Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 4th 2014 Contents Christopher Lewis, chief executive, ExporTT, is
flanked by Nathali Richards, left, acting manager,
export promotions, and Maria Padilla-Benjamin,
PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt SEPTEMBER 2014 • WEEK ONE
With a target to achieve
US$1.5 billion in
has invited buyers
from Caricom and
Latin America to this country, the first time
T&T would be hosting buyers from these ter-
ExporTT is the sole national export facil-
itation organisation in T&T. It was set up by
Cabinet to increase export revenue in manu-
factured goods, not in energy revenues or
chemical exports or iron and steel exports.
Chief executive Christopher Lewis said, so
far, ExporTT is on target to achieve its budgeted
"We ve been able to track 100 per cent of
the export data with 18 countries that have
trade agreements with T&T. Those figures
don t include oil and gas because that is not
our mandate. I am talking manufacturing
exports, excluding steel. Those figures are
US$381.3 million for the first six months of
"If we extrapolate those figures to the other
countries that we export to---not trade agree-
ment countries---we estimate that those exports
that are of interest to us is about US$715 million
for the first six months of 2014."
The purpose of an inward trade mission is
that manufacturers would get access to more
than one market. This can be compared to a
trade mission that involves sellers from the
home country going to another country.
With a price tag of $800,000, ExporTT is
leading the initiative which is expected to last
four days, starting September 16. According
to Lewis, the initiative is called InbuyTT or an
inward mission to T&T.
"It is very cost effective for the exporters.
They don t have to pay for a trip to go abroad,
stay in a hotel and travel to four or five different
countries. The exporters can see buyers from
Lewis said exporters would be charged a
nominal fee of US$200 for registration and
buyers would be matched with the sellers
appropriately so that meaningful meetings can
The model of InbuyTT has been successfully
used in Costa Rica and Jamaica.
InbuyTT: How it works
Nathali Richards, acting manager, export
promotions, said inward trade missions are
"something which trade promotion agencies
would do to increase export and to help
exporters. The missions are either wrapped
around multi-sectors or one sector."
She said Costa Rica has been doing inward
trade missions for 15 years.
Distributors, wholesale companies, super-
markets and hardware stores are the categories
of buyers who would be visiting T&T next
month. T&T businesses would have to fill out
a form indicating which companies they are
interested in doing business with. ExporTT
would then invite buyers who would match
the products offered by T&T manufacturers.
Richards said 25 of the best buyers from
countries outside T&T were chosen and 47
T&T exporters expressed interest to participate
in the mission.
Speaking about the Jamaican model of inward
trade missions, Richards said that country s
exporters have an exhibition where buyers can
view the products offered by the exporters.
Richards said this model is not preferred by
T&T since the goal is to have the buyer and
exporter meet immediately.
Given that Sacha Cosmetics Ltd is about to
launch its products in October in Panama,
Richards said other products manufactured in
T&T have the capability of entering into that
"The buyers we have are interested in per-
sonal care products. Companies like Langston
Roach would benefit companies in the printing
and packaging sector and the food and beverage
She added that for Caricom buyers, con-
struction material would be in demand.
Overall, achieving brand T&T is a "work-
"The Cabinet is to approve a branding exer-
cise to be led by InvesTT. If approved, a new
national brand would be created and would
have impact on exporting. The importance of
having a national brand is that ExporTT can
Cuban trade facilitation office
While the Ministry of Trade has signalled
that ExporTT should oversee the operations
of the Cuban Trade Office, Lewis said the dif-
ference in language should not be an obstacle.
Asked whether the political dynamics of that
country would be an impediment for a business
to set up operations, he said it is a question
of working with the systems that are avail-
For a company to do business in a country,
it must first register. Explaining ExporTT s role
in this process, Lewis said: "The first is to
ensure that exporters understand what the
registration process is. We did do a trade mission
to Dominican Republic last year, but before we
went, we did our market research and we
understood there are certain laws. We brought
consultants in through video conferencing.
They explained how to register a product in
the Dominican Republic, how to work with
Law 173 to your advantage in terms of dealing
with a distributor."
With regards to Costa Rica, a consultant
came to T&T to talk about registering in that
market. He said ExporTT s chief role is to
ensure there is clarity about how to enter those
Though members of the business community
would already know how to do business trans-
actions, ExporTT would be offering an Inter-
national Trade Specialist Accreditation Pro-
According to ExporTT s training manager
Maria Padilla-Benjamin, the programme is an
online one running for 12 months.
"It is the first that we would be offering.
We do have a training unit, but all the pro-
grammes we have are short programmes. This
would be the first programme that we would
be offering that would result in certification.
People would be able to use those initials at
the end of their name."
To date, ten applications have been received
for this programme, which ExporTT would
subsidise. One of the requirements is that the
applicant must be employed at an exporting
company for a minimum of one year.
ExporTT to host first
inward trade mission
Countries which comprise
the InbuyTT mission:
Barbados, St Vincent, St
Lucia, Jamaica, Guyana, Colombia,
Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican
Republic, Suriname and Panama
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