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Vol.18 No.3 – December 2018<br />

The Voice of Business in Trinidad & Tobago<br />

Looking<br />

Outwards<br />

The art and science of exporting<br />

Champion exporter: SM Jaleel<br />

Export markets | Trade deals<br />

Non-tariff barriers | Support agencies

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Vol.18 No.3 – December 2018<br />

Contents<br />


Directors of SM Jaleel: Dr Mikaeel<br />

Mohammed (seated) and Eesa<br />

Mohammed, Vice President, Marketing<br />

(Photo courtesy TTCIC)<br />

07<br />

A note from the editor<br />

Natalie Dookie introduces this<br />

issue of CONTACT<br />

08<br />

SM Jaleel:<br />

global exporter<br />

Kalifa Sarah Clyne profiles the<br />

winner of the T&T Chamber’s<br />

prestigious annual award and its<br />

global brands<br />

14<br />

The will to export<br />

Joel Henry sits down with the CEO of<br />

exporTT to talk about the agency’s<br />

activities and plans, and detects a new<br />

energy in the national export drive<br />

20<br />

Know your<br />

export markets<br />

Every overseas market has its own<br />

characteristics. Lisa Douglas-Paul<br />

looks at our main target areas and<br />

what to expect from each one<br />


25<br />

29<br />

32<br />

Breaking into Europe<br />

The European Union is a<br />

particularly complicated<br />

market, with 28 countries (soon<br />

to be 27) involved. The regional<br />

agency Caribbean Export<br />

provides an introduction<br />

Who do we have trade<br />

deals with?<br />

Trinidad and Tobago has<br />

negotiated trade agreements<br />

with many of its trading<br />

partners. The Ministry of Trade<br />

and Industry sets out the<br />

possibilities of each<br />

Non-tariff barriers – the<br />

exporter’s nightmare<br />

Usha Samsundar explains<br />

how even the best-prepared<br />

exporter can be ambushed by<br />

unexpected obstacles<br />

04<br />

Trinidad<br />

and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce<br />


Vol.18 No.3 – December 2018<br />

The Voice of Business in Trinidad & ToBago<br />

Published by<br />

The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of<br />

Industry and Commerce<br />

Looking<br />

Outwards<br />

The art and science of exporting<br />

Champion exporter: SM Jaleel<br />

Export markets | Trade deals<br />

Non-tariff barriers | Support agencies<br />

44<br />

46<br />

48<br />

The economic outlook<br />

Prospects <strong>for</strong> Trinidad and<br />

Tobago, the Caribbean, and the<br />

global economy in the year ahead<br />

Energy update<br />

The state of the energy sector<br />

in figures<br />

Welcome to new<br />

members<br />

Columbus Circle, Westmoorings, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago<br />

PO Box 499, Port of Spain • Tel.: (868) 637-6966 • Fax: (868) 622-4475<br />

Email: chamber@chamber.org.tt • Website: www.chamber.org.tt<br />

Tobago Division:<br />

ANSA McAL Building, Mil<strong>for</strong>d Road, Scarborough, Tobago<br />

Tel.: (868) 639-2669 • Fax: (868) 639-2669<br />

Email: tobagochamber@chamber.org.tt<br />

Produced <strong>for</strong> the Chamber by<br />

MEP Publishers (Media & Editorial Projects Ltd)<br />

34<br />

Where to go <strong>for</strong> help?<br />

A checklist of private sector<br />

and government agencies<br />

which can supply export<br />

guidance, in<strong>for</strong>mation and<br />

documents<br />

6 Prospect Avenue, Maraval, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago<br />

Tel.: 622-3821 • Fax: 628-0639<br />

Email: info@meppublishers.com • Website: www.meppublishers.com<br />

Editor Natalie Dookie<br />

Consulting editor Jeremy Taylor<br />

Online editor Caroline Taylor<br />

General manager Halcyon Salazar<br />

Page layout & design Bridget van Dongen<br />

Advertising Evelyn Chung, Tracy Farrag, Mark-Jason Ramesar<br />

Production Jacqueline Smith<br />

Editorial assistant Shelly Inniss<br />

38<br />

The voice of experience<br />

Six successful exporters –<br />

old and new, large and small<br />

– tell their stories to Natalie<br />

Dookie<br />


Opinions expressed in <strong>Contact</strong> are those of the authors, and not<br />

necessarily of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce<br />

or its partners or associates.<br />

CONTACT is published quarterly by the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and<br />

Commerce (TTCIC). It is available online at www.chamber.org.tt/contact-magazine.<br />

© 2018 TTCIC. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any<br />

<strong>for</strong>m without the written permission of the publisher.<br />

www.chamber.org.tt/contact-magazine 05<br />

Trinidad and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce

A note from<br />

the editor<br />

Exports play a crucial role in Trinidad and Tobago’s economy. They influence<br />

economic growth, employment, and our balance of payments. They earn<br />

essential <strong>for</strong>eign exchange. As we adjust to a low-price energy environment,<br />

there needs to be an even greater focus on growth opportunities <strong>for</strong> exports.<br />

We are the largest oil and natural gas producer in the Caribbean, and our<br />

hydrocarbon sector has dominated our exports. But in recent years we have become<br />

more diversified, with a greater reliance on services.<br />

There are several factors which determine our level of exports: competitiveness,<br />

quality, value added, the exchange rate, productivity, and the economic prospects<br />

of our export markets. We can work towards raising this level through private sector<br />

innovation, reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers, and by pursuing supply-side<br />

policies to increase our competitiveness. Exporting provides real benefits <strong>for</strong> firms,<br />

including longer-term security, by spreading risk over a wider customer base – and<br />

of course increased sales and profits.<br />

In this issue of CONTACT, we<br />

are Looking Outwards<br />

In this issue of CONTACT, we are Looking Outwards. Our team of experts from<br />

Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean provides guidance on export planning, and<br />

identifies where and how to access support locally. ExporTT’s CEO sets the stage<br />

by charting the size of our exports, what we export, where to, and what are the<br />

most promising opportunities in 2018. Trade agreements can be complex, but the<br />

Ministry of Trade and Industry helps us to penetrate the legal jargon and translate it<br />

into competitive advantage. Exporters are often presented with unexpected market<br />

challenges, but one of our trade specialists outlines how to overcome non-tariff<br />

barriers.<br />

Which market conditions present key opportunities <strong>for</strong> local exporters, in which<br />

country and in what sector? The Chamber’s Trade & Research Economist guides<br />

us through their recommendations. Learn from organisations that are exporting<br />

success<strong>full</strong>y, and be inspired as they share their journey.<br />

Exports have a major impact on our economy. They are one of the biggest<br />

determinants of Trinidad and Tobago’s economic per<strong>for</strong>mance. Growth in exports<br />

can also advance our domestic economy by creating a knock-on effect <strong>for</strong> related<br />

industries. Recognising the importance of this <strong>for</strong> our future sustainability, we look<br />

<strong>for</strong>ward to your feedback: share your export experience, tell us if you agree with<br />

our experts’ advice and recommendations, and what else you would like to see us<br />

add to the conversation.<br />

Editor<br />

www.chamber.org.tt/contact-magazine 07<br />

Trinidad and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce

looking outwards<br />

SM Jaleel:<br />

global<br />

exporter<br />

This year’s prestigious Chamber award<br />

“Internationally Known … T&T Owned”,<br />

sponsored since inception by First<br />

Citizens, was won by a company with<br />

extraordinary international reach<br />

WORDS By: Kalifa Sarah Clyne<br />

photos courtesy: sm jaleel<br />

After almost a century in business, SM Jaleel is a proud locally-owned player<br />

with a strong presence on the global stage. It is the largest manufacturer<br />

of non-alcoholic drinks in the anglophone Caribbean.<br />

Its many brands – fruit juices, soft drinks, flavoured water, energy<br />

drinks – are distributed around the world by nearly 100 distributors, and can be found<br />

in over 30,000 wholesale and retail stores, including Walmart in the United States.<br />

The company manufactures its own PET containers, a technology it pioneered<br />

in the Caribbean in the 1980s. Its staff has grown from 25 to 1,378 located in ten<br />

different countries in five continents.<br />

Evolution<br />

The family-owned business of SM Jaleel was founded in 1924 by a young visionary<br />

entrepreneur, Sheik Mohammed Jaleel. He used to make the company’s first product,<br />

Jaleel Beverages, under his house in San Fernando, and marketed it to clients from a<br />

