Some Useful Basics in our Trade & Development
1964, world trade stood at an estimated US$ 175 billion (according to the UN's International Trade Centre) of which the developing countries had a share of below 20%. Today, global trade is estimated at US$ 18 trillion, with developing countries accounting for around 45% of this. True, that share is unevenly balanced but it is fair to say that most developing countries have seen an increase in trade in the past decades. The world is certainly on the right path in this respect
Changes to global trade are set to continue in the coming years, too. The emergence of international value chains will continue to affect trade patterns. We are seeing new forms of regionalism and there will be a significant growth of trade in service perhaps the greatest potential for small countries like our own. We can also likely expect greater incidence of non-tariff measures (as importing countries try to protect local production…) , higher and more volatile commodity prices, and climate change, all of which will continue to affect trade.
Where Dominica specifically is concerned, and because of the nature of small island economies, development is often government activity-led. There has been growth in the last few years, but not exactly spectacular. GDP (Gross Domestic Product – i.e. general economic growth) registered an estimated 3.4% percent in 2014 continuing from growth of 1.7% in 2013. According to the official Statistical Dept, this performance resulted mainly from (not surprisingly) much activity in the public sector (viz: Public Administration, Education, Financial Intermediation, Water Supply, Health, Social Work, etc
But the more traditional (private sector) also showed some minimal increases: Construction, Wholesale and Retail Trade, Hotels and Restaurants, Electricity, Real Estate, Renting and Business Activities, Manufacturing, and Fishing. Growth, unfortunately, was generally less for the more productive sectors of Agriculture, Livestock and Forestry, the Transport, Storage and Communications, and the Mining and Quarrying Sectors. You will note the Services sector is not yet on the "map" (outside of tourism related), but as mentioned earlier, it has great export potential in the long-term. Next issue, more specifics on the actual trade figures for Dominica.