Three Recent Occurrences Have Captured The Attention Of A Global Audience Due To Their Potential Indirect And Direct Global Impact
Keynote Speaker Mr. Sree Ramaswamy,
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith,
PSOJ Executives and Guest Panelists,
Sponsors the JMMB Group, Continental Baking Company, GB Energy Group, DRT Communications, Lucralux Marketing and the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel,
the general PSOJ Membership and other invited guests
…………. Good Morning.
I take great pleasure in using this opportunity to welcome each and every one to the 2017 staging of The PSOJ/JMMB Annual Economic Forum, which is themed, “Global Expectations: Predicting Economic Trends in an uncertain Global Environment – implications for Jamaican Companies”.
The PSOJ/JMMB Annual Economic Forum has amassed for itself an enviable reputation of being an important avenue for key decision makers, opinion leaders, and members of the business and academia fraternity to engage in high level discussions and in-depth analysis of the Jamaican economy.
The Annual Economic Forum prides itself on bringing to the forefront, issues affecting the economy which are both current and impactful, and this year’s staging is no different.
The present global economic climate has been marred by uncertainties, which have become apparent in the manifestation of policy reformations, political confrontations, scandals and departures from long-standing treaties/agreement resulting in much discomfort and anxiety on a local, regional and international level.
Three recent occurrences have captured the attention of a global audience due to their potential indirect and direct global impact; that being, the withdrawal of The United Kingdom from the European Union, the outcome of the United States Presidential Election and the crises being experienced in Venezuela.
On 23 June 2016, The British government held a referendum on the issue of Brexit of which the majority voted to leave the European Union. The initial effect of this decision was a loss of about 9 percent in the value of the British pound, one week subsequent to the vote. It is theorized that Britain could experience more fallouts as time progresses hence the global state of anxiety being felt amidst the likelihood of the reformation of policies governing trade.
The Donald Trump administration has brought about its own uncertainties, particularly in the arena of trade policy, migration and mass deportation, and climate change. The US is the largest trading partner in the Caribbean and remittance contributes significantly to the foreign currencies in the region, hence any decision relating to trade policies and migration will have some amount of impact regionally.
It goes without saying oil’s importance to an economy. Hence the price of oil will be affected significantly, utility services and also commodity prices. The recent Venezuelan crisis and the continuing war in the Middle East has raised concern about impacts on exports and oil prices.
I think that the topic this year is particularly important because what is happening globally does affect Jamaica. And we in Jamaica, businesses in Jamaica, have to accept that — while a lot of us are sort of internally focused — the economic environment that we live in is really formed from outside of Jamaica. And there are a lot of events that are occurring, almost on a daily basis, that are really affecting our own decisions.
When we talk about almost daily where the Jamaican dollar is, we also need to consider whether it is the right narrative because, at the end of the day, inflation is a very, very important measurement. But where the Jamaican dollar is, is not necessarily the most important measurement. There needs to be less focus on the Jamaican dollar and possibly more focus on the inflationary policy. This is critical as what happens externally we have less control over it, however we can seek to balance the areas that we have greater control over.
In light of these economic occurrences, the forum is timely as it provides further opportunity to carefully monitor global activities that can help the country alleviate the impact of negative externalities and gain insights and input from the relevant experts.
We are elated to have with us McKinsey & Company’s partner and lead researcher on digitization, competition and the impact of multinational companies on the global economy, Mr. Sree Ramaswamy who will deliver the main address having had extensive experience in technology, trade and investment and the global and US economic outlook.
I would also like to welcome our Foreign Affairs Minister, Kamina Johnson-Smith, who is well poised to speak to the headwinds we face in an ever changing world where diplomacy is of utmost importance.
Before I take my leave, allow me to once again welcome you to the 2017 staging of the PSOJ/JMMB Annual Economic Forum and thank you for your participation. it is my hope that the session will be engaging and insightful, producing an atmosphere that allows for the formulation of strategic plans and practical solutions that will enhance the business community.
Thank you. BM
Editor’s Note: The above is a paraphrased version of President of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, Paul B. Scott’s welcome & opening remarks at the PSOJ/JMMB Annual Economic Forum held on Tuesday, July 18, 2017.
Kindly note he did not speak specifically to the script. Additional notes were inserted for completeness. In addition to this information, Scott in his address noted there was need for Jamaica to increase its productivity in order for the economy to thrive in an unexpected global environment.