Connecting with new businesses and solidifying existing relationships with Trinidad and Tobago companies are expected outcomes from a recent trade mission.
“It was a successful initiative,” Executive Director of the Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce (GCIC), Petipha Lewis told The Grenadian Voice, noting that over 80 connections were made.
The Face-to-Face Business to Business (B2B) Trade Mission, spearheaded by the GCIC in collaboration with the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association (TTMA), saw a delegation of 40 persons inclusive of 23 companies visit Grenada for the January 31 to February 02, 2023 venture.
“It’s the largest trade delegation we have ever had since I’ve been working with the TTMA over 15 years now. This tells me there’s significant interest from the business companies in Trinidad and Tobago to come here to see what opportunities exists,” TTMA CEO Dr Mahindra Ramesh Ramdeen shared in local news.
The delegation, led by Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Trade and Industry Hon Paula Gopee-Scoon, included Permanent Secretary Randall Karim and Ramdeen, along with representatives of the construction, education, manufacturing and services sectors.
Speaking to the prospects for business connections, the TTMA CEO noted that while Trinidad and Tobago has a large food and beverage sector and imports over $6 billion worth of food items, “there’s no reason why some of those items can’t be sourced from Grenada, either as primary products for consumption or for agro processing and re-exporting to other countries.”
Day one of the mission featured a Doing Business Seminar at which border agencies and relevant ministries, including the Grenada Bureau of Standards, Customs Department of the Ministry of Finance, Grenada Ports Authority and the Ministries of Agriculture and Health, made presentations that addressed pertinent areas. These included the requirements for conducting business in Grenada; providing information on trading; health and safety regulations; documentation, fees and charges; as well as restrictions, among others areas. Participants also heard presentations from the Grenada Investment Development Corporation (GIDC) and Republic Bank.
The GCIC Executive Director said 40 Grenadian companies participated; she is excited about the prospects for business and trade between the companies and the opportunity for Grenadian businesses to use Trinidad services to improve their product offerings.
According to Lewis, the TTMA representatives were impressed with the level of organisation of the events and participation of the Grenadian companies, noting that the mission exceeded their expectations. More so, she stressed to this newspaper that the team was most impressed that in the presentations by the border agencies, it was noted that their role is to facilitate trade. “This mindset is one worth emulating in the region, she stated.
Ramdeen noted that the interest was sparked following the invitation by Prime Minster Hon Dickon Mitchell during his feature address at the TTMA’s Dinner and Awards Ceremony in November 2022. Ramdeen said the Prime Minister spoke highly of the potential in construction, food and beverage, sourcing raw material and buying and selling products.
On the second and third days of the mission, the companies from Trinidad and Grenada engaged and discussed business opportunities at the Grenada Trade Centre and True-Blue Bay Resort, respectively. Some of the Trinidadian representatives also visited local companies of interest.
In a February 08 news release GCIC president Kennie John said he “foresees the existing relationship between the two islands becoming stronger, and that events like these could be the key to propel the region’s integration and development of the private sector.”
The delegation also met with Prime Minister Mitchell and other ministers and officials about sharing best practices of mutual benefit to both countries and the private sector.