Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 29th 2014 Contents BG4 | NEWS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt MAY 2014 • WEEK FIVE
Trade is imperative for small developing island
economies like T&T, said Dr Roger Hosein,
senior lecturer, University of the West Indies
(UWI). This conclusion is also the thrust of
his new book, Applications of International
Trade Theory: The Caribbean Perspective.
"Small economies are connected to the world via trade.
Trade is the umbilical cord that drives their growth. When
I started to teach the course, all the material available was
foreign, based on a foreign culture with foreign examples and
foreign data sets. I found that unacceptable. This book explores
the main ideas, concepts and theories from the trade literature
against the backdrop of a Caribbean setting," Hosein told the
Business Guardian last Thursday by e-mail.
On May 20, two books were launched at the Office of the
Principal, UWI, St Augustine.
The first was Hosein s Applications of International Trade
Theory. The other book, Informal Commercial Importers in
Caricom, written by Hosein and Martin Franklin, head of the
Department of Economics, UWI.
International Trade Theory, which costs $265 at UWI Book-
store, was first printed in 2013.
One of the themes Hosein explored in book is the rise of
China and trade with the Caribbean.
"Globalisation will not be easily reversed. China presents
both opportunities and threats for T&T and the Caricom. The
challenge is to make use of the opportunities whilst minimising
the threats. For example, the rapidly growing Chinese economy
requires vast amounts of raw materials and is also making
significant foreign direct investment (FDI) excursions abroad.
Their tourism outflow has been rapidly increasing and there
are opportunities here. We need to tap into them. At the same
time, some economists have argued about the downgrading
of labour standards that are associated with the Chinese work
ethic and along these lines, host economies would need to be
careful," he said.
Last year, the Chinese President Xi Jinping promised Caricom
a developmental loan and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bisses-
sar spoke about building new industrial parks with Chinese
Speaking in March at a post-Cabinet press conference, the
Prime Minster announced that the Government is seeking the
assistance of China President Jinping and that country s Premier
Li Keqiang to have $5 billion in loans for this country approved
"There is a clear need to invigorate the e-TecK parks in
T&T. The level output per worker in the manufacturing sector
supersedes that in agriculture and the services sector. There
are clear areas in the economy where the unemployment rate
is by far higher than the national average.
"Thus, in Point Fortin, the unemployment rate is around
20 per cent whilst in the economy as a whole it is around five
per cent. The e-TecK parks, in conjunction with a localised
economic development thrust, can help to strengthen the var-
ious growth poles proposed by the Government and help to
improve economic outcomes across a wider geographic spread
and bring under-utilised resources into more productive use,"
He warned about developing countries ignoring trade with
"China s emergence as an economic giant cannot be ignored
by the countries of Caricom. China s increasingly outward
reach to more and more countries and regions of the world
is something the countries of this region should consider seri-
ously. The Caribbean, and certainly the T&T Government,
should be careful not to leave its engagement with China to
be led by the Chinese. Basic economic theory teaches that
there are benefits of trade with any trade partner, once it is
in the right choice of goods. As a people, we need to find ways
and means of leveraging the presence of China and benefiting
from its current interest in the region."
Sourcing timely data
He said the book was written over a 12-year period and
involved a massive data gathering exercise from the Caricom
secretariat, to the national Central Statistical Offices (CSO)
of Caricom member states, their central banks and the World
Hosein hopes his book will adds to the gap in the lack of
availability of statistics.
"Obtaining data from the CSO in T&T is way too tedious.
CSO is a solid institution with capable statisticians, but they
are plagued, in my view, with problems associated with staffing
and, more recently, a proper head office. When data comes
out of the CSO with a time lag, it creates a problem of infor-
mation asymmetry where those with the data have a great
advantage over those depending on the output of CSO. This
limits the watchdog role of civil society as a commentator,"
Hosein said it is important for Caribbean countries to develop
their own trade theories so as to support new developmental
"The book forms a cornerstone for indigenising key ideas
and theories from the internal trade theory literature. It discusses
these key concepts in the context of the Caribbean reality, for
example, the intra Caricom migration of nurses, the diaspora
and the intra-Caricom movement of goods."
UWI economist Dr Roger Hosein:
T&T needs to leverage
China's presence in region
Continued on Page 5
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