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UWI lecturer calls for better Caricom trade under Trump

Published: 
Sunday, January 15, 2017

A UWI lecturer is calling on T&T and other Caricom member states to establish a united proposal to improve and further develop trade and other relations with the United States under US President-elect Donald Trump, who takes office on Friday.

Lecturer in International Relations at the St Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies, Dr Mark Kirton, said that in an interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday.

Asked what could T&T expect from the Trump administration, Kirton said: “The only thing that is predictable about the Trump administration so far is its unpredictability.”

He said Caricom leaders “should have met and have a seamless, unified approachon the Donald Trump presidency.

That issue is expected to be discussed during next month’s Caricom Inter-sessional Heads of Government Meeting in Georgetown, Guyana. Kirton said he was hopeful the leaders would develop a focused approach to the new US administration and then seek an audience with the Secretary of State”

He insisted that meeting should approached in a structured manner.

Kirton said issues of as immigration, security and climate change were key issues of note under the new administration.

He said based on campaign statements by Trump, there was the possibility of immigration changes for the people of the Caribbean region.

Dealing with the issue of trade, Kirton said initial impressions from the incoming US President showed he was articulating “a kind of protectionist approach”, which could be of concern to Caribbean states.

The United States was one of T&T’s largest trading partners, he noted. He said in that regard there was an uncertainty, but T&T would have to look carefully and ensure it analysed where it could maintain that link with the US.

He said, however, there was not an adequate level of clarity so far on Trump’s approaches.

Kirton said Trump’s stance on climate change during last year’s US Presidential election campaign represented a threat to the continuity of the environmental and climate change policy emerging from the US.

The UWI lecturer said: “Trump is not operating as if he would continue to deal with this issue.

“I think that too is a potential issue that T&T has to be concerned about and to look at. His commitment to climate change and the environment as threats to small states like T&T.”

Kirton also said he did not see interventions and programmes to deal with potential deviant behaviour among youths in this country on Trump’s agenda initially.

He said the people of the region had reason to be concerned about Trump’s presidency, adding that he did not think belive the people on the streets were unmindful of those changes which could impact them.

He said there was a large Caribbean population in the US that could be impacted.