The ties between Trinidad and Tobago and China are set to get stronger as State-owned asphalt production company, Lake Asphalt, yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Chinese firm Beijing Oriental Yuhong Waterproofing Technology Co Ltd.
The MOU will be the first step in negotiations between Lake Asphalt and Yuhong to possibly establish a manufacturing plant in La Brea, near Lake Asphalt’s operations, the company’s chief executive Leary Hosein told the Express.
The signing ceremony was held at the Hyatt Regency (Trinidad), Port of Spain as the country prepared for the arrival of Chinese President Xi Jinping later yesterday for a three-day official visit.
The decision to go into these negotiations was first considered after a Lake Asphalt delegation visited China and Yuhong’s operations, and observed the way the firm used the raw asphalt material in creating refined products.
“This MOU positions Lake Asphalt on a global stage through a partnership with one of the largest waterproofing companies in the world. It fits into the government’s strategy of diversifying the economy, growing foreign exchange earnings and spurring employment,” Lake Asphalt chairman Ashley Taylor said.
Yuhong’s chairman Li Weiguo said this project will set the company on track to become the largest waterproofing company in the world.
“Yuhong will make full use of T&T’s asphalt and share our waterproofing technology. These plans will be subdivided into three phases (for establishment). After that sales revenue will be estimated at $1 billion and the plant will employ 1,000 local workers,” he said.
While Hosein said a cost and timeframe would be too early to determine just yet, Li said that once the plant beings manufacturing, Trinidad’s products will be used by customers all over the world, including Brazil, as they prepare to host two of the world’s biggest sporting events—World Cup 2014 and the Rio Olympics two years later.
Yuhong is engaged in research, manufacture, distribution and technology consulting of new construction waterproof materials. Its products are classified into waterproof membranes and waterproof coatings, including styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS) modified asphalt membranes, atactic polypropylene (APP) modified asphalt membranes, self-adhesive modified asphalt membranes, compound polymer membranes, sealing materials, solvent rubber asphalt waterproof coatings and water type rubber asphalt waterproof coatings, among others. The company also involves in undertaking of waterproof projects. It operates its businesses primarily in the domestic market.
Lake Asphalt is a wholly owned State enterprise under the purview of the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago. The company is located near the Pitch Lake in La Brea and is charged with the mining, refining, manufacture and distribution of high quality road building materials and other asphalt-related products. The company was incorporated in 1978, although commercial production at the Pitch Lake first began in 1868, its website says.