ACCA looks
forward to working with the new
government in an advisory capac-
ity as we enter the new parliament.
It is now more important than ever
for government to focus on secur-
ing long-term stability for the UK's
wealth generating businesses in the
years to come.
"We must also take proactive steps
towards tackling the UK's persistent
productivity problem; boosting in-
frastructure, skills and removing
barriers to innovation, as part of a
wider strategic UK industrial strat-
"Greater clarity is needed in the
upcoming Brexit negotiations and
government must consult business,
the professions and wider society on
repeal of existing EU legislation.
"ACCA has a truly global presence
with 188,000 members representing
businesses of all shapes and sizes in
178 countries. This well-established
global network offers a resource for
government to seek expert advice
as it endeavours to define Britain's
"We look forward to continuing
discussions with government on its
international trade strategy, building
on our good relations with the De-
partment for International Trade."
Finally, and most importantly, the
youth decided this election.
The great majority of the polls were
wrong. This teaches us two things,
one we shouldn't ignore the power of
our youth and old methods of look-
ing at outcomes (polling) are rapidly
becoming obsolete. The youth vote
of 69 per cent vs 66 per cent in 2015
changed the dynamic.
Among the issues driving their
turn out were high youth unem-
ployment and access to education.
We know now as we've known for
years that youth unemployment is
an issue of great concern. Many
studies including the 2012 Justice
Policy Institute study suggests that
if we're able to address it, the crime
rate would decrease; an especially
welcome consequence in T&T.
ACCA is looking at
ways to increase
ment through our
many other avenues. We see ap-
prenticeships as an opportunity for
employers to get highly productive
youth on board while addressing this
In the manner that we have struc-
tured our approach taking on an ap-
prentice requires minimal financial
investment but delivers a commit-
ted, highly motivated individual for
An individual whose skills are ad-
vancing rapidly and who will make a
positive impact on a business.
ACCA's open access policy, allow-
ing students a path to a professional
career at the highest levels without
a requirement for an undergraduate
degree, is another part of our solution
There are many other possible
solutions and we hope to work closely
with government and private sector
to identify and work through solu-
tions to the challenges we share.
JUNE 15 • 2017 guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
VERBATIM | BG11
British Prime Minister Theresa May, centre left, as she holds the first Cabinet meeting of her new team inside 10
Downing Street, in London, Monday June 12, 2017. The government Cabinet met for the first time Monday after a
reshuffle by Theresa May following last week's general election.
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