Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 17th 2013 Contents OCTOBER 2013• WEEK THREE www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG7
Newly-elected chairman of the
Association of American
Chambers of Commerce in
Latin America (AACCLA),
Nicholas Galt, is looking to
develop business opportunities in Haiti and
he is suggesting that Caricom, of which Haiti
is a member, should make travel access of
citizens of the country to the region much
Speaking to members of the media last
week at the American Chamber of Commerce
(AmCham) offices, Maraval Road, Port-of-
Spain, Galt said expanding a business means
identifying the right location for investment.
And he has pinpointed Haiti as one such
"Companies like Scotiabank would go into
Haiti and would have the six branches and
would do well. The big problem is that you
have a massive poor population and a small
wealthy population (in Haiti). The other prob-
lem you have is that one of its biggest trading
partners should be the Dominican Republic,
but you have an imbalance of trade there."
"Haiti imports from Dominican Republic
US$2 billion per year in goods, Dominican
Republic imports from Haiti US$100 million.
The only way you are going to find Haiti get-
ting out of that space is to allow Haiti more
access to the Dominican Republic market,
since they are neighbours. The Dominican
Republic purposefully puts in tariffs on goods
to deny Haitian goods from entering the DR."
Though Haiti is a member state in Caricom,
it does not have access to Caricom.
"Any Haitian wanting to go to Barbados
or T&T has to apply for a visa. This stilted
freedom of movement to do business outside
is a real problem. I took the issue to Ambas-
sador (Plenipotentiary Mervyn) Assam and
he agreed it is an issue. He suggested that
the way out, any Haitian businessman who
has a United States visa is allowed automat-
ically entry in Latin America."
Galt said he planned to pursue the matter
further to stimulate business activity in Haiti.
The owner of Trinidad Systems Ltd is now
in talks with Haitian business people to set
up a joint venture in that country.
He did not want to disclose the nature of
the joint venture.
"Haiti is a developing country and in a
developing country, there are all types of
opportunities, which is why Scotiabank and
Digicel are doing well. My company is going
to be doing a specific solution as it relates
to payment transactions."
Galt attended the Americas Competitive-
ness Forum (ACF) held in Panama City, Pana-
ma, earlier this month. At that forum Prime
Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar signed a
partial scope agreement, which is meant to
increase the trade between Panama and T&T.
He said not enough members of the local
private sector attended the forum.
"One of the issues that we found was that
the private sector did not play enough of a
role in that conference. When you looked at
the 1,000 people who attended, there was a
predominant presence of government people.
Our Ministry of Planning and the delegation
that went with the Ministry of Planning and
the Prime Minister, forgetting the security
detail, there were 25 people from T&T there,
so you had a strong T&T contingent.
Galt said whether it is networking between
businesses in different territories or in the
same country, meeting and talking with people
is an effective platform for growing a business.
"Where I got a lot of my value was net-
working and meeting people. Most of the
conferences I attended, I look at very quickly
at what is important to me. I tick it off and
say I am going to be there. The rest of it I ll
find a location where I can meet people."
He chairs the next Business Futures of the
Americas (BFA) to be held in Panama in June.
He intends to newtork stakeholders from the
Caribbean region and the rest of Latin Amer-
ica and the Central America.
Meanwhile, AmCham president Hugh
Howard said his members met with Planning
Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie before the ACF to
indicate AmCham can provide important
links with AACCLA and the US Chamber,
but the T&T delegation going to Panama
lacked a greater presence of private sector
"In Panama, the mistake they (the organ-
ising team) made, the AmCham in Panama
was not involved; it was a governmental
arrangement. This is what we have been at
pains to try to explain to our minister here,
that we of AmCham TT could add a lot of
value because of our connections, because
of our experience," Howard said.
According to AmCham, the AACCLA is
the most influential voice of US business in
Latin America and the Caribbean since it
represents more than 20,000 companies and
more than 80 per cent of US investment in
According to AACCLA Web site, one of its
priorities include: "Foster innovation, harness
creativity, and champion intellectual property
(IP) as vital to creating jobs, saving lives,
advancing economic growth, and generating
breakthrough solutions to challenges in Latin
America and the Caribbean."
Haiti's a good place to invest
PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
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