Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 20th 2013 Contents On June 10, rating agency Standard and
Poor s lifted its credit outlook for the US
economy from negative to stable, clearing
the way for investors to deepen their foot-
print in that market.
However, without investment capital, the
investor s goals cannot be achieved.
Exporters Association of the United States
of America (EAUSA) is one such institution
which provides funding and lines of credit
to businesses. The association participated
in last week s Trade and Investment Con-
vention (TIC) at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad
Its first participation in TIC was so suc-
cessfully, it plans to return in 2014.
Luis Castillo, chairman and chief exec-
utive officer of EAUSA, said the association
comprises members from countries other
than the US.
He said that EAUSA provides a link
between businesses in T&T and those inter-
"It brings tools (that can be used) in con-
ducting business transactions. Some of the
tools are cargo insurance. We have an agree-
ment with the single largest cargo company
in the world, that s Tokyo Marine."
EAUSA also facilitates financing.
"Someone needs to get $50,000 credit.
I don t need any document from them, just
one credit report, which we take ourselves.
Somebody wants more than $200,000, we
ask for a credit report and two trade ref-
erences. We don t ask for a financial state-
ment and there is no letter of credit
The types of businesses which have
approached the association for funding
include businesses which buy and sell equip-
Castillo explained: "We would offer
financing for equipment with three or four
or five years to pay back, on an interest rate
of seven or eight per cent maximum. We
can go as low as three or four per cent
when we deal with transactions which are
$5 million or higher."
Castillo tells entrepreneurs, business pio-
neers and captains of industry that obtaining
financing from outside of one s country is
not only for large businesses or multina-
tionals, but also for small and medium
Credit can take as long as two weeks to
grant if it is for the short term and a small
transaction like a 60-day line of credit for
about $200,000 or less, but "when you
start looking for billions of dollars, to
approve that company, it takes three or four
"Those cases, when you have a large proj-
ect we want to give the line of credit, we
don t want to penalise you if you don t use
the funds. We don t give you the money,
we give you the line of credit for you to
buy goods and services from the United
States, so the money never leaves the United
States. You get the credit, but you don t
get the money."
"In the short-term, when it is a small
transaction, they get 100 per cent financing.
This is pure trade finance. We ask the
exporter to run five per cent risk and the
government runs 95 per cent risk, so the
buyer that receives get 100 per cent of the
Describing the success of the TIC, Castillo
said: "The first day there was a slow. It was
a great show, my expectations were lower,
but now it s not. Definitely, we are planning
to be here next year," Castillo said.
"This is the first time. We came with a
small group, like an experiment. Next year
we are going to come with the embassy,
AMCHAM, and make something nice.
That s what we are looking for."
One of the projects which the company
is working on is about funding an energy-
based project worth $62 million. There s a
construction project for $300,000.
"We know T&T is going to have a lot of
construction because elections are coming
up, you are going to see a lot of movement."
BG6 | NEWS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JUNE 2013 • WEEK THREE
Funding agency plans
2014 return to TIC
PHOTOS: KEARRA GOPEE
International cargo is a "growing
market" in which goods are being
imported from new territories other
than North America, says James Dev-
ers, senior vice-president, Laparkan
"Although North America has been
an important origin for a lot of our
customers and a lot of people in the
Caribbean, now we see people are
looking at Curacao, Panama and def-
initely Asia, particularly China. We
are seeing increasing requests for
cargo out of those origins because of
globalisation, people want to access
goods from around the world," he
Devers was speaking to the Busi-
ness Guardian at last week s Trade
and Investment Convention (TIC),
which was held at the Hyatt Regency
Trinidad hotel, Dock Road, Port-of-
Laparkan is a freight forwarder
operating in T&T for almost 20 years.
The company has a Caribbean pres-
ence for more than 30 years.
Ranking itself as being one of the
top five freight forwarders in T&T in
terms of volume of goods shipped,
Devers said Laparkan brings in goods
from North and South America,
Europe and Asia.
Though business is good, he said
it s not so good when it comes to rates
"I would say probably the biggest
challenge would be the fact that a lot
of the shipping line rates are increas-
ing, and because we are a freight for-
warder, we ship on a variety of ship-
ping lines to bring our cargo in.
"What we are seeing is that ship-
ping lines are starting to raise their
lines again out of Asia and out of
North America, so what that does is
that it puts a lot of pressure on our
customers and, ultimately, the con-
sumers would have to pay for that
cost when they go to the grocery
store, when they go to buy their
appliances and when they go to buy
"Whereas, when you have an econ-
omy that is trying to come back and
you have the cost of shipping is going
to increase, it s going to make the
cost of goods affect inflation."
While most in the business com-
munity continue to clamour for better
service from Port of Port-of-Spain,
it s different for Laparkan.
"Our experience in Port-of-Spain
has not been that bad because we
have a great relationship with the
Port Authority. We use Shed Ten,
which is the main warehouse for less-
er container-load cargo. Sometimes
the Port of Port-of-Spain gets a bad
reputation, but it is not as bad as
people say it is," Dever said.
The T&T confectionery market
is not competitive, said Jose Luiz
Seabra, director, Brastrade Ltd, a
Brazil-based confectionery man-
Brastrade Ltd was one of several
Brazilian companies which par-
ticipated in the Trade and Invest-
ment Convention (TIC) at the
Hyatt Regency Trinidad hotel,
"When you have the price, the
product or the quality, I think you
can go further out in the market
and get through with it, so far it s
not so hard for me."
Chewing gum and marshmal-
low are just two products Seabra s
company sells in T&T market.
Business for Seabra has been
"I have been in T&T for 13 years
now, I see the potential it has and
that s why I am staying here."
Participating in TIC for the first
time, he got orders for his prod-
ucts and described the first day
as "real good."
"I gained a lot of contacts. Peo-
ple were interested in the prod-
ucts, countries from up the islands
Seabra said he plans to return
to TIC in 2014. NS
Importers look to new markets
JOSE LUIZ SEABRA
sees no competition in T&T
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