traditional horse and cart.<br />

08<br />

Trinidad<br />

and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce<br />


Jaleel Beverages were followed by<br />

a string of other brands. Wonder in the<br />

late 1930s, Applette, Joe Louis Punch<br />

(after the famous boxer whom Jaleel<br />

brought to Trinidad), Red Spot. Dixi Cola<br />

success<strong>full</strong>y expanded the portfolio<br />

in 1968. By the time Red Spot hit the<br />

market, SM Jaleel was operating ten<br />

trucks and an automated production<br />

line. The company could produce about<br />

90 cases an hour, and a case of sweet<br />

drink cost 24 cents.<br />

The export journey began in the<br />

1950s, when Jaleel built a factory in<br />

Grenada, run by his son Zaid, to produce<br />

The first product, Jaleel<br />

Beverages, was made under<br />

the founder’s house in San<br />

Fernando, and marketed to<br />

clients from a traditional<br />

horse and cart<br />

www.chamber.org.tt/contact-magazine 09<br />

Trinidad and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce

looking outwards<br />

A new generation took over<br />

the business and revived both<br />

the founder’s vision and the<br />

company’s <strong>for</strong>tunes<br />

Red Spot in glass bottles. The company’s<br />

<strong>for</strong>tunes dipped somewhat from the<br />

late 1960s, and Sheik Mohammed Jaleel<br />

died in 1977, after selling the business<br />

to Shaffikool Mohammed, the husband<br />

of his daughter Salaha.<br />

So a new generation took over the<br />

business and revived both the founder’s<br />

vision and the company’s <strong>for</strong>tunes.<br />

Aleem Mohammed, Jaleel’s grandson,<br />

joined the company and rose to<br />

become chairman. The business moved<br />

to Otaheite Industrial Estate, where it is<br />

still headquartered today. New products<br />

were introduced – Pear D, Cole Cold,<br />

Fruta, the large bottle, Caribbean Cool.<br />

The company earned franchises from<br />

well-known international companies –<br />

7-UP, Capri Sun, Cadbury Schweppes.<br />

By 1988, market share had grown to<br />

30%.<br />

The first export shipments had<br />

been made from Trinidad and Tobago in<br />

1983. The main export markets were the<br />

UK, the USA, Canada, Jamaica, Antigua,<br />

Dominica, and Barbados. SM Jaleel<br />

began awarding its own franchises:<br />

third party manufacturers produced<br />

and distributed the Caribbean Cool<br />

brand, <strong>for</strong> instance, in Canada, the USA,<br />

England, Scotland and Malaysia.<br />

The business grew and grew. It<br />

continued to produce new brands,<br />

notably Chubby (1993) in its specially<br />

designed chubby bottle aimed at<br />

children. The company started winning<br />

awards <strong>for</strong> exports and innovation.<br />

Busta followed, and Viva flavoured<br />

sparkling water. With the help of<br />

subsidiaries, joint ventures and<br />

franchisees, SM Jaleel was doing good<br />

business everywhere from Barbados,<br />

Jamaica and Guyana to Haiti, Mexico<br />

and Brazil, Guatemala and North<br />

America.<br />

As the brand list continued to<br />

swell, the company added Fruta Kool<br />

Kidz, Oasis bottled water, Caribbean<br />

Cool drinks, 1-litre Fruta, and Turbo<br />

energy drinks. It acquired the franchise<br />

<strong>for</strong> Tampico. It set up a plant in Saudi<br />

Arabia to export to the Middle East, and<br />

another in Durban to market Chubby in<br />

South Africa. It acquired fruit juice<br />

concentrate manufacturing companies<br />

in Trinidad and Jamaica, adding Trinidad<br />

Reconstituted juices and Juciful juices<br />

to the portfolio. These factories allowed<br />

10<br />

Trinidad<br />

and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce<br />


vertical integration by buying fruit<br />

from local farmers and converting it<br />

into frozen orange and grapefruit juice<br />

concentrate <strong>for</strong> use throughout the<br />

year.<br />

The export team<br />

Today, SM Jaleel’s Caribbean sales export<br />

team is led by Clint Villafana, Vice<br />

President of Export Sales (Caribbean and<br />

Third Party). It includes Amir Hosein and<br />

Aaron Logie. At an extra-regional level,<br />

Brian Erdelyi (Chief Revenue Officer,<br />

based in Canada) leads a team supported<br />

by Suneeta Hosein and Michelle Grant.<br />

The team is focused on the company’s<br />

continued growth and market expansion.<br />

In an interview, Clint Villafana<br />

confirmed that working with his team<br />

has been a very rewarding experience.<br />

They were instrumental in the growth<br />

of the department, and in the expansion<br />

of the company’s footprint into more<br />

new markets in recent years, such as<br />

Ghana, Puerto Rico, Holland, Bonaire,<br />

Belize, and Aruba. “They have been key<br />

in the expansion of our existing SMJ<br />

portfolio within existing markets, and<br />

increasing overall market share <strong>for</strong> the<br />

company’s brands.”<br />

Part of SM Jaleel’s success is<br />

surely due to the judicious selection<br />

of export models and products,<br />

based on careful market research. A<br />

franchise agreement? A new affiliate<br />

or subsidiary? Exclusive agreement<br />

with an experienced distributor?<br />

Outsourced production? The decision,<br />

Villafana explained, depends partly on<br />

the size of the country and its distance<br />

from Trinidad, which will affect<br />

shipping costs. “We per<strong>for</strong>m a value<br />

chain analysis to determine the best<br />

approach.”<br />

Local costs matter too. “Markets<br />

have different duty structures,” Villafana<br />

pointed out, “and as such can make<br />

our products uncompetitive due to<br />

price sensitivity. To address this in the<br />

Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States<br />

(OECS), many years ago we introduced<br />

a production facility in St Lucia, which<br />

allows us to benefit from a lower duty<br />

structure since we are selling from a Less<br />

Developed Country (LDC).”<br />

Villafana continued: “Markets<br />

have different regulatory requirements<br />

in terms of labels and ingredients, so<br />

in entering markets we have had to<br />

work closely with our Research and<br />

Development team to customise some<br />

of our existing brands to meet these<br />

requirements.”<br />

SM Jaleel makes good use of the<br />

Caricom free trade agreement, and is<br />

now expanding into Costa Rica, where<br />

Michelle Grant, Finance and Operations<br />

Manager, SMJ Procurement and<br />

Marketing, Inc<br />

Brian Erdelyi, Chief Revenue Officer, SM<br />

Jaleel<br />

From left to right: Export Managers Aaron Logie and Amir Hosein; Suneeta Hosein, Manager, Centralised Planning Unit;<br />

Clint Villafana, Vice President, Export (Caribbean and Third Party)<br />

www.chamber.org.tt/contact-magazine 11<br />

Trinidad and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce

looking outwards<br />

it will benefit from concessions available under the trade<br />

agreement that country has with Trinidad and Tobago.<br />

Flexibility<br />

SM Jaleel has an excellent track record in responding to<br />

changing market conditions and innovating to support<br />

growth.<br />

In 1984, <strong>for</strong> example, when the economic climate<br />

demanded a container that would bring consumers both<br />

savings and convenience, the company introduced the<br />

revolutionary Jaliter bottle (Jaleel + litre), and became the<br />

pioneer in large-<strong>for</strong>mat 2-litre soft-drink packaging. In<br />

conjunction with Reynolds Metals Company, it was the first<br />

company in the world to market fruit juices in two-piece<br />

aluminium cans using nitrogen technology, thus eliminating<br />

the need <strong>for</strong> artificial preservatives.<br />

Chubby is another example of flexibility. It was born<br />

when SM Jaleel observed that children were being given soft<br />

drinks in large bottles which were cumbersome <strong>for</strong> them to<br />

hold: so it filled that gap in the market by introducing the<br />

flagship brand in its characteristic chubby bottle.<br />

Chubby changed the market and created a global<br />

trans<strong>for</strong>mation <strong>for</strong> SM Jaleel. Today, it is sold in over 60<br />

countries and is manufactured on four continents around<br />

the world; it has proven to have almost unrivalled global<br />

reach in terms of penetrating new markets and countries.<br />

Responsibility<br />

SM Jaleel is notable <strong>for</strong> its response to environmental<br />

challenges too. In Trinidad, it recycles all its cardboard, cans,<br />

plastic bottles, shrink wrap, cardboard, pallets, metal drums,<br />

and unused tetra packs. It is in the process of building a waste<br />

water treatment plant. It is working to reduce the materials<br />

in its packaging, and lowered the weight of its plastic water<br />

bottles by half in two years.<br />

It takes corporate social responsibility very seriously<br />

too. One of its recent projects has been to partner with Vitas<br />

House Hospice during Cancer Awareness Month (October), to<br />

raise funds to promote cancer awareness through education,<br />

early detection, and treatment. In another project, the<br />

company was one of the first to respond to hurricaneravaged<br />

Dominica last year, sending over 200 tonnes of<br />

drinks, water, food, toiletries and groceries as part of the<br />

relief ef<strong>for</strong>t.<br />

Reaching out<br />

One of SM Jaleel’s current objectives is truly remarkable: it<br />

wants to leverage its export success so as to give a plat<strong>for</strong>m<br />

to other Trinidad and Tobago manufacturers and exporters.<br />

SMJ Director Dr Mikaeel Mohammed told a business<br />

audience earlier this year that the company wanted to help<br />

exporters get things done, and was already working with one<br />

of Trinidad and Tobago’s best-known brands, using SM Jaleel’s<br />

existing distribution and marketing network. “We want to<br />

help each and every company here [to] reach destinations you<br />

never dreamed of,” he declared. “Caribbean brands are just as<br />

good [as international ones], if not better.”<br />

It sounds like the same sort of innovative thinking<br />

that has marked out SM Jaleel since its earliest days in<br />

San Fernando. While it pursues its aggressive growth<br />

campaign, takes care of its corporate social responsibility,<br />

and continues to innovate, SM Jaleel has placed its brands –<br />

and Trinidad and Tobago – in the hands of consumers across<br />

the world.<br />

12<br />

Trinidad<br />

and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce<br />


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looking outwards<br />

The will to<br />

export<br />

For decades, T&T has dreamed about a big jump in nonenergy<br />

exports, enough to break dependence on oil and<br />

gas. Is that about to happen at last? CONTACT sat down<br />

with exporTT’s CEO Dietrich Guichard to find out<br />

WORDS By: Joel Henry<br />

photos courtesy: exportt<br />

courtesy exportt<br />

“<br />

The current environment,” says Trade and Industry<br />

Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon, “requires a more<br />

aggressive approach to implementing government<br />

policy aimed at growing exports to lessen the<br />

country’s vulnerability and dependence on oil and gas.”<br />

The Minister was speaking in November 2017 at the<br />

National Export Facilitation Organisation of Trinidad and<br />

Tobago, otherwise known as exporTT. New signage was<br />

being unveiled at its Charlotte Street headquarters, which<br />

was being renamed “Export House.” A symbolic change, but<br />

symbols have meaning. And the change in signage reflects a<br />

new approach and outlook <strong>for</strong> exporTT.<br />

“Our approach is much more aggressive,” says Dietrich<br />

Guichard, Chief Executive Officer. “There are a lot of things<br />

that we are doing differently internally, and we are trying to<br />

engage our clients more intimately.”<br />

In this era of uncertain prices <strong>for</strong> Trinidad and Tobago’s<br />

energy exports, a <strong>for</strong>eign exchange crunch, and the critical<br />

need <strong>for</strong> diversification of the economy, the nation needs new<br />

sources of export revenue.<br />

The most recent figures out of the Ministry of Trade and<br />

Industry (<strong>for</strong> October 2016 to September 2017) show that<br />

TT$37 billion of the total TT$41 billion worth of exports were<br />

energy-related. That’s 88%. This needs to change.<br />

So what is exporTT doing to make it happen?<br />

Dietrich Guichard, CEO, exporTT<br />

14<br />

Trinidad<br />

and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce<br />


“For the first time the macroeconomic<br />

situation is pushing business in a particular<br />

direction”<br />

What is exporTT and what does it do?<br />

Dietrich Guichard: ExporTT officially is the sole national<br />

export facilitation organisation <strong>for</strong> Trinidad and Tobago<br />

outside of the oil and gas and petrochemical sector. Our<br />

focus is the development and promotion of the export of<br />

goods and services, regionally and internationally.<br />

Trinidad and Tobago’s top<br />

non-energy exports,<br />

October 2016 – September 2017<br />

“Facilitation” is a broad word. What does it entail?<br />

DG: Facilitation can be broken down into various areas.<br />

We have an export promotion division, a research<br />

division, a capacity building division (including standards<br />

implementation), and a training division. In general<br />

our activities are dedicated to growing exports and<br />

diversifying the economy in a very real and practical way.<br />

Can you give me an example of exporTT’s activities?<br />

DG: One programme we have in place is taking the top 120<br />

exporters and working with them in their organisations.<br />

This includes diagnosing where they are in their financial,<br />

marketing, and human resource capability, and identifying<br />

their strengths and weaknesses. Really we are diagnosing<br />

all aspects of their business operations, including the will<br />

to export. Many people say they want to export, but is it<br />

really true?<br />

Then we are developing robust export plans with<br />

them. If they wish to get into a market or markets we<br />

will provide the necessary in<strong>for</strong>mation and contacts –<br />

importers, market prices, the contacts to get you there.<br />

If you do not have the wherewithal, we will work with<br />

you to build your firm’s capacity, including training,<br />

research, and even funding <strong>for</strong> machinery.<br />

How far along is this programme?<br />

DG: We will complete 30 companies at the end of this<br />

fiscal (September 2018).<br />

You mentioned the “will to export”. It seems there is<br />

a new energy and willingness to get things done.<br />

DG: When I took up the post of CEO at exporTT the<br />

Chairman said, somewhat tongue-in-cheek: “ExporTT is<br />

Trinidad and Tobago’s best kept secret”. So we made a<br />

conscious decision to change that. We have been much<br />

more aggressive in our marketing. And we have made<br />

a conscious decision to change the way we do things.<br />

We have moved our officers from being office-based<br />

most of the time to being out there in the market. It is<br />

Toilet tissue<br />

Cigarettes<br />

Cereals, precooked and otherwise<br />

Building cement (grey)<br />

Aromatic bitters<br />

Biscuits, unsweetened<br />

Sweet biscuits<br />

Other chocolate in blocks, slabs or bars<br />

Other sugar confectionery<br />

Prepared foods from cereals<br />

Beer<br />

Bottles <strong>for</strong> soft drinks, beers, wines, spirits<br />

Other detergents<br />

Aerated beverages<br />

TT$253 million<br />

TT$239 million<br />

TT$219 million<br />

TT$156 million<br />

TT$97 million<br />

TT$89 million<br />

TT$87 million<br />

TT$84 million<br />

TT$79 million<br />

TT$77 million<br />

TT$73 million<br />

TT$72 million<br />

TT$60 million<br />

TT$59 million<br />

www.chamber.org.tt/contact-magazine 15<br />

Trinidad and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce

looking outwards<br />

Trinidad and Tobago’s top ten non-energy export markets, 2016<br />

Guyana<br />

US$243 million<br />

Suriname<br />

US$66 million<br />

USA<br />

US$236 million<br />

UK<br />

US$40 million<br />

Jamaica<br />

US$117 million<br />

Saint Lucia<br />

US$40 million<br />

Barbados<br />

US$70 million<br />

Netherlands<br />

US$30 million<br />

Grenada<br />

US$68 million<br />

St Vincent &<br />

the Grenadines<br />

US$28 million<br />

“Our<br />

approach is<br />

much more<br />

aggressive”<br />

a much more aggressive approach in terms of interventions and support <strong>for</strong> local<br />

manufacturing.<br />

Then there is the state of the economy and the lack of <strong>for</strong>eign exchange. Money<br />

drives everything. The traditional importers and distributors are starting to feel the<br />

crunch. Getting hard currency to restock and so on, and continue operations in the<br />

traditional way, is becoming harder and harder. For the first time the macroeconomic<br />

environment is pushing business in a particular direction to help with their <strong>for</strong>eign<br />

exchange requirements.<br />

Who are some of our major exporters?<br />

DG: Carib Brewery and SM Jaleel and Company have major investments in the islands.<br />

