Trinidad and Tobago continued to be an important trading partner with the United States, having recorded $12.5 billion in exports for 2020, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said on Friday.
At a virtual meeting on July 23, line minister Paula Gopee-Scoon and charge d’affaires of the US Embassy Shante Moore said there was potential for more collaboration and investment in the non-energy sector, a ministry release said.
The ministry said data from the Central Statistical Office for January-November last year showed imports were valued at $11.3 billion.
The main products exported were iron ore, anhydrous ammonia, liquefied natural gas, methanol, urea, aromatic bitters, other crude petroleum and yellowfin tuna.
The top imported products included drilling platforms, other wheat and meslin, appliances, other food preparations, other chemical products and iron ores and concentrates.
The ministry said, “The US is TT’s top trading partner and continues to be an important market for the country’s products. TT recorded positive trade balances with the US over the period 2016-2019, with exports averaging $19 billion over the four-year period and imports averaging $14.7 billion.”
Gopee-Scoon said both countries were seeking trade expansion in the non-energy sector, since “TT was an ideal location for investments in the areas of manufacturing, agro-processing and maritime activities given its geographic location, skilled labour force, low electricity rates, market access through trade agreements and existing industrial parks.”
Moore added that US companies were seeking reputable business partners in the region and was hopeful the 2021 Trade Americas, Caribbean Region Trade Mission and Business Conference would be a great networking venture. The event takes place from October 24-29 in Miami.
“It will include region-specific sessions, market entry strategies, export compliance, legal, logistics, disaster resilience and recovery and trade financing resources. Following the mission, interested companies will travel to markets of interest to pursue business deals,” he said.
Moore added there were currently six US companies interested in collaborations in the information communications technology (ICT), food and beverage and energy sectors.
Other areas discussed included intellectual property rights enforcement in TT, increased collaboration in the area of illicit trade and trade facilitation reforms to improve the ease of doing business locally.
Gopee-Scoon said government was focused on the digital agenda, having formed the Ministry of Digital Transformation for this specific purpose.
TT’s products have benefited from preferential access to the US under the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) since 2005. These arrangements have been extended to Caribbean countries until 2030.