Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, shares a joke with??Deloitte??Partner and ACCA International Assembly Representative, Betty Brathwaite. (S. Patel)

Entrepreneurs need to gain a better understanding of opportunities created through bilateral and multilateral agreements, and as a result, it is imperative that accountants become familiar with the intricacies of these agreements.

This was emphasised by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, last Monday as she delivered the feature presentation at the launch of the Accounting Students’ Association’s week of activities 2012.?? It was held at the Mount Restaurant, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus.

Stating that "we do not exist in a vacuum", Minister McClean noted that Barbados was part of an international arrangement that engages the world on a bilateral and multilateral basis.?? She also pointed out that each member state of CARICOM undertakes bilateral agreements with countries in the region and beyond.?? Furthermore, she said collectively, CARICOM signs a number of agreements that benefit the region.

"At the bilateral level, or at the bases in which individual countries engage with each other, a number of trade and cooperative arrangements are signed.?? As an accountant, you are a business advisor, and you need to know about these things," she explained to the students, adding: "You can then advise business persons how to take advantage of a trade agreement that was signed with the European Union or one that was signed with Brazil."

The Foreign Affairs Minister noted that at the multilateral level, Barbados was a part of the global family, specifically, the United Nations’ family of countries.?? Commenting that the island was also a member of various international financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund, the Inter-American Development

Bank and the World Bank, she pointed out that Barbados was consequently, subject to "a number of international agreements and conventions".

"These various agreements and conventions guide what we do.?? So for example, as a member of the World Bank, you need to understand what is required for businesses in different countries to engage with each other," Minister McClean stated.

"With respect to the whole business of accounting as a profession, we often think as Caribbean people we should work in the private or public sector, but there are also opportunities for careers in some of these international institutions.?? Not only do they create opportunities in terms of direct employment but they also establish rules and procedures by which we have to abide in terms of multilateral arrangements that exist," she further explained.

Senator McClean remarked that these agreements provided countries and businesses with the option to match resources that could allow for simultaneous growth for both parties.??

Reiterating that it was for this reason accountants should understand the potential that could be generated by taking advantage of bilateral and multilateral agreements, she asked the students to regard their field as "more than balance sheets and profit and loss statements and to embrace the changing role of the accountants".


Author: Shamkoe Pil??

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