SM Jaleel goes even further with a presence in South Africa and Saudi Arabia, with<br />

actual production facilities in these territories. Carib has investments up the islands<br />

and acquired a brewery in Florida a few years ago. The ANSA McAL Group of Companies<br />

(owners of Carib) is setting up business in Cuba, in the Mariel Special Economic Zone.<br />

What are the most promising export markets?<br />

DG: The Latin American market seems to have regions which are growing. Our<br />

manufacturers, through exporTT, are aggressively seeking to maximise those territories<br />

where we have existing trade agreements – Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Haiti and<br />

Cuba. Cuba has taken a lot of time, but we are now seeing tremendous benefits from<br />

our investments in the island.<br />

16<br />

Trinidad<br />

and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce<br />


www.chamber.org.tt/contact-magazine 17<br />

Trinidad and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce

looking outwards<br />

Major Trinidad and Tobago non-energy<br />

companies exporting to CARICOM<br />

Over US$20 million per year<br />

SM Jaleel<br />

WITCO<br />

Associated Brands Industries<br />

Trinidad Cement<br />

Nestlé Caribbean<br />

Trinidad Distillers<br />

Electrical Industries Group<br />

Caribbean Development Company<br />

Holiday Snacks<br />

Between US$10 million and US$20 million<br />

per year<br />

Angostura<br />

Bermudez Biscuits<br />

Baker Hughes<br />

Grand Bay Paper Products<br />

Trinidad Tissues<br />

Universal Foods<br />

Carib Glassworks<br />

John Dickinson<br />

Between US$5 million and US$10 million*<br />

VEMCO<br />

IAL Engineering<br />

Unilever<br />

Advance Foam<br />

NFM<br />

Century Eslon<br />

Chief Brand Products<br />

* There are about 50 firms in this category in total.<br />

“We are now<br />

the number one<br />

exporter into Cuba<br />

from the Caribbean<br />

and Latin America”<br />

ExporTT (in its prior incarnation as the Business<br />

Development Company) and the Ministry of Trade and<br />

Industry have had a trade facilitation office in Cuba <strong>for</strong><br />

over ten years. We are now the number one exporter<br />

into Cuba from the Caribbean and Latin America.<br />

That’s impressive.<br />

DG: In fact Carib Glass has just shipped their first major<br />

shipment of glass bottles <strong>for</strong> the largest local rum<br />

producer in Cuba. Carib beer has signed a distribution<br />

agreement with the largest liquor company in Cuba to<br />

supply the finished beer product to the market. Angostura<br />

has well over 10,000 points of sale on the island, working<br />

closely with exporTT trade facilitation. Sacha Cosmetics<br />

is a major exporter to Cuba. Trinidad Tissues and Grand<br />

Bay Paper and Care Products (makers of tissue paper and<br />

tissue paper pulp) are major suppliers into Cuba.<br />

It has been a bit of a wait, an over 10-year<br />

investment, but we are seeing tremendous growth in the<br />

Cuban market.<br />

What about exporting to the diaspora?<br />

DG: There is a high demand <strong>for</strong> local products in our<br />

diaspora – New York, London, Toronto and Miami.<br />

Caribbean products are growing in prominence, and while<br />

Jamaica has been able to benefit immensely from this, we<br />

have been a bit lagging.<br />

But we are targeting the diaspora market. In<br />

November we will be in Canada on a trade mission.<br />

Targeting the importers who service the diaspora market<br />

will be a major focus <strong>for</strong> us. Earlier this year, during the<br />

Trade and Investment Convention (TIC), exporTT was<br />

responsible <strong>for</strong> bringing international buyers. We brought<br />

in the purchasing manager <strong>for</strong> the GraceKennedy Group<br />

from Canada.<br />

GraceKennedy is well-established, not only in<br />

the diaspora market in North America, but they have<br />

grown and are in the mainstream distribution sector.<br />

18<br />

Trinidad<br />

and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce<br />


Export House, head<br />

office of exporTT,<br />

on Charlotte Street,<br />

Port of Spain<br />

courtesy exportt<br />

He met with the major local suppliers to discuss<br />

utilising GraceKennedy’s distribution channel. We had<br />

very fruitful meetings and hope<strong>full</strong>y we will see some<br />

traction in increasing our exports to the diaspora in<br />

North America.<br />

Sounds like progress is being made. What of the<br />

challenges?<br />

DG: The challenges are well-known – crime, the<br />

productivity and availability of labour, the lack of <strong>for</strong>eign<br />

exchange to invest in new or expand existing business.<br />

Companies are not happy with the pace at which they<br />

receive their VAT (value added tax) refunds. Many of them<br />

use it as the liquidity to run their business.<br />

The government understands the problems and<br />

they are working on them. The Ministry of Trade and<br />

Industry is working very hard to improve the ease of<br />

doing business, getting businesses up and running,<br />

getting all the approvals much more easily.<br />

And on a personal level, how do you deal with the<br />

challenges? What motivates you?<br />

DG: I’ve always liked the export arena. My first job, straight<br />

out of university, was travelling up and down the islands<br />

selling construction material <strong>for</strong> a local company. I just<br />

reached a point in my life and maturity where I wanted<br />

to use my experience to help in nation-building, and give<br />

back to the manufacturing and export sector that has<br />

been good to me. When the position became available I<br />

felt it was an ideal fit with my practical export experience<br />

to bring that understanding to the public sector.<br />

Is there anything you would like to tell potential<br />

exporters?<br />

DG: Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to go out there.<br />

What holds back a lot of business people is the fear of<br />

the unknown. ExporTT is here to demystify your business<br />

expansion aspirations. We are very open. We are very<br />

responsive. We are here to help.<br />

Special resources <strong>for</strong> companies<br />

• “The Ministry of Trade and exporTT have a<br />

fund of TT$25 million whereby we assist<br />

small and medium-sized manufacturers<br />

to purchase plant and equipment. This<br />

is a grant. You don’t have to pay it back.<br />

You must satisfy the requirement that you<br />

are able to increase your exports or prove<br />

that you are having an impact on import<br />

substitution. You are eligible <strong>for</strong> this grant<br />

up to $250,000. It is a matching grant,<br />

meaning it will pay the supplier half of the<br />

cost <strong>for</strong> the equipment up to that amount.”<br />

• “Companies can also access a research and<br />

development grant of up to a million dollars<br />

per company. The grant includes concept<br />

development <strong>for</strong> an innovative product or<br />

service, commercialisation of the product,<br />

and assistance in marketing the new<br />

product.”<br />

• “ExporTT doesn’t only deal with exporters.<br />

We even have an entrepreneurship<br />

programme <strong>for</strong> people who are now starting<br />

up, moving them along the developmental<br />

process to one day becoming exporters.<br />

We have a cohort now in Tobago of about<br />

12 indigenous manufacturers who in some<br />

instances are not even exporting to Trinidad.<br />

We are training them in marketing, labelling,<br />

finance and business planning.”<br />

www.chamber.org.tt/contact-magazine 19<br />

Trinidad and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce

looking outwards<br />

Know your<br />

export<br />

markets<br />

Every export market has its own character. Get to know<br />

the possibilities, the hazards and the quirks of each one<br />

WORDS By: Lisa M. Douglas-Paul<br />

Trade and Research Economist, Trinidad and<br />

Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce<br />

For many countries, the economic outlook in 2018 has been quite positive,<br />

given the changes in the international trade environment. Some of these<br />

changes have opened the way to new opportunities and improved access in<br />

Trinidad and Tobago’s traditional export markets. But political developments<br />

in other traditional markets may threaten the favourable access which many Trinidad<br />

and Tobago companies enjoy.<br />

Caricom, Latin America, the United States and the European Union collectively<br />

accounted <strong>for</strong> over 80% of Trinidad and Tobago’s exports in 2017. Given the economic<br />

importance of these trading partners, exporters should watch <strong>for</strong> new opportunities<br />

there. Similarly, experienced exporters will note the changing dynamics in existing<br />

markets that will affect their trade beyond 2018.<br />

Let’s take a look closer look at the changing conditions that occurred in some<br />

of Trinidad and Tobago’s traditional markets and examine their possible impact on<br />

our exports.<br />

Caricom<br />

The United Nations Commission <strong>for</strong> Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC)<br />

stated in its 2018 Economic Outlook that Caribbean economies have exhibited<br />

improved growth and resilience in 2018. Two economies stood out in this regard:<br />

Jamaica and Guyana.<br />

As a result of improvements made to its investment infrastructure, Jamaica<br />

established itself as the top economy in Caricom <strong>for</strong> ease of doing business in 2018.<br />

It was also ranked as the fifth easiest place to start business in 2018 by the World<br />

Bank Group.<br />

As the largest English-speaking territory in the Caribbean, with more than<br />

double the population of T&T, Jamaica holds great potential <strong>for</strong> local businesses<br />

seeking to expand their product and service outreach.<br />

20<br />

Trinidad<br />

and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce<br />


Travel mania/shutterstock.com<br />

In the case of Guyana, the<br />

estimated 4 billion barrels of oil found<br />

offshore since 2015 could trans<strong>for</strong>m the<br />

economy beyond the projected growth<br />

rate of 3.3%. Guyana is expected to<br />

generate increased demand <strong>for</strong> business<br />

support services well beyond 2018 in<br />

order to sustain the increase in market<br />

activity, particularly in the areas of ICT<br />

and business consultancy.<br />

Latin America<br />

Latin America is seen as the new<br />

horizon <strong>for</strong> global trade. Trinidad and<br />

Tobago’s exporters can already benefit<br />

from preferential trading arrangements<br />

with Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica,<br />

Cuba, the Dominican Republic and<br />

Panama. This access advantage can<br />

have a positive impact on the Trinidad<br />

and Tobago manufacturing sector.<br />

The Dominican Republic, a<br />

significant trading partner <strong>for</strong> Trinidad<br />

and Tobago, has the highest projected<br />

growth rate <strong>for</strong> 2018 in Latin America<br />

and the Caribbean. There is much<br />

untapped potential and existing<br />

demand <strong>for</strong> manufactured products,<br />

particularly inputs <strong>for</strong> value-added<br />

production <strong>for</strong> re-export.<br />

In Central America, the market access advantage provided by the TT-Panama<br />

Partial Scope Trade Agreement, coupled with the improvements made to the Panama<br />

Canal, can give T&T manufacturers increased access to greater volumes of cheaper<br />

inputs from global markets <strong>for</strong> their value-added manufactured products.<br />

Cuba<br />

It has been perceived as difficult to penetrate, but Cuba continues to pique interest.<br />

It has undergone significant changes since 2014 and continues to open up its<br />

economy. Trinidad and Tobago businesses continue to pursue opportunities in the<br />

Cuban market, with varying levels of success.<br />

Restrictions on financial transactions continue to affect the ease of doing<br />

business in Cuba, but the support provided by Trinidad and Tobago’s Trade Facilitation<br />

Office in Havana has made navigating the business landscape significantly easier.<br />

The US and the EU<br />

The changing political landscape in T&T’s traditional export markets has caused<br />

established exporters to feel concerned about the possible impact on preferential<br />

access to the United States and the European Union.<br />

For the past 18 years, T&T exporters have enjoyed duty-free access to the<br />

US through the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA). However, this<br />

arrangement is due to expire on September 30, 2020. There is healthy caution about<br />

its prospects of renewal, given recent developments in US <strong>for</strong>eign policy under the<br />

