The entire outlook for the world economy and T&T is very uncertain following Tuesday's US presidential election victory for Donald Trump, says Finance Minister Colm Imbert.
Speaking in Parliament debate yesterday, Imbert said he had been up until 4 am watching the "very unexpected developments in the US."
He added: "When you take the implications of the recent Brexit (Britain exiting the European Union) with what occurred in America, the outlook for the world economy, (and) we in T&T, is uncertain. The Dow (financial) index has dropped significantly... 750 points. The whole situation is uncertain.
"As we go forward, we'll see what happens but the fact of the matter is we have to be very, very careful as a small open economy going forward facing serious challenges, depressed commodity prices and decline in oil and gas production."
Opposition MP Dr Bhoe Tewarie, who spoke after Imbert, congratulated the new US administration.
"I congratulate the new President in his election by the democratic process to the seat of President of that important country. I hope his term of office will be constructive, fruitful and impact positively on the world system and the US."
Prior to Parliament, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister's Stuart Young told reporters the results may impact T&T's issue with the US concerning compliance with the crucial Foreign Account Taxation Agreement (FATCA).
That caused grave concern in September when passage of legislation for the agreement failed in Parliament before a deadline. Imbert subsequently apprised the US Treasury Department of T&T's progress in meeting FATCA obligations and T&T is now considered to have an agreement "in effect."
However, the US will be monitoring T&T's progress into 2017 and T&T must achieve full compliance by the next deadline or risk US sanctions. US Ambassador John Estrada had urged Government to pass the legislation, on the Parliament's agenda as the next item for debate, no later than February 2017.
Young said: "The new US presidency doesn't come into effect until January 2017. We're not expecting any effect on the discussions we have had with the US Treasury. We'll continue to press ahead with the FATCA debate shortly after today's motion."
On possible effect on T&T from Trump's campaign plan to deport undocumented people, National Security Minister Edmund Dillon said if people were deported, measures would have to be taken to treat with them when they came to T&T.
Currently, Government receives advanced passenger information–records and arrival time–on all US deportees to T&T and would seek to continue that arrangement.
But he said he had no reason to expect an increase in deportees. "We'll have to wait and see what policies are enunciated by the new US Government, not only concerning T&T but also the wider Caribbean," he added.
"Historically, we have had that kind of relationship with the US and from where I stand, I don't see any reason why it should be curtailed.
"We just have to wait and see what the new government's policies are. But based on the T&T-US relationship over the years, I firmly believe there won't be any drastic changes," he added.