THIS country will be undertaking more trade missions overseas as part of Government’s strategy to help diversify the economy. This was disclosed by Permanent Secretary in the Trade and Industry Ministry Norris Herbert at the launch of the 2019 Trade and Investment Convention (TIC) in Chaguanas on Wednesday.
Recalling that several trade missions left TT for various countries under the tenure of former trade minister Ken Valley (deceased), Herbert said the ministry is returning to that strategy and “upping the ante.” He said missions recently visited key strategic markets including Jamaica and Colombia.
Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon led the mission to Colombia. Herbert said other missions planned for the rest of the year include ones to Canada, Guyana and Haiti.
Reiterating the Government’s commitment to TIC, Herbert said the launch of TIC 2019 soon after the conclusion of TIC 2018 in July “represents the enthusiasm of our manufacturers and the private sector in contributing to the sustainable development” of the economy.
At TIC 2018, Herbert said the ministry’s “Proudly TT” campaign was launched. He challenged members of the private sector “to further intensify your efforts aimed at helping the government in its economic diversification thrust.”
Herbert said for many business people “the TIC remains a useful vehicle for local, regional and international manufacturers to help promote their businesses, reach new customers and even forge new business relationships.”
He observed that TIC 2018 attracted over 15,200 participants. This included 177 local companies and 35 regional and international enterprises from 16 countries. Herbert added that 23 business sectors including food and beverage, construction and agriculture were showcased at TIC 2018. He reminded his audience of the ministry’s Grant Fund Facility to help small businesses acquire machinery and equipment up a maximum value of $250,000. “The facility is up and running and ready to receive applications,” Herbert said.
Herbert identified the ministry’s research and development fund, launched last November as another initiative to help economic diversification.
“This fund provides funding of up to $1 million to help stimulate and support investment in new and advanced technology and innovation in the non-energy manufacturing and services sectors,” he said.
Speaking afterwards with Newsday, TT Manufacturers Association CEO Dr Ramesh Ramdeen said of 200 booths at TIC 2019, 87 per cent have already been booked. TIC 2019 will be held at the Centre of Excellence in Macoya.