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Growing non-energy exports a priority—Gopee-Scoon

Published: 
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon, left, with exporTT Limited chairman Ashmeer Mohamed, exporTT CEO Dietrich Guichard and TTMA president Christopher Alcazar, following the unveiling of Export House’s signage at Charlotte Street, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.

The fall in oil production and collapse of energy prices makes non-energy exports more important than ever said Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon.

“Traditionally our energy exports are what carried us but in addition to that, the fact is that an imbalance in trade exists. We know where our energy exports are and they are down and that is on account of production levels and pricing as well. The focus has to be on non-energy exports.”

Gopee-Scoon spoke to the media after the rebranding exercise of exporTT’s head office, Export House, Charlotte Street, Port-of-Spain.

exporTT’s head office is now officially named Export House.

exporTT is the National Export Facilitation Organization of T&T charged with generating growth and diversification in the non-energy goods and services sectors.

She said increasing non-energy exports is in line with Government’s diversification thrust.

“We are encouraging businesses to ramp up their production and encouraging small and medium enterprises to expand and develop new products. We are a creative people and there is no reason why we cannot come up with these interesting products and scale up.”

Christopher Alcazar, President, Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA) said they continue to be committed to seeing T&T’s exports increase.

“It is a great initiative and the Government is on board with exports. The rebranding is a significant step in showing this.” he said.

Ashmeer Mohamed, chairman, exporTT said they project that 2016’s exports will double by 2020.

“We were once the best kept secret but we do not want to be a secret, we want to be outstanding. We are going forward and we are doing quite a lot, being a facilitator of exports.”

He said they have seen a lot of interest from the agro-processing sector in people wanting to export.

“We are working closely with them. This includes chocolate, tea, pepper sauce. We also have one agro-processor that wants to start from the end from raising the pepper to manufacturing it.”