By TOM GODFREY
A Canadian delegation of business people are heading to Trinidad & Tobago to get a first-hand look at trade opportunities in the oil-rich twin-island republic.
More than 25 entrepreneurs and investors from the Canadian oil and gas, health care, transportation, tourism, police and security sectors will be in Trinidad from January 10 to 16 to meet with business and trade officials, organizers of the trip say.
The delegation is being led by Senator Don Meredith, who has led similar trips to Jamaica. He is the co-chair of a Canada-CARICOM Parliamentary Friendship Group that includes many Caribbean islands, including Trinidad and Tobago.
“We expect there will be great opportunities for us in the natural gas sector,” Meredith told Share before leaving for Port-of-Spain. “We will be looking at gas exploration and other facilities on the trip.”
He has been working for the last few months with Canadian businesses and officials of the Trinidad &Tobago High Commission to organize the tour.
Meredith led a group last August to the Jamaican Agricultural Society’s 62nd Annual Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show.
“This will provide opportunities for businesses in both countries,” said Meredith. “It is a win-win situation for Canada and Trinidad.”
He said Trinidad & Tobago is strategically located for exporters, has low energy costs, an educated and skilled labour force and a highly-developed communications infrastructure.
The islands are part of the CARICOM agreement and therefore enjoys preferential access to its market, according to trade brochures.
“Establishing your business in Trinidad & Tobago gives you access to other regional and international markets through existing trade agreements,” the brochures promise.
Canadian trade with Trinidad & Tobago totalled $577.8 million in 2012. Merchandise exports to the islands totalled $329.6 million and included mineral ores, machinery, paper and paperboard and copper articles.
Canada imported $248.2 million in 2012 that included mostly organic chemicals, iron and steel.
CARICOM is an organization of nations and dependencies in the Caribbean region that represents over 15 million residents. The CARICOM Parliamentary Friendship Group is a non-partisan platform for engaging in political, economic, social and cultural success of Caribbean communities.