Trump administration. This is particularly important as the US is the largest export<br />

market <strong>for</strong> T&T products.<br />

On the other side of the Atlantic, the infamous Brexit vote sent shockwaves<br />

through the international community in 2016. The United Kingdom announced that<br />

it would be leaving the European Union in 2019, arousing immediate concern as to<br />

how Trinidad and Tobago – and by extension Cari<strong>for</strong>um – will continue to benefit<br />

from preferential access <strong>for</strong> its exports.<br />

Brexit could affect not only the remaining 27 EU member states but also<br />

www.chamber.org.tt/contact-magazine 21<br />

Trinidad and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce

looking outwards<br />

Trinidad and Tobago exports 2012-2017 (US$ million)<br />

18000<br />

16000<br />

14000<br />

12000<br />

10000<br />

8000<br />

6000<br />

4000<br />

2000<br />

0<br />

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017p<br />

Non-energy Energy Total<br />

The Trinidad and<br />

Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and<br />

Commerce, as a key<br />

business support<br />

organisation, helps<br />

T&T companies to<br />

take advantage<br />

of export<br />

opportunities, and<br />

continues to be a<br />

key partner in the<br />

national export<br />

thrust.<br />

Source: Government of Trinidad and Tobago, Review of the Economy 2018<br />

Caricom, Latin<br />

America, the<br />

United States and<br />

the European<br />

Union collectively<br />

accounted <strong>for</strong> over<br />

80% of Trinidad and<br />

Tobago’s exports in<br />

2017<br />

trade with the United Kingdom, which happens to be T&T’s<br />

fourth largest trading partner. This is particularly important<br />

since the current Economic Partnership Agreement with the<br />

EU provides preferential market access <strong>for</strong> both goods and<br />

services from Trinidad and Tobago.<br />

Non-traditional markets<br />

Although market access to traditional trading partners is of<br />

key importance to Trinidad and Tobago, exporters should also<br />

consider opportunities that are developing in non-traditional<br />

markets.<br />

Distance and logistical challenges normally dissuade<br />

smaller exporters from prospecting <strong>for</strong> opportunities in such<br />

markets. However, ICT and energy-related developments in<br />

Asia and Africa hold some potential <strong>for</strong> service exports.<br />

Market intelligence<br />

Having an idea of where the global opportunities are is just<br />

the beginning. Making the best decision depends on a sound<br />

market penetration strategy that involves continuous market<br />

intelligence gathering. It also requires an understanding<br />

of your product’s uniqueness, and how it meets existing or<br />

potential demand in your market of interest.<br />

Trade missions and trade expositions offer perfect<br />

opportunities <strong>for</strong> learning about developments in new and<br />

existing markets. In addition, companies which are interested<br />

in securing preferential access <strong>for</strong> their products – whether<br />

in a new or an existing market – should continuously engage<br />

in stakeholder consultations with the Ministry of Trade and<br />

Industry.<br />

22<br />

Trinidad<br />

and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce<br />


looking outwards<br />

Breaking<br />

into Europe<br />

Exporting to the European market can be a<br />

<strong>for</strong>midable challenge, even without the threat<br />

of Brexit in March 2019. The key is thorough<br />

preparation and reconnaisance, understanding the<br />

Economic Partnership Agreement, and making use<br />

of the many available sources of guidance and<br />

advice<br />

WORDS BY: Caribbean Export<br />

The European Union (EU) is one of the world’s largest trading blocs, with over<br />

500 million consumers. It is an ideal market <strong>for</strong> Caribbean firms wanting<br />

to trade and grow their businesses, because the Economic Partnership<br />

Agreement (EPA) negotiated between the Caribbean Forum (Cari<strong>for</strong>um) and<br />

the EU is designed to enable increased trade, investment and development between<br />

the two regions.<br />

Preparation is key to breaking into any new market, and there are many factors<br />

to consider as you embark on this journey. Here are our top tips <strong>for</strong> succeeding in a<br />

competitive business environment.<br />

Be completely knowledgeable about the product you are offering<br />

A lack of detail and poor communication about your product’s ingredients, sources of<br />

inputs, safety, shelf life etc., can put you at a big disadvantage with a serious buyer.<br />

Make sure you have product in<strong>for</strong>mation factsheets on hand when engaging potential<br />

buyers.<br />

Identify a specific country in the EU with a strong and growing demand <strong>for</strong> what<br />

you can supply<br />

Stay up to date on industry trends and consumption patterns, and identify any special<br />

market niches. Consider who you want to sell to, what consumers may want, and<br />

how best your product can meet their needs. The Caribbean Export Intelligence Portal<br />

(www.ceintelligence.com) can help in identifying the target markets with the highest<br />

demand <strong>for</strong> your goods, and allows you to generate market profiles.<br />

24<br />

Trinidad<br />

and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce<br />






Our Corporate and Investment Banking Division<br />

offers an expansive range of intelligent business<br />

solutions. Staffed by a team with decades of<br />

experience, we will take your business to the<br />

next level.<br />

• Working Capital Financing<br />

• Plant and Equipment Financing<br />

• Construction and Commercial<br />

Mortgage Loans<br />

• Bonds and Guarantees<br />

• Investment Banking<br />

• Project Financing

looking outwards<br />

EU-Caribbean: trade in goods 2015-2017 (billion euros)<br />

Year EU imports EU exports Balance<br />

2015 4.6 7.4 2.9<br />

2016 3.6 7.0 3.4<br />

2017 4.0 7.2 3.2<br />

EU-Trinidad and Tobago: trade 2015-2017 (million euros)<br />

Take steps to<br />

protect your<br />

intellectual<br />

property (IP)<br />

in each target<br />

market<br />

2015 1243 660 -583<br />

2016 684 595 -89<br />

2017 1139 513 -626<br />

Source: ec.europa.eu, retrieved on 3 October 2018<br />

Find out about the rules and requirements <strong>for</strong> exporting to<br />

the EU<br />

There are several non-tariff measures, such as technical<br />

regulations and standards, which must be adhered to when<br />

exporting to the EU. They may vary according to your export<br />

sector. For instance, if you are a food exporter, you will need to<br />

ensure that your product meets the health and safety standards<br />

of the EU: products can be rejected at EU borders <strong>for</strong> noncompliance.<br />

You will also need to identify any additional, nonlegal<br />

buyer requirements that can enhance your chances of<br />

success<strong>full</strong>y exporting. These may include quality management<br />

systems, certification (HACCP, Global GAP), and sustainability<br />

standards (Fairtrade, Rain<strong>for</strong>est Alliance). Additionally, make<br />

sure that you are familiar with the documentary requirements<br />

<strong>for</strong> export, such as the Commercial Invoice, Customs Value<br />

Declaration, and the Single Administrative Document (SAD).<br />

Develop a strategic export/market entry strategy<br />

Determine the best buyers <strong>for</strong> your products, and research the<br />

appropriate market segments to ensure that you can meet<br />

the quality and quantity demands of the EU market. Consider<br />

partnering with like-minded suppliers who can help you to meet<br />

quantity requirements and find the best channels to penetrate<br />

the European market. Caribbean Export’s Distribution Channel<br />

Mapping Tool on the CE Intelligence Portal provides guidance<br />

to SMEs on profiling, approaching, and selecting a suitable<br />

distributor.<br />

Participate in trade shows and undertake missions to your<br />

target market<br />

While this may be a costly undertaking, it is always useful to<br />

get a first-hand view of how business is done in the country<br />

you have selected. Check out your main competitors, review<br />

prices <strong>for</strong> similar products, and begin to introduce your<br />

product to potential consumers.<br />

Protect your intellectual property<br />

Both goods and services exporters should take steps to<br />

protect their intellectual property (IP) in each target<br />

market. This can be achieved through various tools such as<br />

trademarks, patents, copyrights, industrial design rights, and<br />

geographical indications.<br />

Use available resources<br />

Taking the first steps to exporting to Europe can be a<br />

daunting process. But there is a wealth of in<strong>for</strong>mation and<br />

support to help you on your journey. Caribbean Export<br />

has developed a short, practical, commercially-led export<br />

guidance manual which begins by assessing your export<br />

readiness and provides in<strong>for</strong>mation on how best to profile,<br />

approach and select a suitable distributor.<br />

There is further advice and in<strong>for</strong>mation on breaking<br />

into EU, US and other markets, as well as financing<br />

and investment, on the Caribbean Export <strong>web</strong>site<br />

(www.ceintelligence.com).<br />

26<br />

Trinidad<br />

and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce<br />


Caribbean Export<br />

The Caribbean Export Development Agency, established by<br />

inter-governmental agreement, promotes trade, exports<br />

and investment in the countries of Cari<strong>for</strong>um.<br />

Who’s who?<br />

Fairtrade<br />

The International Fairtrade Certification Mark guarantees<br />

that specified products meet the sustainability standards<br />

set by Fairtrade International (FLO).<br />

Cari<strong>for</strong>um<br />

The Caribbean Forum, comprising the countries of<br />

Caricom plus the Dominican Republic, serves as a conduit<br />

between the Caribbean and the EU.<br />

Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)<br />

The agreement signed in 2008 between Cari<strong>for</strong>um and the<br />

EU, designed to develop trade and investment between<br />

the two regions.<br />

European Union<br />

The 28 states of western and central Europe within which<br />

the free movement of goods, services, money and people<br />

is being developed. The combined population is over 510<br />

million. The United Kingdom plans to withdraw from the<br />

Union on 29 March, 2019.<br />

Global GAP<br />

An international agricultural certification scheme setting<br />

standards <strong>for</strong> “good agricultural practice” (GAP) and<br />

unifying requirements <strong>for</strong> suppliers and retailers.<br />

HACCP<br />

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, a scheme to<br />

monitor and prevent biological, chemical and physical<br />

hazards throughout the food production chain.<br />

Rain<strong>for</strong>est Alliance<br />

The New York-based Rain<strong>for</strong>est Alliance certifies<br />

sustainable agriculture and <strong>for</strong>estry among other things,<br />

and awards a seal <strong>for</strong> products meeting its criteria.<br />

Single Administrative Document (SAD)<br />

This is the main customs document used <strong>for</strong> trade into or out<br />

of the EU customs area. It is known in the UK as Form C88.<br />

www.chamber.org.tt/contact-magazine 27<br />

Trinidad and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce

looking outwards<br />

Who do we<br />

have trade<br />

deals with?<br />

Trinidad and Tobago already has trade<br />

agreements in place with many of its<br />

regional and international partners, all<br />

designed to boost exports and make them<br />

easier and less costly<br />

WORDS BY: The Ministry of Trade and Industry,<br />

Trinidad and Tobago<br />

Trinidad and Tobago has trade agreements with trading partners both as<br />

part of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and on its own (bilaterally).<br />

These agreements facilitate market access <strong>for</strong> local exporters to third<br />

countries, and also provide <strong>for</strong> the opening up of the Trinidad and Tobago<br />

market, except in the case of the USA, Canada and Venezuela, which are one-way<br />

agreements in favour of Caricom.<br />

These arrangements provide dual benefits to local companies, by facilitating<br />

the importation of cost-effective inputs and assisting with price-competitiveness<br />

in <strong>for</strong>eign markets, while providing opportunities <strong>for</strong> growth through exports. The<br />

table outlines the ten preferential trading arrangements to which Trinidad and<br />

Tobago is a party.<br />

These agreements recognise the importance of trade in services as well as<br />

goods, and thus in some cases include provisions <strong>for</strong> future negotiations in this area.<br />

Economic and technical cooperation is a key feature of the trade agreement with<br />

