Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 22nd 2014 Contents MAY 2014 • WEEK FOUR www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
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relationship with the Caribbean, and espe-
cially T&T, is because they see T&T as a growing
market and economy and we have a large
propensity to consume. So the market they
would have been able to source in the United
States, they can now sell those products to
markets like T&T," Ramdeen said.
He also spoke about a "large diaspora" of
Venezuelans in T&T, among other countries.
"They are in large numbers in T&T and
throughout the Caribbean. In the same way
T&T seeks to get its products in the USA via
our diaspora, it is the same way the Venezuelans
are using a similar framework to get their goods
into T&T," Ramdeen said.
Lok Jack said while the focus is on exports,
T&T also needs to place emphasis on import
"In this age, you cannot only say you want
to export and not have investments. You must
have a mix of the two and trade needs to be
two ways if it is to build any type of volume,"
Lok Jack said.
Ramdeen said the Venezuelan ambassador
noted the importance of the trade agreement
Caricom has with Venezuela.
"This trade agreement was signed during
the 1990s, so we have this agreement that can
ensure those parties benefit from it so goods
can flow and there can be greater synergy. So
T&T exporting to Venezuela and that country
exporting to T&T," Ramdeen said.
The Venezuelan ambassador to T&T, Coro-
moto Godoy, told the Business Guardian by e-
mail on Tuesday that Venezuelan state body,
BANCOEX, will be facilitating the Venezuelan
companies coming to T&T for this year s TIC,
and some 60 people representing companies
will be in T&T.
BANCOEX helps to finance Venezuelan com-
panies seeking to export.
Ramdeen and Lok Jack spoke to the Business
Guardian at the TTMA s head office, Barataria,
on May 15.
TIC will take place on July 2-5 at the Centre
of Excellence, Macoya.
Centre of Excellence
Ramdeen said moving TIC from the Hyatt
Regency Trinidad hotel back to its original base
of the Centre of Excellence will be worth it.
He spoke of the drawbacks of hosting it at
the Port-of-Spain-located Hyatt.
"The last time we were in the Centre of
Excellence was in 2009. We decided to make
the switch back from the Hyatt to there for a
number of reasons. One is demand driven. We
polled our manufacturers and what they told
us the logistics to engage at the Hyatt hotel
was proving to be difficult. Hyatt also placed
logistical restrictions on exhibitions at the hotel,
like offloading, the number of booths you could
have, the designs of the booths. The parking
there is also a nightmare. We do not have these
restrictions at the Centre of Excellence," he
Lok Jack said they were able to reduce the
cost of the show by switching venue.
"From a cost point of view, it is not significant.
What we did is expand the number of booths
so we were able to raise the price by volume.
So instead of having 110 booths, we will have
220 booths, which means much more traffic
in terms of people walking the floor, much
more exhibitors," Lok Jack said.
Ramdeen said close to 400 international
buyers have so far registered.
"The last trade show at the Centre of Excel-
lence, we had about 8,000 people walking the
floors and out of that, realistic buyers, it is close
to 1,000. We have buyers already committed
from the United States, England, Sweden, Cuba,
the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Costa
Rica, Brazil, Panama, throughout the Caribbean,
Canada. We have some interest from China,
but not much from Asia," Ramdeen said.
Layout of the show
This year s show is divided into sectors.
"We have the construction sector, like concrete
and building block people. We have the food
and beverage sector. Then there is chemical
sector and so on. So if you are coming specifically
for construction, you could walk through this
part of the pavilion and focus on this segment
for your business," Ramdeen said.
He said breaking the show up into different
sectors makes it more "palatable" for interna-
"So while in the past you may have come in
to meet one person in the construction or food
and beverage area, now it makes it easier to sell
the show to international buyers," he said.
"At the Centre of Excellence, we realised we
could offer more, do more and give more to our
manufacturers. We expanded the show and
increased the number of booths and their sizes.
The visibility of the booths increases what we
could offer," he said.
Ramdeen said the two rooms used at the
Hyatt caused problems.
"A lot of people did not know about these
two rooms as they would know about one and
not the other. It was difficult to sell the space
of the Port-of-Spain Ballroom. While at the
Centre of Excellence, everything is under one
roof," he said.
Lok Jack said former TIC chairman Anthony
Aboud is "very busy" with his business interests
these days, saying he had managed the show
in the past as a "labour of love."
He said the TTMA had no choice but to bring
prices down this year.
"He really did not have the time to allocate
with the type of passion he would need to. The
results from last year said that strategically, we
want to get it up to 220 from 110 last year. We
did not want to do it as a high cost and man-
ufacturers saying US$4,000 or US$10,000 is
too much. We have brought prices down as
much as possible," he said.
Ramdeen compared prices between 2013 and
"Last year a 3x3 booth was sold for US$5,300.
This year a 3x3 booth is going for US$1,800.
Last year, we only had 3x3 booths, but this year
we have a 4x3 booth and that is going for
US$2,220. There is also a 3x2 booth and that
is going for US$1,300. We also have the table-
type booths, about 20 of those, targeted for the
small and medium enterprises of T&T. These
are going for US$1,100. These are all VAT inclu-
sive," he said.
Lok Jack said cheaper booths means widening
the scope of businesses to attract to TIC.
"You have booths in low in cost as TT$6,000.
We reserve those types of booths for small man-
ufacturers. People who work in small cottage-
type industries, self-employed. They do not
know how to get their name out there are and
probably supply one large suppliers and are
happy with that. We want to encourage smaller
manufacturers to step out of that and start to
see they can grow," Lok Jack said.
"There will be speakers from the Arthur Lok
Jack School talking about case studies and things
like that. There is also a business-to-business
section and will be providing services of full
data service so you can sit and meet with poten-
tial partners, coffee provided. We are really
taking this up to international standards," he
Ramdeen said the Ministry of Trade, Industry
and Investment has arranged about eight sem-
inars to take place during TIC.
"Some of the topics include how to engage
business, fashion industry, exports and other
He pointed out that the World Cup in Brazil
will be taking part around this time, and football
fans have been provided for.
"We do not want to have people missing out
or some people staying away from the show.
There will be big screens. We have really gone
up and beyond," he said.
Centre of Excellence cheaper for SMEs
From Page 4
FILE PHOTO: Trade and Industry Minister Vasant Bharath, second from left, has the attention of Larry Nath, left, chief executive officer of the
First CitizeFns Group; Nicholas Lok Jack, president of the T&T Manufacturers' Association; Rakesh Goswami, executive vice-president enterprise
services at TSTT, and Ramesh Ramdeen, chief executive officer, TTMA. The occasion was the launch of TIC 2014 in January.
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