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Open economy unrealistic says Sir Louis

Open economy unrealistic says Sir Louis


Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Trade Minister Sir Louis Straker, believes that the idea of an open economy is unrealistic for small states, unless productive capacities are enhanced to strengthen competitiveness in sourcing scarce resources.

Sir Louis made this remark while addressing a Private Sector Organisation and Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery Trade Workshop on Tuesday.{{more}}

According to the Trade Minister, at the international trade level, threats to non-reciprocal preferences especially bananas and sugar remain, while globally there has been an erosion of support for non-reciprocity and special one-way preferences to small developing economies.

“The international environment in which businesses are asked to compete is indeed a tough one,” Sir Louis acknowledged.

Sir Louis said: “In many quarters, I hear of the ultimate benefits of an open and competitive economy. I believe this glorious picture is unrealistic for us unless all our productive capacities are brought to bear on developing a competitive method of allocating our scarce resources, thus reducing input costs and providing the wider availability of technology and opportunities for far-sighted and risk-taking entrepreneurs.”

From this perspective, Sir Louis said, small economies would fail to benefit except through adequate access to the global market place.

“We cannot ignore the role of political interventions in trade, as is very evident in the present banana dispute and the regulation of offshore finance,” the Trade Minister highlighted.

Sir Louis pointed out that small states must develop strategic vision for their future development.

Highlighting the importance of public-private partnership initiatives, the Trade Minister acknowledged that the competitiveness of small developing states is as a result of some contributions from private public sector partnership. Increasing productivity, attracting both domestic and foreign investment, creating economic and environmental stability and public sector efficiency, he said, were some of the undertakings achieved through contributions from public private partnership initiatives.

He urged private institutions to play their part in modernising their businesses, placing emphasis on research and market development, if they are to survive in the new business environment.