Colombia, as it promotes cooperation in a number of areas such as human resource<br />

development, science and technology, and tourism, through exchanges among local<br />

universities.<br />

In addition, Trinidad and Tobago, as part of Cari<strong>for</strong>um, receives development<br />

cooperation assistance under the European Development Fund <strong>for</strong> projects related<br />

to economic development, social and human development, regional cooperation<br />

and integration.<br />

Challenges<br />

The main issues encountered by<br />

exporters when trading include access<br />

to market in<strong>for</strong>mation, difficulties in<br />

meeting standards <strong>for</strong> products, access<br />

to <strong>for</strong>eign exchange, and in some<br />

instances distributor laws which act as<br />

a deterrent.<br />

Among other things, the Ministry<br />

of Trade and Industry is actively seeking<br />

to assist exporters with addressing<br />

these issues through:<br />

• trade missions, which provide<br />

opportunities to gather first-hand<br />

in<strong>for</strong>mation<br />

• exporter training and workshops,<br />

to build capacity and share<br />

in<strong>for</strong>mation<br />

• the implementation of lines of<br />

credit <strong>for</strong> specific markets<br />

• the strengthening of its Single<br />

Electronic Window, TTBizLink, to<br />

facilitate and simplify trade<br />

• and the development and<br />

implementation of policies.<br />

Additionally, the agreements<br />

provide a structure <strong>for</strong> the establishment<br />

of a joint institution to address any<br />

challenges which may arise between<br />

the parties during implementation of<br />

the respective agreements.<br />

See following pages <strong>for</strong> details of the current<br />

trade agreements<br />

28<br />

Trinidad<br />

and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce<br />


30<br />

Trinidad<br />

and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce www.chamber.org.tt/contact-magazine<br />

Country/<br />

country<br />

grouping<br />

United States<br />

of America<br />

Market<br />

size<br />

(2017,<br />

millions)<br />

Name of trade agreement/date of<br />

signature<br />

325.7 Caribbean Basin Economic<br />

Recovery Act<br />

Signed: January 1984<br />

United States-Caribbean Basin<br />

Trade Partnership Act<br />

Signed: October 1, 2000<br />

Date of expiry: September 30, 2020<br />

Canada 36.7 Caribcan<br />

Signed: November 28, 1986<br />

Date of expiry: December 31, 2023<br />

Caricom 18.2 Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas<br />

establishing the Caribbean<br />

Community (Caricom), including<br />

the Caribbean Single Market and<br />

Economy (CSME)<br />

Signed: July 5, 2001<br />

Costa Rica 4.9 Caricom-Costa Rica Free Trade<br />

Agreement<br />

Signed: March 9, 2004<br />

Dominican<br />

Republic<br />

10.8 Caricom-Dominican Republic Free<br />

Trade Agreement<br />

Signed: August 22, 1998<br />

Type of<br />

agreement<br />

Unilateral<br />

One-way<br />

arrangement<br />

in favour of<br />

Caricom<br />

Unilateral<br />

One-way<br />

arrangement<br />

in favour of<br />

Caricom<br />

Free trade<br />

agreement<br />

Two-way<br />

arrangement<br />

Free trade<br />

agreement<br />

Two-way<br />

arrangement<br />

Main provisions<br />

The agreement contains chapters related to:<br />

establishment of common external tariff, rules of<br />

origin, product specific rules of origin, freedom<br />

of transit, internal taxes and other fiscal charges,<br />

quantitative restrictions, subsidies and dumping<br />

safeguards.<br />

The agreement and its protocols contain articles<br />

related to: market access, temporary admission<br />

of goods, rules of origin, product specific rules of<br />

origin, customs procedures, sanitary and<br />

phytosanitary standards, and technical barriers<br />

to trade<br />

The agreement contains articles related to:<br />

market access, rules of origin, product specific<br />

rules of origin, technical barriers to trade,<br />

sanitary and phytosanitary measures, safeguards,<br />

unfair trade practices, anti-competitive business<br />

practices, and customs cooperation<br />

Opportunities available<br />

• Duty-free access <strong>for</strong> goods into the United<br />

States<br />

• Duty-free access <strong>for</strong> most goods into<br />

Canada (does not cover textiles, footwear,<br />

luggage, leather garments, lubricating oils<br />

or methanol)<br />

• Free movement of skills/labour, goods,<br />

services, capital, and the right of<br />

establishment among all Caricom member<br />

states (except The Bahamas and<br />

Montserrat)<br />

• Free trade in all products among Caricom<br />

member states<br />

• Framework <strong>for</strong> the regional harmonisation<br />

of issues such as government procurement<br />

and e-commerce<br />

• Free trade in a wide range of goods and<br />

elimination of non-tariff barriers<br />

• Duty-free access <strong>for</strong> a selected list of<br />

agricultural products on a seasonal basis<br />

• Duty-free access <strong>for</strong> electrical products<br />

produced in free trade zones<br />

• Mechanism <strong>for</strong> settlement of disputes<br />

• Joint Council framework to facilitate<br />

expansion of the agreement and address<br />

trade issues<br />

• Free trade in a wide range of goods<br />

• Future negotiation of access <strong>for</strong> service<br />

providers in various sectors such as<br />

tourism, financial and professional services<br />

• Joint Council framework to facilitate<br />

expansion of the agreement and address<br />

trade issues<br />

• Duty-free access <strong>for</strong> a selected list of<br />

agricultural products on a seasonal basis

www.chamber.org.tt/contact-magazine 31<br />

Country/<br />

country<br />

grouping<br />

Market<br />

size<br />

(2017,<br />

millions)<br />

Name of trade agreement/date of<br />

signature<br />

Cuba 11.5 Caricom-Cuba Agreement on Trade<br />

and Economic Cooperation<br />

Signed: July 5, 2000<br />

European<br />

Union<br />

508 Cari<strong>for</strong>um-European Union<br />

Economic Partnership Agreement<br />

Signed: October 15, 2008<br />

Type of<br />

agreement<br />

Partial scope<br />

agreement<br />

Two-way<br />

arrangement<br />

Free trade<br />

agreement<br />

Two-way<br />

arrangement<br />

Main provisions<br />

The agreement contains articles related to:<br />

market access, rules of origin, technical<br />

standards, safeguards, unfair trade practices, and<br />

anti-competitive business practices<br />

The agreement contains articles related to: trade<br />

in goods – market access, rules of origin, product<br />

specific rules of origin, customs duties, antidumping<br />

and countervailing measures,<br />

safeguards, and technical barriers to trade<br />

Opportunities available<br />

• Duty-free access on a selected list of<br />

products<br />

• Access to market support through the<br />

Trade Facilitation Office in Cuba<br />

• The most comprehensive trade agreement<br />

signed by T&T; offers preferential access to<br />

a list of products<br />

• Af<strong>for</strong>ds development assistance to fund<br />

key projects within the region under the<br />

European Development Fund<br />

Trinidad and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce<br />

Venezuela 31.9 Caricom-Venezuela Agreement on<br />

Trade, Economic and Technical<br />

Cooperation<br />

Signed: October 13, 1992<br />

Colombia 49.1 Agreement on Trade, Economic<br />

and Technical Cooperation<br />

between Caricom and the<br />

Government of the Republic of<br />

Colombia<br />

Signed: July 24, 1994<br />

Panama 4.1 Trinidad and Tobago-Panama<br />

Partial Scope Trade Agreement<br />

Signed: October 3, 2013<br />

Partial scope<br />

agreement<br />

One-way<br />

arrangement<br />

in favour of<br />

Caricom<br />

Partial scope<br />

agreement<br />

Two-way<br />

arrangement<br />

Partial scope<br />

agreement<br />

Two-way<br />

arrangement<br />

The agreement contains articles related to:<br />

market access, rules of origin, safeguards, and<br />

unfair trade practices<br />

The agreement and its protocols contain articles<br />

related to: market access, treatment of used<br />

goods, rules of origin, technical standards,<br />

safeguards, and unfair trade practices<br />

The agreement contains articles related to:<br />

market access, rules of origin, safeguards, antidumping<br />

and countervailing measures, sanitary<br />

and phytosanitary standards, technical barriers<br />

to trade, and trade facilitation<br />

• Elimination of tariffs on a selected list of<br />

Caricom products<br />

• Provides mechanism <strong>for</strong> settlement of<br />

disputes<br />

• Joint Council framework to facilitate<br />

expansion of the agreement and address<br />

trade issues<br />

• Duty-free access <strong>for</strong> a selected list of<br />

products; opportunity <strong>for</strong> future<br />

liberalisation of trade in services<br />

• Future negotiation of a bilateral<br />

investment treaty<br />

• Promotes technical cooperation in a<br />

number of areas such as human resource<br />

development, science and technology, and<br />

tourism, through exchanges among<br />

universities<br />

• Joint Council framework to facilitate<br />

expansion of the agreement and address<br />

trade issues<br />

• Duty-free access <strong>for</strong> a selected list of<br />

products<br />

• Development of a technical cooperation<br />

work programme to improve trade<br />

facilitation between the two countries<br />

• Future negotiation of a bilateral<br />

investment treaty within one year<br />

• Future liberalisation of trade in services in<br />

sectors such as ICT, financial services,<br />

education and transport services, within<br />

two years

looking outwards<br />

Non-tariff<br />

barriers –<br />

the exporter’s<br />

nightmare<br />

As if exporting wasn’t enough of a challenge already,<br />

the exporter can easily be ambushed by unexpected<br />

traps and pitfalls in the target market. Here’s how to<br />

deal with them<br />

WORDS BY: Usha Samsundar<br />

Business Development Consultant – Exports<br />

Quotas<br />

Ask a group of manufacturers why they haven’t been able<br />

to reach their desired level of export growth despite the preferential<br />

agreements now in place with extra-regional markets, and someone will<br />

mention non-tariff barriers.<br />

Non-tariff barriers have long been considered the villain of the piece. They are<br />

one of the key contributors to the gap between where many Trinidad and Tobago<br />

exporters actually are, and where they want to be – expanding significantly, even<br />

aggressively, into extra-regional markets.<br />

But we must be careful not to use “non-tariff barrier” as an umbrella term to<br />

refer to any and all issues which challenge exporters and delay or frustrate their<br />

attempts at new market development.<br />

Sanctions<br />

Demystifying the terms<br />

Non-tariff measures (NTMs) and non-tariff barriers (NTBs) are impediments to trade.<br />

They are the result of actions and policy measures beyond what seems to be<br />

reasonable. They are more complex and confusing than they need be. And<br />

they are non-proportional to the risk involved.<br />

Defining NTBs and NTMs is challenging because of the scope and<br />

complexity of the many items they can cover. For example, an exporter<br />

32<br />

Trinidad<br />

and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce<br />


attempts to register product under sanitary and<br />

phytosanitary (SPS) regulations in a particular<br />

country, and is faced with a flood of onerous and<br />

ever-expanding requests <strong>for</strong> more in<strong>for</strong>mation,<br />

maybe confidential or proprietary in<strong>for</strong>mation<br />

not part of the listed requirements and apparently<br />

unwarranted, plus inexplicably lengthy delays as the<br />

process drags on. This exporter has stumbled on an NTB.<br />

What they are not<br />

The challenging and time-consuming processes associated with<br />

sanitary registration and labelling requirements in the Latin<br />

American region are not NTBs or NTMs.<br />

Those processes have long been in place there, and the<br />

extensive paperwork, the documentation required and the<br />

related costs incurred should not come as a surprise. They are<br />

just part of the entry requirements <strong>for</strong> doing business there.<br />

The registration process may be a bit cumbersome, but in most<br />

cases registrations are achieved once the required paperwork<br />

and documentation are supplied.<br />

Other regions or markets that continually<br />

challenge our exporters are the USA,<br />

Forex<br />

restrictions<br />

Canada, Europe, and the UK, with their<br />

stringent requirements <strong>for</strong> product labelling<br />

and packaging, quality standards and<br />

certification. All this has been cited as a<br />

significant impediment to local exporters<br />

trying to doing business, but it cannot be considered an NTB<br />

or NTM, because the standards and processes are transparent,<br />

well-documented and clearly defined.<br />

Inaccurate in<strong>for</strong>mation<br />

Sometimes incomplete or incorrect in<strong>for</strong>mation can create<br />

misunderstandings that lead exporters to conclude that they<br />

are being confronted by an NTB.<br />

In a recent case, an exporter complained to a trade<br />

facilitation organisation about an NTB related to the sanitary<br />

registration process in a Central American market. After<br />

investigating, the said organisation concluded that the<br />

exporter had been misled by inaccurate in<strong>for</strong>mation<br />

from point persons they had contracted locally to<br />

assist with the registration process.<br />

Getting accurate in<strong>for</strong>mation from trusted<br />

sources about technical and SPS measures is crucial<br />

to minimising costly delays and avoiding unnecessary<br />

expense.<br />

An exporter’s guide to successful market<br />

entry<br />

Above all, be proactive, do due diligence, and network.<br />

Obtain as much data as you can on technical and sanitary<br />

requirements, and on standards and regulations, through the<br />

Enquiry Point on the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards<br />

