MINISTER of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon is urging those in the manufacturing industry to continue to "proudly showcase" this country's talent and capability regionally and internationally.
She was speaking at the TT Manufacturers Association's (TTMA) 2022 awards ceremony on Tuesday night at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain.
A total of nine awards were given out.
The winner of the lifetime achievement award was ExporTT chairman Ashmir Mohamed.
TTMA CEO Dr Mahindra Ramesh Ramdeen said this award typically goes to someone who has significantly contributed to the growth of the manufacturing sector, the TTMA and the country "by way of service and other tangible and intangible contributions."
He said his team had a "difficult task" in choosing this year's winner.
Ramdeen said Mohamed has done "tremendous work for both industry and country," so he is "most deserving."
"He's humble, facilitating, accountable and few persons can follow in his travel footsteps of leadership."
Ramdeen said Mohamed was responsible for transforming export sales at KC Confectionery, where he was once director and corporate secretary, is a past president of the Couva/Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce, former TTMA director, among several other feats.
Trinidad Tissues Ltd won the Green Manufacturer of the Year award, CGA Ltd copped Innovator of the Year, and the award for excellence and service went to Ramps Logistics.
For the New Market Entrants – Exporter of the Year award, Lazuri Apparel won in the small and medium enterprises category, while Nutrimix won in the large category.
For Manufacturers of the Year, Resscott Ltd won in the small category, Sheik Lisha Ltd won for medium and Blue Waters, large.
Gopee Scoon said the night was one to celebrate "excellence," and that she's "pleased with the growth, strength (and) resilience" of the manufacturing industry.
"...And, therefore, to the awardees, I say by you raising the bar, you encourage the development and application of new ideas based on your best practices and you inspire others to follow in your footsteps on our journey to transform our economy."
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 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.