High Commissioner of India to Trinidad and Tobago Arun Kumar Sahu said since his appointment,, he has pushed for Indian businesses to do more trade with Caribbean countries, especially TT.
Sahu was speaking to businessmen from India and TT during a video conference to address bilateral trade and investment opportunities between the two countries post-covid19.
The event was hosted by the High Commission and the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).
“As you are aware, the pandemic has offered grave challenges to all economies, big and small,” he said. “Today, we are left with no other choice but to find ways to resume international commerce and trade innovatively.”
He said because of TTs connections with Europe, North and South America, the country is an ideal base for intra-Caribbean commerce and trade.
“The Caribbean businesses should try to reach beyond their comfort zones of doing business with North America or Europe.
He said India, being one of the largest growing economies globally, has a lot to offer in terms of the quality and pricing of commodities and services.
He said the High Commission has identified ten focused sectors the two countries can look at for future co-operation. These include information technology, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and agro-biotechnology, new energy (particularly wind and solar), tourism (including medical tourism), textiles and garments, higher education, the automobile sector, entertainment, and Ayurveda and wellness.
“One of the critical challenges of doing business with a small island country is their small market size,” he said, adding the population of TT is 1.3 million. “Nevertheless, there are niche areas that can be looked at.”
He also said the High Commission is working closely with Grenada in exchanging technical expertise, technology, and training in the agriculture sector.
“All three countries that I am accredited to as High Commissioner of India (TT, Grenada and Dominica) are active partners in our international solar alliance and development partnership programme.”
He added the commission has partnered with these countries in environmental protection and clean energy.
“I think the fundamentals of robust corporation are strong, and it is up to the entrepreneurs of both sides to take the initiatives.”
He said both Grenada and Dominica have a citizenship by investment programme for potential Indian investors and Indians can travel to all three countries for three months without a visa.
“I sense that Indian firms are yet to explore the true potential of these pristine islands.”
Also in attendance was regional chairman, North Region (India) of the FIEO, Ashwani Kumar, who said there was tremendous potential for two-way trade and investment. Kumar said the FIEO would send a trade delegation to TT as soon as international travel resumes.
He said an appropriate framework in the form of bilateral memoranda of understanding (MOUs) can facilitate institutionalised co-operation between the two countries.