Minster of Trade, Industry and Investment, Vasant Bharath urged local manufacturers, potential exporters and export support agencies to ‘become export competitive by improving standards and processes, expanding production and tapping into new markets’. This he said ‘is supported by the overarching goal of the Trade Policy and Strategy which allows for market expansion and diversification of production, exports and markets’.
Minister Bharath made the call to action during his Address on the opening day of the two-day Export Development Forum (EDF) themed ‘Export Growth: Maximizing Trinidad and Tobago’s Potential’ being hosted by exporTT Limited, which kicked off on Tuesday 29 October, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency. The Forum seeks to provide best practices, promote discussions on trend and opportunities in the export environment and address the impact of global trade on local exports.
Senator Bharath noted that this Forum is a clear indication that exporTT understands the tenets of its new mandate, which is ‘to create internationally competitive firms in the non-energy manufacturing and services sectors to grow and diversify trade and generate wealth through export led growth’. ExporTT is the National Export Facilitation Organisation for T&T and its activities are now focused on four areas: export growth and diversification in the goods and services sectors; increasing the international competitiveness of exporters; development of new exporters across the various sectors of interest; and, expansion to new markets, based on market research.
The Trade Minister outlined the headway which the Government has been making in improving the ease of doing business in Trinidad and Tobago to create the enabling environment for both foreign and local investors. He announced that Trinidad and Tobago is now placed 66 out of 189 countries in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business 2014 rankings, an improvement from last year’s position of 69 out of 185 countries. He commended the staff at the Trade Ministry and State Agencies on the work they have been doing to improve the ease of doing business indicators.
Professor Victor Thomas, International Keynote Speaker provided an economic review of Trinidad and Tobago’s non-energy exports and advised the 130 plus exporters and potential exporters present at the Forum to ‘take advantage of the markets where Trinidad and Tobago has signed Bilateral Trade Agreements since there are opportunities for growth and expansion’. He added that ‘there is scope for Service exports and this should be more broadly defined to include other services such as Medical Tourism and Dentistry’.
Mr, Robert Tang Yuk, Chairman, exporTT Limited in his Welcome Remarks stated that the ‘EDF 2013 is taking place in an international environment where established and traditional export markets are experiencing instability and decline, while emerging and new markets are presenting the greatest opportunity for exports and it is therefore imperative that T&T diversifies its economy and develop innovative strategies for entry into new markets’. He reiterated that exporTT’s mission is to ‘develop a sustainable and diversified export sector for T&T through forums of this nature’.
Among the countries represented at the Forum were the Bahamas, Barbados, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Trinidad and Tobago.