(TTBS) <strong>web</strong>site, or through the Ministry of Agriculture, Land<br />

and Fisheries.<br />

Subscribe to the ‘ePing’ online alert system on the TTBS<br />

<strong>web</strong>site: it alerts you with an email when <strong>for</strong>eign regulators<br />

Customs<br />

Levies<br />

change their requirements.<br />

Access trade facilitation assistance, in<strong>for</strong>mation<br />

and guidance from the various organisations that<br />

work closely with exporters, like exporTT, the TTMA,<br />

and the TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce. They<br />

can recommend legal resources, and advise on how to<br />

navigate the market. They can also refer you to other local<br />

companies that may already be in the market.<br />

Note that other companies already in the market may be<br />

in different industries, and the NTBs and levels of competition<br />

may differ by industry, so use the in<strong>for</strong>mation gained from<br />

them as a guide, and not as a blueprint.<br />

A call to exporters: dealing with NTBs<br />

To ensure that NTBs do not continue to be a significant<br />

barrier to trade expansion, we need to create a comprehensive<br />

mechanism <strong>for</strong> resolution.<br />

At present, exporters seek assistance in one of several<br />

ways: through the Ministry of Trade and Industry (Trade<br />

Directorate Division) if there is a trade agreement in place,<br />

<strong>for</strong> example, or by contacting one of the trade facilitation<br />

organisations.<br />

This ad hoc arrangement is not an ideal mechanism, since<br />

it diffuses in<strong>for</strong>mation among many<br />

different agencies and organisations.<br />

There is no central point where<br />

complaints can be logged to create a<br />

viable database.<br />

We need a more sustainable<br />

solution that can help the various<br />

Regulations<br />

stakeholders to understand which markets and industries are<br />

the key offenders, in order to focus on those areas.<br />

A national committee<br />

One recommendation is to create a national committee to<br />

deal with trade issues/NTBs. This initiative could be led by the<br />

Ministry of Trade and Industry/TTBS, and bring together the<br />

key stakeholders from trade facilitation organisations and the<br />

private sector. When a complaint is lodged and found to be<br />

valid, this committee could then escalate the issue at the<br />

Caricom/Joint Council level, and ultimately to the World<br />

Trade Organisation if necessary.<br />

A study commissioned by the Caricom Secretariat in<br />

2014* noted that “trade has become more difficult recently<br />

despite agreements being in place because of a perceived<br />

surge of protectionist behaviour by import administrations”.<br />

Exporters must there<strong>for</strong>e demand a solution as a unified<br />

group. We cannot sit idly by, unable to take <strong>full</strong> advantage<br />

of trade liberalisation and the potential <strong>for</strong> significant export<br />

growth, at a time when the country desperately needs it.<br />

* Caricom Secretariat Report entitled “Identification and Assessment<br />

of the Underlying Reasons Affecting Caricom’s Trade Per<strong>for</strong>mance<br />

Under the Existing Bilateral Trade Agreements with the Dominican<br />

Republic, Costa Rica, Colombia, Cuba and Venezuela” (BKP Research and<br />

Consulting, March 2014)<br />

www.chamber.org.tt/contact-magazine 33<br />

Trinidad and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce

looking outwards<br />

Where to go<br />

<strong>for</strong> help?<br />

A checklist of private sector and government agencies<br />

which provide assistance, advice, in<strong>for</strong>mation and<br />

documentation <strong>for</strong> exporters<br />

Government agencies<br />

Organisation Location <strong>Contact</strong> Function<br />

Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries<br />

Animal Production and<br />

Health Division<br />

80 Abercromby St.,<br />

Port of Spain<br />

625-5997, 625-1473,<br />

669-6623<br />

• Export Health Certificate: meat, poultry and<br />

dairy products<br />

Plant Quarantine Division<br />

• Phytosanitary Certificate: unprocessed plant<br />

products<br />

World Trade Organisation<br />

(WTO) Sanitary and<br />

Phytosanitary Enquiry<br />

Point<br />

Ministry of Finance<br />

Research Division,<br />

Central Experiment Station,<br />

Centeno<br />

646-4334/7<br />

Internet site where enquiries about Trinidad and<br />

Tobago’s agricultural health and food safety<br />

requirements/legislation and changes that can<br />

affect trade are published, <strong>for</strong> the in<strong>for</strong>mation and<br />

comments of affected countries or countries that<br />

are members of the WTO. Established in fulfillment<br />

of Trinidad and Tobago’s obligation as a member of<br />

the WTO<br />

The Customs and Excise<br />

Division<br />

Customs House,<br />

Ajax Street,<br />

Port of Spain<br />

612-7010<br />

By monitoring compliance with trade-related<br />

rules and agreements, plays an important role <strong>for</strong><br />

businesses accessing imported raw materials and<br />

inputs. Tries to assist the public with determining<br />

import duties be<strong>for</strong>e the delivery of goods, though<br />

the list of available options is skewed towards oneoff<br />

imports by consumers.<br />

Also issues Certificates of Origin <strong>for</strong> goods exported<br />

to the United States and the European Union<br />

34<br />

Trinidad<br />

and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce<br />


Organisation Location <strong>Contact</strong> Function<br />

Ministry of Health<br />

The Chemistry, Food and<br />

Drugs Division (CFDD)<br />

92 Frederick St., Port of<br />

Spain<br />

800-CFDD (2333),<br />

627-0010<br />

Provides laboratory services and analytical and<br />

advisory support to the Customs and Excise Division.<br />

Any person, broker or business wishing to import,<br />

manufacture or sell food or drugs in Trinidad and<br />

Tobago must have them inspected and approved by<br />

the CFDD.<br />

• Export Health Certificate: food, fish and fishery<br />

products<br />

• Export Free Sale Certificate<br />

Pharmacy/Drug<br />

Inspectorate<br />

92 Frederick St.,<br />

Port of Spain<br />

624-5968,<br />

623-5242<br />

• Licence to export antibiotics<br />

The Pesticides and Toxic<br />

Chemicals Inspectorate<br />

3rd Floor,<br />

92 Frederick St.,<br />

Port of Spain<br />

623-7544 • Export Licence <strong>for</strong> toxic chemicals<br />

Ministry of Trade and Industry<br />

TTBizlink<br />

Level 9, Nicholas Tower,<br />

63-65 Independence<br />

Square, Port of Spain<br />

800-4739<br />

Single Electronic Window: a secure, user-friendly,<br />

online interface giving businesses and individuals<br />

24/7 access to applications <strong>for</strong> government’s trade<br />

and business services, such as:<br />

• E-Certificate of Origin<br />

• E-Import/Export Permits and Licences<br />

• E-Maritime Services<br />

• E-Goods Declaration<br />

The Trinidad and Tobago<br />

Bureau of Standards<br />

(TTBS)<br />

1-2 Century Drive, Trincity<br />

Industrial Estate,<br />

Macoya<br />

662-8827<br />

Deals with the dissemination of in<strong>for</strong>mation on<br />

international standards and technical regulations,<br />

training in ISO 9000 total quality management and<br />

ISO 14000 environmental management systems,<br />

testing of raw materials and finished products,<br />

inspection of consumer items<br />

Trade Licence Unit (TLU)<br />

Ground Floor, TTMA<br />

Building,<br />

42 Tenth Avenue, Barataria<br />

674-3545, 675-8242<br />

PBX: 638-9151<br />

TradeLicenceUnit@gov.tt<br />

Responsible <strong>for</strong> conducting investigations,<br />

submitting reports and issuing Import and Export<br />

Licenses in respect of goods which are still subject to<br />

import/export control<br />

• An export licence must be obtained PRIOR<br />

to the shipment of any item on the export<br />

negative list from Trinidad and Tobago<br />

• Applications may be submitted to the TLU via<br />

TTBizLink<br />

www.chamber.org.tt/contact-magazine 35<br />

Trinidad and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce

looking outwards<br />

Organisation Location <strong>Contact</strong> Function<br />

Ministry of Trade and Industry<br />

exporTT Ltd.<br />

151B Charlotte St,<br />

Port of Spain<br />

612-3988<br />

The national export promotion agency in T&T.<br />

• RDF Financing Programmes<br />

• Co-Financing Programmes<br />

• Grant Fund Programmes<br />

• Export Market Research<br />

• E- Certificates of Origin<br />

Eximbank<br />

30 Queens Park West,<br />

Port of Spain<br />

shthomas@eximbanktt.com<br />

eximbank@eximbanktt.com<br />

The official export credit agency; provides trade<br />

finance products to the export sector, ranging from<br />

export credit insurance to asset financing<br />

The Trinidad and Tobago<br />

Free Zones Company Ltd.<br />

Albion Court,<br />

2nd Floor West,<br />

61 Dundonald St.,<br />

Port of Spain<br />

625-4749,<br />

623-8363<br />

Approved enterprises engaged in exporting from<br />

a free zone to a territory, other than the customs<br />

territory, will be exempt from:<br />

• import and export licensing<br />

• corporation tax<br />

• business levy<br />

• withholding tax or any other tax or levy on<br />

sales, receipts, profits or gains in respect of those<br />

exports<br />

Applications to become a Freezone member are<br />

judged on a case-by-case basis, but it is advisable<br />

that:<br />

• the company’s business plan clearly outlines<br />

how it intends to add value to the local market<br />

• roughly 80% of the company’s product is<br />

exported<br />

• the company is locally incorporated<br />

Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs<br />

The Intellectual Property<br />

Office (IPO)<br />

11-13 Frederick St.,<br />

Port of Spain<br />

625-9972,<br />

625-1907, 627-0706<br />

Ensures that creativity and ingenuity is protected by<br />

registering intellectual property such as trademarks,<br />

designs and patents<br />

Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs<br />

Levels 10-14,<br />

Tower C, International<br />

Waterfront Centre,<br />

1A Wrightson Rd.,<br />

Port of Spain<br />

623-6894<br />

• Overseas diplomatic missions<br />

• Certificate of Recognition of Caribbean<br />

Community Skills Qualification<br />

36<br />

Trinidad<br />

and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce<br />


Private sector agencies<br />

Organisation Location <strong>Contact</strong> Function<br />

The Trinidad and Tobago<br />

Chamber of Industry and<br />

Commerce (T&T Chamber)<br />

Columbus Circle,<br />

Westmoorings,<br />

Port of Spain<br />

637-6966<br />

Lobbying & advocacy on behalf of the private sector<br />

Hosts outbound Trade Missions<br />

E-Certificate of Origin <strong>for</strong> non-preferential access<br />

The American Chamber of<br />

Commerce of Trinidad and<br />

Tobago (Amcham)<br />

62 Maraval Rd.,<br />

Newtown,<br />

Port of Spain<br />

622-4466,<br />

622-0340,<br />

628-2508<br />

Lobbying & advocacy<br />

Trade Missions<br />

The Trinidad and Tobago<br />

Coalition of Services<br />

Industries (TTCSI)<br />

18 O’Connor St.,<br />

Woodbrook,<br />

Port of Spain<br />

622-9229<br />

Lobbying & advocacy on behalf of the services sector<br />

Certificate of Registration as a Caricom Service Provider<br />

The Trinidad and<br />

Tobago Manufacturers’<br />

Association (TTMA)<br />

2 Tenth Avenue,<br />

Barataria,<br />

Port of Spain<br />

675-8862,<br />

675-0095<br />

Lobbying & advocacy on behalf of the manufacturing sector<br />

Hosts the Trade Investment Convention<br />

Organises outbound Trade Missions<br />

Source: Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce<br />




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Hazmat and Oil Spill Response Services<br />

Cooling Tower Cleaning<br />

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www.chamber.org.tt/contact-magazine 37<br />

