Scrap group writes to WTO boss | Local company

T&T’s Scrap Iron Dealers Association has written a letter to World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala asking for the organization’s intervention in the current six-month ban on scrap metal exports to Trinidad and Tobago.
Allan Ferguson, the association’s president, said in a press release yesterday that the country has been a member of the WTO since March 1995, which means it is bound to adhere to the guidelines and policies of the WTO. ‘organization.
The organization prohibits discrimination between trading partners, but provides exceptions for environmental protection, national security and other important purposes.
“In this case, we are seeking the guidance and intervention of the WTO in this matter which we believe is important to the survival of the industry,” Ferguson said.
In the letter addressed to Okonjo-Iweala yesterday, the association indicated that during a press conference on August 5, the police commissioner of this country, Mc Donald Jacob, and the Minister of National Security, Fitzgerald Hinds, told the nation that the damage to copper wire and other metals in the country was an act of vandalism.
However, Ferguson said Aug. 25, at another press conference, Hinds told the people the problem was a matter of theft.
“This ban came despite numerous attempts by the Association to work with the government to find solutions to the problem instead of shutting down the country. This includes the many calls for the government to implement the new scrap metal policy, since 2013, which would have helped deter the increase in thefts,” he lamented.
Ferguson lamented that the six-month ban has already had a serious negative impact on the lives and livelihoods of thousands of citizens of this country whose incomes are below the poverty line.
“It also affects many Caribbean citizens who come to T&T to sell their scrap metal to buy food and other items to take back to their respective countries.”
The association’s president further pointed out in the letter that data provided by the country’s Central Statistical Office indicated that scrap metal exports had fallen from around $69 million in 2009 to around $216 million in 2019, which represented a 213% increase over ten years. period of the year.
He noted that in 2020, records show T&T exported $20 million worth of scrap, making it the 75th largest exporter in the world.
The association added that it therefore calls the WTO intervention important because the six-month ban is detrimental to the existence of the scrap metal industry in Trinidad and Tobago and its future.
“In light of this, we ask that you consider this matter in light of the information provided and offer the much needed help or advice that our association is seeking at this time.”
There have been several protests by scrap dealers since Attorney General Reginald Armor SC announced the export ban last month.
Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon recently said the industry needed to be regulated.
“Obviously the situation was out of control with the impending, with the worsening levels of criminal activity and so it had to be controlled. There are those who have come to abuse it lately and the situation has to be addressed. problem,” she said.