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Holness says US trade policy could affect growth

Jamaica Observer

Holness says US trade policy could affect growth

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KINGSTON – Prime Minister Andrew Holness yesterday admitted that Jamaica’s growth projections could be disrupted by possible changes to US trade policy.

“It is a possibility. It is a new (US) Administration and we are not sure what new trade policies they will introduce, and they could affect us,” the prime minister told the Jamaica Observer last night.

He was responding to questions on information included in his Government’s fiscal policy paper which was the main focus of attention at the start of the review of the 2017/18 Estimates of Expenditure by the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives at Gordon House yesterday.

The fiscal policy paper, which is a requirement of the Financial Administration and Audit Act, was tabled by Finance Minister Audley Shaw and reviewed by Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis.

In the policy paper Shaw said that the estimates were crafted to satisfy the requirements and targets outlined under the new Precautionary Stand-by Arrangement with the International Monetary Fund, as well as enhanced fiscal rules.

However, Shaw added that he was aware of challenges, including volatility and uncertainty in the movement of some commodity prices, particularly oil and alumina, and subdued global economic growth in 2016 estimated at 3.1 per cent.

“The outlook for 2017 is for marginally higher growth rates ranging between 3.4 per cent and 3.6 per cent. However, uncertainty remains with respect to the US policy stance. It is against this background that financial year 2017/18 has been crafted,” Shaw wrote in the fiscal policy paper. (Jamaica Observer)