Trinidad and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce

looking outwards<br />

The voice of<br />

experience<br />

Six successful T&T exporters describe the<br />

export journey they have taken, and offer<br />

encouragement and advice <strong>for</strong> those who are<br />

starting out<br />

WORDS BY: Natalie Dookie<br />

Writer/Business Development Consultant<br />

Full Circle Animation Studio: build trust<br />

and reliability<br />

courtesy <strong>full</strong> circle animation studio<br />

Jason Lindsay, Managing Director, Full Circle Animation Studio<br />

Full Circle Animation began its export journey in<br />

2012, supplying animation production services in the<br />

Caribbean, North America, and the Far East. Today, its<br />

annual exports account <strong>for</strong> more than 50% of sales.<br />

In 2018 it secured a contract from Big Jump Entertainment in<br />

Canada to supply animation <strong>for</strong> the HBO show Animals.<br />

Although the digital services economy is borderless,<br />

exporting from Trinidad and Tobago has been tough, says<br />

Jason Lindsay, Full Circle’s Managing Director. “Most local<br />

business infrastructure facilitates product export,” he warns,<br />

“and is geared to medium and large companies.”<br />

Full Circle is an SME, operating in an industry (animation)<br />

which does not have enough local demand to make the<br />

business viable. “Many local agencies that support, promote<br />

and finance exporters still have not caught up with the<br />

services sector,” Lindsay says, “and do not <strong>full</strong>y understand<br />

how the digital economy operates. We were born locally but<br />

are sustained globally.”<br />

So Full Circle is pushing ahead with its export drive,<br />

and plans to add intellectual property development to its<br />

portfolio. Investing in digital properties, such as TV shows,<br />

will allow the company to benefit from ownership value on<br />

the same product.<br />

Lindsay encourages other digital services exporters to<br />

emphasise trust, effective communication, and reliability as<br />

core values, in order to build confidence with clients in the<br />

world of borderless animation.<br />

38<br />

Trinidad<br />

and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce<br />


courtesy tobago cocoa estates<br />

Tobago Cocoa Estate: product quality is key<br />

Duane Dove, founder/owner of Tobago<br />

Cocoa Estate<br />

Duane Dove, founder/owner of Tobago Cocoa Estate, is often credited with putting<br />

Trinidad and Tobago’s cocoa back on the world map.<br />

He began trading with Scandinavia in 2010, and currently produces a<br />

range of different chocolate products. Tobago Estate exports almost 95% of its<br />

production, using a combined model of direct trade along with local distributors<br />

and representatives.<br />

As a chocolate maker working in the European Union <strong>for</strong> more than 20 years,<br />

Dove felt that exporting to Europe would be made easier by his experience there.<br />

He stresses that product quality is a critical factor when exporting to developed<br />

markets. Tobago Estate regularly enters international competitions to sanction<br />

its brand – in 2018 its Laura 45% chocolate bar secured silver in the plain/milk<br />

chocolate category at the 2018 European Bean-to-Bar competition.<br />

Dove’s advice to local firms: “Invest in market research when exploring new<br />

markets, and undertake feasibility studies. You need to plan your export journey<br />

care<strong>full</strong>y and thoroughly.”<br />

www.chamber.org.tt/contact-magazine 39<br />

Trinidad and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce

looking outwards<br />

courtesy sacha cosmetics<br />

Kama Maharaj, the founder of Sacha<br />

Cosmetics<br />

Sacha Cosmetics: take advantage of T&T’s<br />

trade agreements<br />

Sacha Cosmetics first exported 15 years ago, to Caricom. It has also exported to Cuba<br />

<strong>for</strong> over ten years now, and has made inroads online, selling on Amazon in Canada, the<br />

European Union, the UK and the USA.<br />

In 2015 Sacha entered the Latin American market, operating first in Panama<br />

where it now owns five stores. Recently it signed an agreement to position its<br />

makeup products in 115 retail outlets of the Colombian-based La Riviera Group, and<br />

it plans to further increase its outlets worldwide using a franchising model.<br />

Kama Maharaj, Sacha’s founder, says: “The major challenge of exporting to<br />

Latin America is the time and costs required <strong>for</strong> completing regulatory and product<br />

registrations. However, we persisted because Trinidad and Tobago has duty-free or<br />

partial scope agreements with several of these markets.” In Colombia, import duties<br />

on American and European brands are 15-20%, while Sacha can enter the market<br />

duty-free.<br />

Maharaj encourages exporters to identify their competitors, and to differentiate<br />

their products and services. Sacha is positioned as a high-end brand in its export<br />

markets, and as the only makeup line made specifically <strong>for</strong> multi-cultural women<br />

with light, medium and dark complexions.<br />

As Sacha looks to new markets in Africa, Maharaj recommends that local firms<br />

should not restrict themselves to Caricom, as it’s a small market with limited growth<br />

potential, and nearby Latin America provides additional scope.<br />

40<br />

Trinidad<br />

and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce<br />


Trinidad Tissues: use the trade support<br />

agencies<br />

Trinidad Tissues Limited (TTL) first exported paper products to<br />

Cuba in 2014, using a local broker. In preparation <strong>for</strong> their first<br />

visit in 2015, they met with the Cuban Ambassador, which was<br />

crucial to gaining approvals and market entry.<br />

TTL’s CEO, Kevin Marcilliat, also credits exporTT’s Trade<br />

Facilitation Office in Cuba <strong>for</strong> helping the company to gain<br />

direct entry by arranging documents and registrations.<br />

TTL offers bilingual customer service, which has been a<br />

tremendous asset in trading with Cuba. Eventually it <strong>for</strong>med<br />

a partnership with a small paper manufacturing plant, and<br />

started shipping semi-finished products in 2016.<br />

Sallyann Rampat, Director of Sales & Marketing, says:<br />

“Since then we have doubled sales to Cuba year over year.<br />

We have also exhibited annually at FIHAV (the Havana<br />

international trade fair) since 2015, in order to maintain<br />

market visibility, and we have built excellent relationships<br />

with the main agencies in Havana.”<br />

TTL now exports to over 25 countries in the Caribbean,<br />

Central and South America. Export sales have tripled in the<br />

past five years, and now account <strong>for</strong> 50% of revenue. Rampat<br />

urges exporters to Cuba: “Invest in bilingual ‘hunters’ and<br />

have patience. While payments may be challenging, you will<br />

get paid.”<br />

“Invest in bilingual<br />

‘hunters’ and have<br />

patience”<br />

The Cuban ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago<br />

receives a donation <strong>for</strong> hurricane relief from Sallyann<br />

Rampat, Director, Sales and Marketing, and Kevin<br />

Marcilliat, CEO of Trinidad Tissues<br />

courtesy trinidad tissues<br />

www.chamber.org.tt/contact-magazine 41<br />

Trinidad and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce

looking outwards<br />

courtesy ramps logistics<br />

Shaun Rampersad, Chief Operating Officer, Ramps Logistics<br />

Ramps Logistics: invest in a local presence<br />

Ramps Logistics began their export journey with Haiti, Guyana<br />

and Suriname in 2013.<br />

Ramps exports integrated oil and gas logistics services,<br />

including freight <strong>for</strong>warding, customs brokerage, shore base,<br />

and visas and work permits. Preferring to establish local<br />

offices, it now has a presence in Guyana, Suriname, Miami<br />

and Houston.<br />

Shaun Rampersad, Chief Operating Officer, says: “Every<br />

country has a different model of operating and culture, and<br />

you need to <strong>full</strong>y understand this. Guyana is culturally similar<br />

to Trinidad, which made it easier <strong>for</strong> us.”<br />

Ramps is proud that its Guyana office is <strong>full</strong>y staffed by<br />

Guyanese, and that it is now the largest employer of Guyanese<br />

in the oil and gas sector there.<br />

Rampersad advises: “Just do it! Go, open an office,<br />

develop relationships, tell people what you are doing and<br />

ask <strong>for</strong> help. Speak to others who have done it already, and<br />

ensure you are well enough capitalised to be able to make it<br />

through the tough times. Once you start exporting you can<br />

standardise your <strong>for</strong>mat and develop a model which can be<br />

replicated in other markets.”<br />

Rampersad says his leadership team would be happy<br />

to share their exporting lessons with any exporter. For the<br />

future, Ramps is targeting the Latin American and West<br />

African markets, and will be further exploring Mexico and<br />

Colombia in the next few months.<br />

42<br />

Trinidad<br />

and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce<br />


Lake Asphalt of Trinidad and Tobago: do your market<br />

research, find partners<br />

Lake Asphalt of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) has been exporting Trinidad Lake Asphalt<br />

(TLA) since the early 1900s. It also exports refinery bitumen, bitumen emulsions, and<br />

the LASCO range of sealants/coatings to the Caribbean.<br />

TLA is exported through a network of international distributors. In 1996 LATT<br />

began exporting TLA to China, and because TLA is a specialised asphalt modifier, the<br />

company needed to partner with a local distributor to develop national standards,<br />

connect with paving contractors, and obtain country approvals.<br />

China has since become LATT’s largest international customer, using TLA on<br />

high profile projects, including the world’s longest bridge.<br />

CEO Roger Wiggins points out that China is a huge market with tremendous<br />

potential, but business, cultural and political differences make entry challenging. He<br />

encourages exporters to engage with T&T’s Embassy in China, as they can assist with<br />

due diligence on business partners.<br />

“Research your market, your competing products, and be aware of all barriers<br />

to trade and how to overcome them. Determine the best choice of market entry<br />

and consider a distributor, agent, or licensing arrangement if a partner is needed,”<br />

Wiggins advises.<br />

He strongly recommends using the export support services of exporTT, the<br />

Ministry of Trade & Industry, the Ministry of Foreign & Caricom Affairs, and lending<br />

agencies such as the Eximbank.<br />

In the long term, LATT wants to strengthen its presence in China and Brazil,<br />

while pursuing market development in India and Africa.<br />

Roger Wiggins, CEO, Lake Asphalt of<br />

Trinidad and Tobago<br />

courtesy lake asphalt of Trindad & tobago<br />

www.chamber.org.tt/contact-magazine 43<br />

Trinidad and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce


The economic<br />

outlook<br />

The region: Latin America and the Caribbean<br />

According to International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports, challenges have<br />

been mounting in a number of emerging markets and low-income countries,<br />

including some in Latin America.<br />

Many of these economies are feeling pressures from a stronger US dollar and<br />

a tightening of financial market conditions. Facing capital outflows and trade<br />

disputes, they could deliver a shock to a wide range of emerging and developing<br />

economies. 1<br />

For example, Argentina recently experienced a currency crisis, and Brazil has<br />

faced lower business confidence and continued political uncertainty.<br />

Prospects <strong>for</strong> FDI in Latin America and the Caribbean are expected to improve<br />

in 2019. The IMF has a slightly more optimistic projection than the World Bank.<br />

FDI growth <strong>for</strong>ecasts, Latin America and the Caribbean (%)<br />

2018 2019<br />

IMF 2.0 2.8<br />

World Bank 1.7 2.3<br />

The domestic landscape<br />

The IMF has predicted that the energy sector will grow by 6.0% in 2018 and 2.4%<br />

in 2019 (Article IV Mission Concluding Statement <strong>for</strong> Trinidad and Tobago). But the<br />

non-energy sector was predicted to contract by 1.8% in 2018 and show zero growth<br />

in 2019. 2<br />

Trinidad and Tobago growth <strong>for</strong>ecasts (%)<br />

Real GDP growth 2018 2019<br />

IMF 1.0 0.9<br />

World Bank 1.6 1.9<br />

Sector growth (IMF)<br />

Energy sector 6.0 2.4<br />

Non-energy sector -1.8 0.0<br />

2019 budget<br />

Trinidad and Tobago’s national budget <strong>for</strong> the fiscal year 2018-2019 was presented on<br />

1 October by finance minister Colm Imbert. 3 He estimated total revenue at TT$47.724<br />

billion (oil revenue $9.518 billion, non-oil revenue $35.197 billion, capital revenue<br />

