Trinidad’s Trade Minister leads Port Of Spain business delegation to Guangzhou
Senator Vasant Bharath – Trinidad & Tobago’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment and Minister in the Ministry of Finance and the Economy led a contingent of Port Of Spain business persons to InvesTT Limited’s third and final Business Forum held in Guangzhou, the People’s Republic of China on Friday 28 February, 2014.
His sales pitch to the potential investors was ‘Trinidad and Tobago is the Southern-most Caribbean State which is seen as the gateways to the Americas; it is ideally positioned below the hurricane belt; it has a low cost of energy which is 3.5¢ per kilowatt-hour; it has a politically and economically stable environment; and a highly literate and educated workforce‘. As the Trade and Investment Minister for Trinidad and Tobago, Bharath said that he considers his role as the ‘chief sales person’ for his country and as such, his ‘main objective is to sell Trinidad and Tobago as an investment destination‘ to the 80 plus participants at the Guangzhou Forum.
The Trade Minister said that ‘in the Ministry’s continued drive to attract investors, it has started a process of modernization of institutions under its Ministry to ensure when an investors come to Trinidad and Tobago they are greeted with “arms open wide” by invesTT, the investment Facilitation Agency and One Stop Shop, which provides the information and guidance you require; and when you do invest to provide the aftercare service’.
In addition to institutional strengthening, the Ministry has been working with the World Bank to improve the Ease of Doing Business indicators to make it easier to do business in Trinidad and Tobago. He announced that ‘by May 2014 the time taken to clear a container will be reduced from 19 days to 3 days; and the acquisition of a construction permit will be reduced from 300 days to 3 weeks‘.
The Senator added ‘with the development of the dry-docking and transshipment facilities in La Brea, we will be looking for equity participation from the private sector or organizations who understand what it takes to operate a Port, since we do not have this expertise in T&T‘. In closing, Minister Bharath called on the investors to ‘invest in a rising star in the West, for China is no doubt truly a rising star in the East‘.
Mrs. Racquel Moses, President, invesTT Limited, spoke briefly on the role of invesTT in attracting and retaining investors into Trinidad and Tobago, stating that invesTT is currently leading in the development of a country brand so that ‘we can communicate what the country has to offer to the rest of the world‘.
Also delivering brief Remarks was Mr. Zeng Kaizhang, President of the Guangzhou Sub-Bureau of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, the People’s Republic of China, who was grateful for the opportunity to collaborate in an effort to improve the economic position of both countries.