TRADE Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon says the trade treaty between Caricom and Colombia needs to be updated to deepen trade relations. The minister was speaking Monday night aboard the Colombian flagship ARC Gloria which was docked at the Cruise Ship Complex, Port of Spain.
She recalled in September she had visited Colombia to intensify trade relations, and said TT already had great responses from Colombia. She said some local agencies, including exporTT and InvesTT, have started talking “pro-Colombia.”
“So we’re well on our way to intensifying the relationship and particularly at the level of Caricom.” She said the trade relations exist on the basis of an “age-old” Caricom/Colombia trade agreement.
“It’s too old and so Caricom has taken the decision that they will move ahead again looking at the products that are on the list to trade and preferential duties between both countries. So at this stage, even at the Caricom level, we are going to move forward and seek to deepen the trade relations.”
She said the visit of the ARC Gloria was a signal of the bonds that exist between TT and Colombia. Embassy of Colombia to TT Chargé D’Affaires Paola Andrea Mosquera said the mission of the ARC Gloria is to be a goodwill ambassador while serving as a training vessel for the young members of the TT navy.
She said the vessel has travelled the equivalent of 13 trips around the world and has visited 192 ports in 74 countries “always carrying a message of friendship, harmony and peace.” She said since the middle of the last century inter-Caribbean trade between Colombia and the islands has increased tremendously.
“Fortunately in recent years the mutual interest of doing business has been revived, especially between Colombia and TT. The bonds of friendship between our countries are becoming stronger as well as our cooperation in different areas. In terms of trade we are very optimistic.”
Mosquera said Colombia recently hosted a trade mission for TT in Bogota with very positive results and a week ago the vice minister of trade was in Port of Spain intensifying the conversations which took place in the Colombian capital.
“We are delighted with the progress and addition in our commercial relations and we will do every thing to make them more fruitful.”