$3.009 billion).<br />

The IMF has<br />

predicted that<br />

the energy<br />

sector will<br />

grow by 6.0%<br />

in 2018<br />

Expenditure was estimated at<br />

$51.776 billion (see sidebar) net of<br />

capital repayments and sinking fund<br />

contributions. The fiscal deficit <strong>for</strong><br />

2019 is expected to narrow to $4.052<br />

billion or 2.5%.<br />

Major projects announced in<br />

the budget are expected to stimulate<br />

economic activity and contribute to<br />

economic trans<strong>for</strong>mation. They include<br />

the Sandals Golden Grove project in<br />

Tobago, a competitively-priced steady<br />

supply of natural gas from Venezuela’s<br />

Dragon Field, two new fast ferries<br />

<strong>for</strong> the seabridge, radical changes at<br />

Petrotrin (the Petroleum Company of<br />

Trinidad and Tobago), and a new dry<br />

dock and ship-building/ship-repair<br />

facility at La Brea.<br />

The last is a collaboration with<br />

China Harbour Engineering Company<br />

Limited (CHEC), and was signed on 7<br />

September. It is projected to generate<br />

approximately US$500 million annually,<br />

which would represent a 2.4% addition<br />

to T&T’s GDP. During the four-year<br />

construction period, it is expected that<br />

3,500 direct and 5,700 indirect jobs will<br />

be created. 4<br />

The finance minister maintains<br />

that the creation of a growth-inducing<br />

environment that promotes macroeconomic<br />

stability and confidence<br />

is a key condition <strong>for</strong> ensuring that<br />

recovery takes hold in the non-energy<br />

sector.<br />

44<br />

Trinidad<br />

and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce<br />


Trinidad and Tobago: expenditure 2018-2019<br />

TT$ billion<br />

7.392<br />

6.120<br />

5.695<br />

3.546<br />

3.182<br />

1.760<br />

1.033<br />

0.780<br />


& TRAINING<br />



HEALTH<br />

WORKS &<br />


PUBLIC<br />


RURAL<br />


& LOCAL<br />




The global context 5<br />

Global growth was projected to reach<br />

3.8% in 2018 and 3.9% in 2019,<br />

according to the IMF’s April 2018<br />

World Economic Outlook (WEO). But<br />

growth seems to be slowing, and the<br />

outlook is becoming less certain. The<br />

rate of expansion appears to have<br />

peaked around July 2018 in some major<br />

economies, and growth has become less<br />

synchronised.<br />

The United States<br />

In the US, near-term momentum is<br />

strengthening in line with the April<br />

WEO <strong>for</strong>ecast, and the US dollar has<br />

appreciated by around 5% in recent<br />

weeks. The recent tariff increases<br />

on Chinese products and retaliatory<br />

measures by trading partners have<br />

increased the likelihood of escalating<br />

trade actions. These could derail the<br />

recovery and depress medium-term<br />

growth prospects, both through their<br />

direct impact on resource allocation<br />

and increased uncertainty <strong>for</strong> investors.<br />

As <strong>for</strong> oil prices, the US Energy<br />

In<strong>for</strong>mation Administration has<br />

estimated in its short-term energy<br />

outlook that West Texas Intermediate<br />

oil will average US$67.36 per barrel in<br />

2019. The World Bank is <strong>for</strong>ecasting a<br />

similar WTI oil price of US$67.40.<br />

The rest of the world<br />

Growth projections have been revised<br />

downwards <strong>for</strong> the Euro area, Japan,<br />

and the United Kingdom, reflecting<br />

negative shocks to economic activity in<br />

early 2018. There have been escalating<br />

trade tensions and market pressures<br />

on the currencies of some economies<br />

with weaker fundamentals. The UN<br />

states that intensifying trade tensions<br />

between the major economies pose a<br />

significant risk to the global growth<br />

outlook.<br />

Foreign direct investment<br />

(FDI)<br />

According to UNCTAD’s 2018 World<br />

Investment Report, weak FDI growth<br />

rates will continue <strong>for</strong> 2018 and can<br />

still result in an upswing in the global<br />

economy. In practice, FDI in LDCs<br />

remains heavily concentrated in a few<br />

countries, especially in the extractive<br />

industries. Directing FDI towards<br />

the longer-term infrastructure and<br />

diversification needs of LDCs remains<br />

an important policy challenge.<br />

Debt<br />

Global debt, both public and private,<br />

has reached an all-time high of<br />

$182 trillion, almost 60% higher<br />

than in 2007. This buildup has left<br />

governments and companies more<br />

vulnerable to a tightening of financial<br />

conditions.<br />

Emerging and developing<br />

economies are already feeling the<br />

pinch as they adjust to monetary<br />

normalisation in the advanced world.<br />

This could lead to market corrections,<br />

sharp exchange rate movements, and<br />

further weakening of capital flows.<br />

Emerging economies, excluding<br />

China, could face debt portfolio<br />

outflows of up to $100 billion, which<br />

would broadly match outflows during<br />

the global financial crisis. 6<br />

1 Lagarde, Christine, and IMF. “‹Steer, Don›t<br />

Drift›: Managing Rising Risks to Keep<br />

the Global Economy on Course.” IMF, 1<br />

October 2018. www.imf.org/en/News/<br />

Articles/2018/09/27/sp100118-steer-dontdrift.<br />

2 “IMF Executive Board Concludes 2018<br />

Article IV Consultation with Trinidad and<br />

Tobago.” IMF, 25 September 2018. www.<br />

imf.org/en/News/Articles/2018/09/25/<br />

pr18356-trinidad-and-tobago-imfexecutive-board-concludes-2018-articleiv-consultation.<br />

3 Budget Statement 2019. Ministry of<br />

Finance, 1 October 2018. www.finance.gov.<br />

tt/budget-statement-2019/#estimates.<br />

4 Paul, Anna-Lisa. “La Brea, Point Fortin<br />

Residents Anxious <strong>for</strong> Dry-Dock Project.”<br />

Trinidad Guardian, 22 September<br />

2018. www.guardian.co.tt/n/la-brea-point<strong>for</strong>tin-residents-anxious-<strong>for</strong>-drydockproject-6.2.673878.fa99ee0e28.<br />

5 “World Economic Outlook Update, July 2018:<br />

Less Even Expansion, Rising Trade Tensions.”<br />

IMF, July 2018. https://www.imf.org/en/<br />

Publications/WEO/<strong>Issue</strong>s/2018/07/02/<br />

world-economic-outlook-updatejuly-2018.<br />

6 Lagarde, Christine, and IMF. “‘Steer, Don’t Drift’:<br />

Managing Rising Risks to Keep the Global<br />

Economy on Course.” IMF, 1 October 2018.<br />

www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2018/09/27/<br />

sp100118-steer-dont-drift.<br />

www.chamber.org.tt/contact-magazine 45<br />

Trinidad and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce


Energy Update Update<br />

A comparison of Q1 2017 and 2018 production and export<br />

levels <strong>for</strong> energy and downstream products<br />

Local crude oil and natural gas production and usage<br />

In Figure 1, where Q2 2017 and Q2 2018 are compared, the top three producers have remained unchanged with one<br />

notable switch in the rankings. It is important to note that <strong>for</strong> the same periods in both 2017 and 2018, Trinidad and<br />

Tobago was actually a net importer of crude oil, as shown in Figure 2.<br />

Fig. 1: Top local oil producers<br />

(average bopd)<br />

Q2<br />

2018<br />

Q2<br />

2017<br />

18,773<br />

12,553 11,524<br />

Trinmar Petrotrin Perenco<br />

19,951<br />

12,032 11,702<br />

Trinmar Perenco Petrotrin<br />

Fig. 3: Natural gas utilisation by sector<br />

Q2 2018<br />

3,412<br />

Fig. 2: Imports vs<br />

exports of crude oil<br />

(BBLS)<br />

Q2<br />

2018<br />

Q2<br />

2017<br />

Imports<br />

Exports<br />

7,992,239 2,242,026<br />

Imports<br />

Exports<br />

7,284,302 2,807,918<br />

increased<br />

Fig. 4: Top local natural<br />

gas producers, ● Downstream Q2<br />

(average mmscf/d)<br />

● From Q1 2017<br />

to 2018,<br />

natural gas<br />

production<br />

levels<br />

products also<br />

had modest<br />

increases in<br />

2018 2017<br />

production<br />

1,937 543 502 244 71 115<br />

2,103 1,723<br />

● Crude oil<br />

production<br />

BPTT continues BPTT on a<br />

downward<br />

537 trend 522<br />

Shell<br />

EOG<br />

As can be seen in Figure 1, when comparing Q2 data from 2017 and 2018, between the top<br />

three producers there was an average decline in oil production of 1.9%, while over the<br />

same time period there was an average 14.49% increase in natural gas output (Figure 4).<br />

Figure 3 also shows that the LNG sector continues to be the major user of natural gas<br />

locally, accounting <strong>for</strong> almost 57% of total production .<br />

509 506<br />

EOG<br />

Shell<br />

Source: MEEI Consolidated Report 2017 & 2018<br />

46<br />

Trinidad<br />

and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce<br />


<strong>Contact</strong> Magazine Energy Statistics Revamp (pg. 2) .pdf 1 07/11/2018 3:40 PM<br />

Energy Update Update<br />

A comparison of of Q2 Q1 2017 and 2018 production and and export<br />

levels <strong>for</strong> energy and and downstream products<br />

C<br />

M<br />

Y<br />

CM<br />

MY<br />

CY<br />

CMY<br />

K<br />

● From Q2 2017<br />

● From Q1 2017<br />

to to 2018, natural<br />

gas natural production gas<br />

production<br />

levels levels have<br />

improved. increased<br />

●<br />

●<br />

●<br />

Downstream<br />

Downstream<br />

products also<br />

had modest<br />

products on<br />

increases in<br />

average production have<br />

shown<br />

Crude oil<br />

increases production in<br />

production<br />

downward<br />

level.<br />

continues on a<br />

trend<br />

Source: MEEI Consolidated Reports 2017 & 2018<br />

●<br />

Crude oil<br />

production<br />

continues on a<br />

downward<br />

trend.<br />

www.chamber.org.tt/contact-magazine 47<br />

Trinidad and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce

the chamber and its members<br />

Welcome, new members!<br />

The Chamber extends a very warm welcome to all those companies and individuals who have become Chamber<br />

members in recent months<br />

Armoredeagle Security Services Limited<br />

5 Sixth Street East, Beaulieu Avenue, Trincity<br />

488-2405<br />

lyndon30@hotmail.com<br />

Charles Pashley<br />

Westmoorings<br />

charles.pashley1000@gmail.com<br />

GO4 Delivery Service<br />

23 Lucknow Street, St James • 235-3551<br />

go4delivery@yahoo.com<br />

QURE Limited<br />

2 Randolph Teles<strong>for</strong>d Street, Arima • 225-6678<br />

jjoseph@qureltd.com<br />

Regulated Industries Commission<br />

1st & 3rd Floors, Furness House, Corner Wrightson Road &<br />

Independence Square, Port of Spain<br />

625-5384<br />

leeyoungj@ric.org.tt<br />

Tobago Hospitality & Tourism Institute<br />

Blenheim, Mount St George, Tobago<br />

660-2196<br />

stephen.sheppard@thti.edu.tt<br />

Visto Enterprises<br />

Building 1B, Mil<strong>for</strong>d Industrial Park, Shaw Park, Tobago<br />

718-0347<br />

kristopher.warner@hotmail.com<br />

48<br />

Trinidad<br />

and Tobago Chamber<br />

of Industry and Commerce<br />


<strong>Contact</strong> <strong>Contact</strong> <strong>Issue</strong> <strong>Issue</strong> 2 cover.indd 2 2 1 1 1<br />

10/08/2018 1:39 1:39 1:39 PM PM PM<br />


Vol.18 Vol.18 No.2 No.2 –– September – 2018<br />

2018<br />


imperative<br />

T&T experts explore the<br />

the<br />

business world’s latest challenge<br />

The future of of work | | | Digital marketing<br />

The world of of fintech | | | The digital landscape<br />


Corporate publishing | Magazine publishing | Newsletters and reports<br />

Concept Content Research Writing<br />

Editing Photography Illustration<br />

Design and<br />

Digital Layout<br />

Proofreading Printing Delivery<br />

Websites<br />

Visit our <strong>web</strong>site at www.meppublishers.com<br />

MEP on Facebook: facebook.com/discovertnt, facebook.com/caribbeanbeat<br />

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Email: info@meppublishers.com<br />

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