VASHTI G GUYADEEN
The age-old adage, "necessity is the mother of invention," holds a profound resonance for me.
Over the past four years, we've focused on fostering a group of internationally competitive services exporters and firms.
However, it became clear that a critical element was lacking.
Our research pinpointed the key obstacles preventing TT services from achieving regional and global dominance. Consequently, we were faced with the following questions: how could the TT Coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI) facilitate rapid assistance? What action plan could yield a significant impact? How could we link buyers with firms? What measures should be taken to widen the reach of the twenty-two certified services exporters who had just completed the intensive Gateway to Trade Export Accelerator programme?
In the midst of the pandemic, a clarity of thought began to emerge – service firms in TT and the wider Caribbean were in dire need of market intelligence, not just internationally, but regionally as well. This requirement exceeded the regular "doing business" briefings provided by various business support organisations. The pandemic recast the role of intelligence. Pre-pandemic, market intelligence gathering was sporadic. Now, these firms cannot afford the luxury of time, underlining the crucial importance of a well-structured and action-oriented market intelligence strategy. This insight led to the inception of TTCSI's Doing Business with the World series.
Over a span of nine months, we aim to enlighten the business community across 28 markets with relevant, market-specific intelligence. Renowned industry leaders, ambassadors, and government officials will share crucial insights about their respective countries, facilitating a platform to strengthen trade relations without physical border-crossing. This epitomises the value of investing in services. The International Trade Centre's Global Trade Outlook 2023 noted that the future of trade is in services. Additionally, the World Trade Organization highlighted the almost quadrupled increase in the value of globally exported digitally delivered services since 2005, reaching US$3.82 trillion in 2022. This uncovers enormous potential for the Caribbean – provided we establish the necessary environment to foster service industries. This is where TTCSI steps in.
Through our Doing Business with the World series, we do more than provide information – we leverage our national services exporters portal, which has evolved into an international services hub, to connect buyers and sellers. Interactions occur real-time through this online portal, eliminating time zone differences.
We plan to go beyond that.
In building a nation of exporters, we believe it's essential to embrace the culture and cuisine of your priority markets. That's why we're placing emphasis on learning, tasting, and experiencing the culture and cuisine of the 28 countries in focus. TTCSI's approach is holistic, recognizing that collective effort is critical in attaining our goals. We invite you to join us on this transformative journey.
Vashti G Guyadeen is the CEO of TT Coalition of Services Industries.