WITH the 26th Trade and Investment Convention (TIC) being deemed a success, catering to about 300 different businesses which resulted in deals worth tens of millions of dollars, stakeholders are already looking forward to next year’s convention.
But the convention may become too big for its current location at the Centre of Excellence in Macoya and as such, both the TT Manufacturers Association (TTMA) and government have been discussing the idea of building their own convention centre, not only to host the TIC, but for all private and public sector entities needing a venue to highlight their products and services.
TTMA CEO Ramesh Ramdeen, revealed this at the launch of the 2020 TIC at Price Plaza, Chaguanas earlier this week. Ramdeen said talks are being held with Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon, on the idea. He said it would be imperative for TT to have a platform for trade conventions, “if we intend to remain the business hub of the Caribbean.”
“We need to have a state-of-the-art convention centre,” Ramdeen said, “Not in NAPA, which is mostly for the arts and that sort of thing, but something to promote business. Barbados has it, Jamaica has something like it, and we TT want to be the business hub of the Caribbean, so we have to have something like that.”
Ramdeen said TIC 2019 garnered some US$50 million in business deals and he expects that number to double within the next six months. He said it was an opportunity for the public and private sectors to partner. “The minister has endorsed this position now and it is just for the rest of her cabinet to agree to something of this nature. And I know they like the idea. We are discussing it and we are hopeful.”
Gopee-Scoon said government is actively considering the idea. “They made a request to us and the prospects are good. We are looking at all the reasons why we should (have a convention centre).
We have always been a key partner and if something is to happen it will happen,” she said.
Gopee-Scoon commended the Association for their continued and growing contribution to the manufacturing sector and lauded them for their recent assistance with donations to hurricane-ravaged Bahamas. She said the TIC continues to play an integral role in the development of manufacturing in TT, and transformation of the overall economy.
“Building and sustaining a manufacturing sector capable of competing in the international arena requires innovative manufacturing processes, continuous research and development, technological advancement, skills training and strategic risk mitigation strategies. Manufacturers must therefore transform existing methodologies and challenge current approaches and think outside the box,” she said.
The TIC is a yearly convention which is held in July, and displays new developments from local manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers and service providers. This year, the convention was held between the fourth and seventh of July.