Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon is calling on Indian pharmaceutical companies to take advantage of that country’s low energy costs and skilled labor to set up manufacturing plants.
Gopee-Scoon made the call as she addressed the Chaguanas Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIC) on Thursday night during a business meeting with the High Commission of India in T&T, at the Passage to Asia restaurant in Chaguanas.
“Trinidad is a gateway to the Americas, so you’ll find that if you set up a manufacturing plant at T&T for pharmaceuticals, that means you’re not just exporting to the Caricom market, which has 16 million people. , there could be exports to Central and South America as well.
“Because of the connections, because of all the deals we’ve signed through Caricom and bilaterally in Latin America, that means that’s the market we’re looking at,” she said.
On trade, Gopee-Scoon said India was ranked among the top 20 import sources for that country, with the value of imports increasing steadily for the period 2016 to 2020. The latest figures available for 2021 ( January-September) indicate that Trinidad and Tobago imported just over TT$520 million worth of goods from India.
However, she said, with the departure of AcelorMittal, there were no new entrants into T&T from India.
The minister pointed out that in 2007 the two countries signed a bilateral investment treaty which expired in 2017, but noted that the government is again considering entering into investment agreements with India.
She indicated that India was an exporter of energy and steel products to India and noted that one of the most important items exported to India by T&T was scrap metal.
Indian High Commissioner Arun Kumar Sahu said that while India’s two-way trade with Trinidad and Tobago may seem insignificant at first sight, the actual volume of Indian exports could be higher than the figures show.
“I have consistently guaranteed that companies from both countries do more with each other. India has a lot to offer when it comes to quality and price of products and services.
“Some of the critical investment areas include: information technology (IT) and information technology-enabled services (ITES); medications; agriculture and agro-biotechnology, including spices, cocoa and coconut; new energies, in particular wind and solar; tourism and medical tourism; textiles and clothing, fashion clothing and ethnic clothing; automotive and electrical machinery; Ayurveda, traditional medicine and well-being; as well as movies, music and entertainment,” Sahu pointed out.
On the issue of facilitation, Sahu said he was told by a few Trinidadian entrepreneurs about the problems they are facing in bringing in skilled/semi-skilled workers from India for some of the critical business sectors and he hopes this issue will be addressed. in a satisfactory manner.
Chaguanas Chamber Speaker Richie Sookhai said economic diversification should begin, given escalating food prices and the war in Ukraine.
“Now is the time to diversify into different sectors, we have so much talent and one of the biggest pools that we have yet to touch is human capital. ‘other countries,’ Sookhai added.