Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 10th 2013 Contents BG6 NEWS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt OCTOBER 2013 • WEEK TWO
As businesses in the United States continue
to suffer due to the federal shutdown
there, ExporTT chairman Robert Tang
Yuk predicted T&T exporters would be
affected, but it s a situation he is mon-
Tang Yuk was speaking to reporters Tuesday at the media
launch of the Export Development Forum (EDF), which
was held at Hyatt Regency Trinidad hotel, Dock Road,
Port-of-Spain. It is the first time a forum such as the EDF
is to be held in T&T on October 29 and 30.
He said ExporTT has been doing business with a Costa
Rican trade desk and was scheduled for a November meet-
ing, but it was cancelled.
"This week we got an e-mailed message saying the office
is closed and they will let us know when
it reopens. Yes, we have been directly
affected by the shutdown. All of the sup-
porting agencies would not be functioning
Tang Yuk said trade is continuing, but
may not be as "efficient as it normally is."
He said ExporTT has been observing how other countries
have developed their export sectors.
"We have been learning. Costa Rica, for example, they
say 80 per cent of their exports comes from the small and
medium-sized sector. We are currently looking at couple
of programmes to really develop this concept. One is an
inward buyers mission as opposed to an export mission.
We think this can be really successful.
"It s about specifically finding the right partners in
various jurisdictions for potential exporters and that s how
niche marketing exporting is done. The other area is the
diaspora research that we are doing. Normally, when we
talk about diaspora, people think of diaspora as a target
market. Our thinking is a little bit different. The diaspora
as a global network; that s what we are trying to target.
We are doing some work on the diaspora network: who
they are, where they are and what positions they are in.
The EDF is an opportunity to have businesses in the
small and medium enterprises sector develop their capacity
for export. This means their production capacity and skills
must be developed. Tang Yuk said existing exporters would
be invited to participate in the EDF.
Asked how he planned to assist businesses to become
export ready, Tang Yuk said: "We need to identify those
(businesses) that are not exporting that may have some
potential for exports. What comes to mind are cottage
industry food processors. We would go to market expo-
sitions, we would survey products, we would go to super-
markets and we would look at brands and labels of products
that are in the supermarket locally and not being export-
Already ExporTT has met with some businesses in a bid
to push those businesses to go global.
For 2014/2015, Tang Yuk said trade facilitation offices
would be set up in various jurisdictions:
"It would be a trade desk which would be supported by
a diaspora network. If you could imagine a trade desk
having access to open doors in any industry and any sector
utilising this type of network."
The China market
While India is not yet on the front burner for ExporTT,
China seems to be more lucrative.
Christopher Lewis, chief executive officer, ExporTT, said
the company has a defined mission schedule for this financial
year and India is not on the schedule. He said if the research
indicates opportunities there, then "a case can be made for
India to be included."
Regarding the Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA)
which states goods imported into the
United States must have a higher stan-
dard, Lewis said the food and beverage
sector would be affected when the act
"The point to note is not just about
the US imposing standards. It s a question of what direction
the world is going. If we want to be globally competitive,
we have to ensure we meet those standards, whether it
is in the US, or whether it is in Canada, which would be
following the US with a similar act like the FSMA. Whether
it is in Costa Rica, whether it is in Jamaica, because again
Jamaica has a head start with us in terms of us compliance
with FSMA, so it is very likely they would apply some
of those same standards internally for their market.
"it is about us being competitive globally and not so
much so about a specific jurisdiction trying to meet their
standards, but for us to develop that capacity to become
globally competitive and that s what we are striving to
do," Lewis said.
The barriers to trade is another issue emerging out of
Referring to the EDF, Lewis said the purpose of the
forum is to encourage people who do not export to begin
doing so. Asked what were the biggest challenges which
exporters faced, Lewis said: "The number one is infor-
mation because in T&T, you may have you factory in
Arima or Chaguanas and you want to send your
goods/products to may be Panama, you don t know much
about Panama, you don t know what are the regulations
to enter the market, you don t know what s the demand
for the product."
Market analysis on Latin America and the Caribbean
has been done.
"In terms of the Caribbean, we recently conducted a
survey mission as well for Guyana and Suriname, and we
will be doing one before the end of the year for Jamaica
For instance, if a T&T product is taken to the Dominican
Republic, it must be registered so the public would be
aware of who owns the brand.
Robert Tang Yuk, chairman, ExporTT
Christopher Lewis, chief executive officer, ExporTT
PHOTOS: MARYANN AUGUSTE
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