Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 21st 2014 Contents SEPTEMBER 21 • 2014 www.guardian.co.tt SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | SBG3
InvesTT president Racquel Moses says
if the investment promotion agency
gets 50 solid leads coming out of
Thursday s T&T investment promo-
tion conference at the Council on
Foreign Relations in Manhattan, it
would be a "tremendous success."
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar leads
a delegation of government officials at the
conference, whose aim is to raise the invest-
ment profile of the country in New York.
"If we receive at least 50 solid, qualified
leads, we will receive at least two investments
that will close within the next two years," said
The conference is being co-hosted by
InvesTT and the National Gas Company.
Among the agenda items will be plenary
sessions on Investing in T&T, Economic diver-
sification---Untapped investment potential and
Amplifying natural advantage as a financial
gateway for the hemisphere.
Planning Minister Bhoe Tewarie, Energy
Minister Kevin Ramnarine and Central Bank
Governor Jwala Rambarran are also due to
attend the conference along with several state
The Prime Minister will deliver the keynote
address during what is being described as a
networking luncheon. Following the confer-
ence, the local delegation will hold one-on-
one meetings with corporate representatives
and invited US officials.
Speaking in a recent interview, Moses said
while T&T has made significant advances in
making it easier to do business here, there is
room for improvement in some areas that
would make the path of investors even
"One of the big challenges we have is the
assignment of land. Investors are looking for
locations and we sometimes have a difficult
time finding land for them," said the head of
the country s investment promotion agency.
"We do have the Tamana InTech Park, the
science and technology eco-business park
located in Wallerfield, which is ideal for a par-
ticular kind of investor.
"There are investments for which Tamana
would not make sense and when that is the
case we need to be able to find the land and
transfer it quickly and that has not been our
She said InvesTT has lined up four major
investments---a mall, a hotel, a high-end agri-
processing enterprise and a major manufac-
turing entity---that are having issues getting
the leases to State land assigned to them.
If some of the Customs processes were sim-
plified and speeded up, she said the thrust of
investment in the non-energy sector would
She also said that some of the procedures
and processes for investors to access incentives
also need to be streamlined.
"Even the way we offer incentives, when
investors get into it, it is difficult to execute
on an incentive offered by the Government
because it is complicated. So we need to sim-
plify access to the incentives that are being
One of the things that InvesTT does all day
and every day, Moses said, is to simplify the
incentives process for investors as much as it
"It is a great deal of heavy lifting on our
side to simplify the process on the investors
side. We make calls and visit agencies in an
effort to get things moving, but it should not
be as difficult as it is and you really need an
ongoing lobby with the Ministry of Trade,"
She added that when the investment pro-
motion agency finds a process that is really
onerous, it works with the ministry to simplify
This requires Cabinet approval, "which is
not something that happens easily. It s a long
and tedious process, but this is something
that we are absolutely committed to."
About the Council
The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is
an independent, non-partisan membership
organisation, think tank, and publisher.
It was established in 1921, following WWI
by a group of diplomats, financiers, generals,
and lawyers who concluded that Americans
needed to be better prepared for significant
responsibilities and decision-making in world
The council on Foreign Relations was found-
ed to "afford a continuous conference on
international questions affecting the United
States, by bringing together experts on state-
craft, finance, industry, education, and sci-
Considered to be the "most influential for-
eign-policy think tank" in the United States,
the council is co-chaired by Robert Rubin,
the former US Secretary of the Treasury and
Carla Hills, who served as US trade repre-
sentative (1989--93) under George HW Bush.
Its board currently includes members like
former US Secretary of State (2001-2005),
Colin L Powell, former US Secretary of State
Madeleine K Albright, (1997-2001) and Tom
The council publishes Foreign Affairs, "the
pre-eminent journal of international affairs
and US foreign policy."
Its think tank, the David Rockefeller Studies
Programme, is composed of about 50 adjunct
and full-time scholars, as well as ten in-res-
idence recipients of year-long fellowships,
who cover the major regions and significant
issues shaping today s international agenda.
The council promotes globalisation, free
trade, reducing financial regulations on
transnational corporations, and economic con-
solidation into regional blocs such as NAFTA
or the European Union, and develops policy
recommendations that reflect these goals.
Council on Foreign Relations
in Manhattan, New York.
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