How to deal with President Trump

United States President Donald Trump has informed all nations that he will be negotiating trade deals from a position that places US national interests first. During the past 50 years of our Independence, that has always been the US’ trade stance. Our problem appeared to be that our trade negotiators naively thought that the US was pursuing a win-win agreement for both us and them at the negotiating table, only to be later confused with the one-sided outcome.

Our politicians continue to wonder why the abundant fruit of their trade agreements never appear, and have resorted to blaming the private sector for not pursuing the benefits that their advisors promised them were certain. They still seem unwilling to face the reality that they were outsmarted into opening our markets to others, while protecting others’ markets from us. We were outsmarted by the US with the Caribbean Basin Initiative. As if we had learnt nothing, we were again outsmarted by the Europeans with the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

President Trump did not recognize a win for the US in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and withdrew. We were not so fortunate with the EPA. Recognizing the damage that such an agreement can have on profitable Caribbean industries, I repeatedly requested the opportunity to review the draft trade agreement before it was signed. Our negotiators refused. I would eventually obtain a copy from the Europeans and was shocked at what I read. It was perhaps the most one-sided trade agreement that I have ever read – and I have studied all that are relevant to Barbadian service providers.

I strongly advised our negotiators not to accept the draft agreement that would likely damage the competitiveness of the Caribbean’s private sector in the most lucrative service industries. I also published a paper urging our governments not to sign it, and explained the damagingly unfair aspects of the agreement.

We had sacrificed and invested so much in the local and regional industry during the past 50 years in order to build a legacy for the next generation. However, in a few seconds, our children’s inheritance was willingly signed away. I must confess that when our politicians subsequently boasted that they had signed the one-sided agreement on our behalf, I was so distraught that I wept.

Shortly thereafter, I met one of our jubilant politicians, still basking in the glow of their illusory achievement. I explained the foreseen consequences of their decision. He noted that there were sunrise and sunset industries. I remember reading those terms in papers and presentations made by Caribbean economists. They essentially advocated sacrificing sunset industries for sunrise industries in international trade negotiations. I then understood that the EPA was not signed mainly due to incompetence or ignorance, it was intentional. We were outsmarted because our politicians embraced and acted on terrible advice.

In developing countries, it should be an offence for university based economists to offer theoretically based advice to governments, without the balance of experientially based advice from competent and experienced industry practitioners. How could anyone soberly categorize the construction industry as ‘sunset’? Even if such a ridiculous assessment was made, how could anyone actually exchange it for the ‘sunrise’ cultural industries?

Perhaps an example could explain why the Europeans were so excited at their good fortune. The construction of a US$100 million hotel in Europe would likely provide a Barbadian design team of engineers, architects and surveyors, fees of around US$15 million. It may also earn the Barbadian contractor a profit of around $20 million. Therefore, Barbados would benefit from foreign exchange of approximately US$35 million on one such hotel built in Europe.

Barbadian and Caribbean design and construction teams have the capacity to tender, and win, many such projects in Europe. But we exchanged this lucrative, mis-defined ‘sunset’ industry, for the opportunity to allow an entertainer to visit Europe, and perform for a profit of perhaps US$20,000. Of course this is a favourable exchange – for Europe. The Europeans must have been challenged to hide their excitement when our politicians gave away the most profitable and low-risk ‘sunset’ industries for the most risky and least-likely-to-be-profitable ‘sunrise’.

So, how should we deal with President Trump? We should negotiate a successful trade deal. How do other countries negotiate successful trade deals? They simply accept trade advice from their most competent and experienced citizens. How can we secure a win-win trade agreement? By following the proven model of success. How can we secure another ‘they win – we lose’ trade agreement for ourselves? By continuing to accept the advice of inexperienced but faithful political party supporters.

(Grenville Phillips II is the founder of Solutions Barbados and can be reached at

10 Responses to How to deal with President Trump

  1. Ferreira Claude
    Ferreira Claude February 22, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Boycott everything which bares his name… when you get the opportunity.

    • Daniel Polonis
      Daniel Polonis February 22, 2017 at 8:47 pm

      thats pretty easy..How ?many bajans could afford to stay in a Trump hotel

  2. L King February 22, 2017 at 3:23 pm


    What! Trump is doing exactly what governments worldwide shouldbe doing – putting their own people first.

  3. jrsmith February 22, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    @,L,K, hail, hail , on the button , this is the guy who want barbados to believe in him , the issue of trade deal most of the time doesn’t worth the paper its sign on ..
    Trade deal can take years the economy of the country depends solely on the every day business and currency trading… thats why we have stock exchanges….it took Canada 7 years for some stupid EU agreement which is now out of date….

    Donald trump is out smarting everyone , his weapon (Executive orders ) he is checking who his friends are , he is making sure he never becomes a politician.. look at his team, I wish our politicians would learn something from him, during the election he said when I win I will find the right people to help me run the country…….

    All these people mouthing off about Donald Trump, in the (US) (UK) these are people who are emigrants from countries , who couldn’t even shout , mostly from corrupt poor countries, and they lives were saved through emigrating……………………..

  4. Jennifer February 22, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    @L kING – Well said – This is why I like him and his HONESTY.

  5. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce February 22, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    Never mind how to deal with DT, How to deal with Freundel wunna need to stop being malicious and deal with the pressing matters in BIM because The President of the US couldn’t give a trump or a pence about BIM. He got bigger fish to fry.

  6. Ben Haynes Psy.D February 22, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    Well said my Brother. My wish is that Bagans will see and understand what you are saying, and begin getting guts to do their thing. What we must realize now is that Trump is going to do what is best for America, what any rationale man will do. After all, taking care of America is fair game. This thing is in the European, the white man’s DNA and why not? Well, West Indian, or Caribbean governments must learn, and practice that style regardless. What l mean here is, they must be just as bullish with a no nonsense approach in negotiations or, their dealings especially with the white man. Remember, he does not give a sh.. about you and me. I am not trying to be a racist or anti white. Just letting you know the way it is. We have too many weak ass negotiators and it is about time we let them know it. We have to stop giving away our country, our children’s future otherwise, we will only have ourselves to blame.

  7. Jennifer February 22, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    We can’t deal with Frundel, there are people bigger than he that we got to deal with. Frundel like Obaaama. What we gine do, march???? hahahahaha.

    @ Ben Haynes – sadly you have half of the story correct. But you are missing the BALL. Don’t be like the child they send outside to play. It’s in the European DNA, correct. What you do not realize is that this country and your children’s future was given away a long time ago. when these people left the caucasus they took over the whole earth and spread what they needed to including their religion Christianity. When ever our children leave the European education system they will go to work for the same people even if they are doctors pushing THEIR DRUGS on the people. PLEASE LOOK CAREFULLY AT who owns barbados wealth. Banks, Hotels, Major supermarket chains, Gas stations, restaurants, car companies, Drinks companies, insurance companies, factories, etc. What have us in lala land is that the government is still controlling certain services e.g sanitation, water, health, transport etc. Wait until these get privatize and we will see the DNA full blown in action.
    And please don’t add in any not trying to be racist etc cause what must be said must be said. MR TRUMP CAN TEACH US A THING OR TWO.

  8. Adrian February 23, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Some how I think by focusing on Trump you guys are missing the point of this article. It’s about competent negotiating; and I think the writer has a point.

  9. Grenville February 23, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Thanks Adrian. The only rational explanation is that persons did not take the time to read the article and just got triggered by Trump’s photo. If our electorate behaves in a similar manner, we are all doomed.

    Best regards,


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