TRADE Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon has said Trinidad and Tobago has "turned a pivotal corner in the course of economic recovery."
She was speaking at the TT Manufacturers Association's (TTMA) 2022 awards ceremony on Tuesday night at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain.
She said the sector's performance has been exceptional and that this is "clearly demonstrated in the data...With the manufacturing sector accounting for approximately 20 per cent (of our) GDP."
She said although she's been saying the sector has employed 52,000 people, she believes that number has since significantly increased. She has projected the total output in the sector by the end of the year to be approximately $28.1 billion.
The food and beverage industry, she said, has the "largest component, 28 per cent," when it comes to the non-energy sector.
Non-energy exports increased by 1.8 per cent and the non-manufacturing sector exports increased by 24 per cent, she said.
She said global disruptions due to the covid19 pandemic have highlighted the need for the development of "diverse, flexible and more integrated supply chains."
The ministry will do two studies – a diagnostic assessment of links between the manufacturing, creative, tourism and agriculture sectors, "to identify opportunities for improving substitution and manufacturing," and one mapping the existing regional value chains of the manufacturing sector's backward and forward linkages to "identify new opportunities to increase regional integration."
She said trade is a "critical engine" that drives economic and social transformation in TT.
"The government realised and remains committed to reduce trade barriers between ourselves and countries in the region."