Trinidad and Tobago open for investment

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Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon – Photo of Sureash Cholai

Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon said Trinidad and Tobago was open for investment.

She expressed optimism that part of this investment could come from India, as efforts are made to further strengthen the economic ties between TT and India, on the way to a post-industrial era. covid19.

Speaking to a webinar on trade and business opportunities between India and Caribbean countries on Friday, Gopee-Scoon said, “TT is open to investments in agriculture and agribusiness, manufacturing, tourism, maritime activities, financial services, logistics and distribution. . “

She reminded participants that the government has developed a recovery roadmap to provide strategic guidance to rebuild a more resilient and sustainable economy in a post-pandemic world.

“Critical elements include expanding non-energy exports to traditional and non-traditional markets, improving tax incentives to promote investment, and improving the ease of doing business.”

Gopee-Scoon said, “Our current trade policy, closely aligned with our Roadmap to Recovery, aims to increase economic growth by diversifying the country’s trade in goods and services and transforming itself into an economy based on l innovation and added value in both the goods and services sectors. She said local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) could benefit from these efforts.

“These small businesses contribute significantly to our local economy and are key priorities for the expansion and growth of our national private sector development.

The importance of these businesses to the economy as major contributors to job creation and poverty reduction cannot be overstated, she said.

Citing India as one of TT’s long-standing international partners, Gopee-Scoon said TT has strengthened its ties with India through the signing of the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) and a treaty of double taxation, signed in 2007 and for an initial period of ten years. Gopee-Scoon said TT and India have expressed interest in concluding a new BIT.

“Cabinet approval has been obtained and negotiations are expected to begin within the next few months.”

The renewed BIT, continued Gopee-Scoon, “will be a useful instrument to assure investors of the government’s commitment to promote a stable, transparent and predictable national legislative environment.”

She said the double taxation agreement allows for the removal of tax barriers to facilitate cross-border trade and investment.

Although there are six Indian companies operating in TT in various sectors of the economy such as retail and food and beverage, Gopee-Scoon was convinced that more Indian companies could be encouraged to invest in TT. . Between 2020 and 2021, she said TT enjoyed a trade surplus with India, with exports valued at around US $ 189 million and imports valued at imports from India valued at US $ 75 million. U.S. dollars. Gopee-Scoon has identified Information and Communication Technology (ICT), textiles and clothing as potential areas for TT-India collaboration.

Indian High Commissioner to the TT Arun Kumar Sahu said: “The pandemic has posed great challenges for all economies large and small.

“Today we have no choice but to find ways to resume international trade and commerce in innovative ways.”

With lives and livelihoods at the center of global management during the pandemic, Sahu said covid19 continues to teach all nations how interconnected they are and that no one is safe as everyone is. in the world is not safe.

Although India’s bilateral trade with the Caribbean does not appear to be large, Sahu said the actual volume is actually larger because “many Indian products are imported from neighboring countries such as the United States, Canada, Panama and other places “.

As one of the fastest growing economies in the world, Sahu said, India has a lot to offer the Caribbean. He added that ICT and pharmaceuticals were two areas where India and the Caribbean could deepen their ties. Sahu said India’s expertise in the first case is well known.

In the latter, he said: “Every third drug that we take in any part of the world is likely to have been produced in India.

“The pandemic has re-established India as the world’s pharmacy. It is the largest producer of generics.”

In agriculture, Sahu said India is in the process of signing a memorandum of understanding with TT for cooperation in this sector and exploring a proposal from Suriname for Indian companies to explore agricultural opportunities there. . Cuba seeks cooperation with India in the areas of sugar and food processing.

He said India can also partner with Caribbean countries in renewable energy (especially wind and solar power) and medical tourism.

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