The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) celebrated the launch of its trade and business portal – a one-stop hub for accurate and up-to-date business and investment information – at the Trinidad Hilton, Port of Spain, on Wednesday.
Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon in her feature address assured that the ministry is committed to closely coordinating with both the public and private sector as well as international organisations to ensure that the portal will be continuously updated.
“The business community and other stakeholders will now have a useful tool that would help them find information to facilitate and accelerate trade and business decisions and activities,” she said.
Gopee-Scoon said the portal will treat with issues that have resulted in Trinidad and Tobago being ranked 79th on global competitiveness out of 140 countries.
“A major requisite to improve our ranking lies in the need to enhance the effectiveness of our institutions through digital transformation,” she said. “In light of this, digital transformation is a critical pillar in our national policies.”
The minister added that the MTI is also pursuing initiatives that would improve trade and business environments which include electronic payments, which will soon be available through TTBizLink and DevelopTT; business process re-engineering, which would simplify business processes and align current major regulatory trade processes with international best practices and implementation of the WTO facilitation agreement, entered into force globally on 2017 and cites predictability and transparency as cornerstones to the agreement.
TTMA president Tricia Coosal said the portal will also give businesses and other stakeholders access to information on prerequisites for importing and exporting goods, which in the past was difficult to access.
“This opens the world of possibilities with regard to how trade data can be viewed and analysed,” she said. “It, therefore, enables better business decisions about what product is needed for a particular market at any given time.”
The portal, Coosal said, has the potential to help TT realise one of its long-term business and trade objectives – gaining a competitive advantage in the international arena in the area of ease of doing business.
“If the time taken to send documents and receive approvals from various agencies is reduced significantly, this allows for containers to be cleared at the port in a shorter time frame. This in turn will reduce overhead costs leading to increased competitiveness.”