Exporters turn to Africa

Thursday, 08 Aug 2013

Local food and beverage manufacturers are looking at the African continent as a new market for exports.

This was reported by manager capacity building at exporTT Tricia Ramoutar-Soo Hon as she delivered a presentation at the "Keys to Trade and Export Financing" meeting held on Monday at the Courtyard by Marriott, Invaders Bay, Port-of-Spain.

She told the attendees, members of the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association, that some food and beverage companies are looking at Africa as a possible market. She reported that they are working with exporTT to see whether the market is "probable" before they make their business decisions.

ExporTT Ltd is the trade policy implementation agency of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment and its mandate is to: generate export growth and diversification in the goods and services sectors, increase in the international competitiveness of exporters, develop new exporters across the various sectors of interest and expand to new markets, based on market research. Trade Minister Vasant Bharath delivered the feature address at the meeting.

Ramoutar-Soo Hon in her presentation reported that the company completed a comprehensive survey of local exporters in October 2012. The feedback from the study allowed the company to "ramp ourselves up and customise what we do to meet the needs of the exporters who work with us".

From the survey Caricom remained a very important market for exporters. The other markets were Latin America, United States, Europe and Canada.

On markets with greatest potential for local products Caricom was again indicated but Latin America was also significant. They also asked which challenges had impacted the exporters the most and these were: barriers to entry in foreign markets, cost to market entry, product registration, labour shortages and lack of skilled workers, local Customs and procedures, local port facilities. She noted that exporTT has been looking at how they could address these issues.

Ramoutar-Soo Hon also reported that they were currently addressing the needs of energy, maritime and ICT sectors and had recently concluded surveys in all of these sectors including in the industrial sector, pointing out that needs vary with industrial goods. The company has also conducted market surveys in Costa Rica, Canada, Colombia, and have ongoing surveys in Guyana and Suriname.

Credits: Julien Neaves /NewsDay