Trade and Business Development Unit
International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
The ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) is the voice of world business championing the global economy as a force for economic growth, job creation and prosperity. Because national economies are now so closely interwoven, government decisions have far stronger international repercussions than in the past. ICC – the world’s only truly global business organization responds by being more assertive in expressing business views. ICC activities cover a broad spectrum, from arbitration and dispute resolution to making the case for open trade and the market economy system, business self-regulation, fighting corruption or combating commercial crime.ICC has direct access to national governments all over the world through its national committees. The organization’s Paris-based international secretariat feeds business views into inter-governmental organizations on issues that directly affect business operations. The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce is the Secretariat for ICC Caribbean.
Lobbying is the act of influencing decisions made by officials in the government, legislators or members of regulatory agencies. Over the last 133 years the Chamber has been the premier business lobbyist seeking the interests of the private sector in Trinidad and Tobago. Through the Chamber’s interaction with its membership, it has able to contribute to policy reformation and offer advice to the government on pertinent issues facing the economy and private sector.
Certificate of Origin
A Certificate of Origin is a signed statement as to the country of origin of the exported products for a particular shipment. This document is required by foreign governments, declaring that goods in a particular international shipment are of a certain origin. Certificates of Origin can also be used to satisfy the buyers that the products exported are wholly obtained, produced or manufactured in a certain country. Customs offices will use this document to determine whether or not a preferential duty rate applies on the products being imported and whether a shipment may be legally imported during a specific quota period.
In Trinidad the Business Development Company , Customs and Excise along with the Chamber are the only bodies authorized to sign and issue Certificates of Origin.
1. Ministry of Finance Customs and Excise Division – issues preferential Certificates of Origin for goods to be exported to Europe, some parts of USA and “Carib Can” Agreement countries
2. Business Development Company Ltd (BDC) – issues preferential Certificates of Origin to countries in CARICOM (excluding Haiti & Bahamas) and countries with whom Trinidad and Tobago has a Free Trade Agreement.
3. The Chamber– issues non-preferential Certificates of Origin for goods to be exported to all other countries with whom there is no Free Trade Agreement.
As of January 2012, all companies seeking certificates of origin must have a registered account with TTbizlink before requesting certification.
The Chamber’s Trade and Business Development Unit offers a research facility service upon request from members of the public seeking economic data on Trinidad and Tobago. Monthly trade bulletins are posted fourteen days after the end of each month.
The Chamber carries out coordinated overseas missions to meet with buyers and importers in potential export markets for Trinidad and Tobago products. On each occasion the Chamber’s senior directors and executive staff accompanies local business owners and representatives. All logistic arrangements such as transport, hotel accommodation, language interpreters and business meetings are arranged and scheduled by the Chamber.
Over the last year two trade Missions were held, one to Guatemala and the other to the European Union. On the 21st‐ 24th June, 2011 the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce organized a trade mission to Guatemala. The delegates attended the InduExpo, the largest manufacturing expo in Central America, hosted by the Guatemala Chamber of Industry and Commerce. This was a return mission to our “Connecting the Caribbean and Central America Conference” which took place in October 2010. The trade mission focused on the following sectors: food and beverage, construction and building, distribution, furniture, chemicals, shipping, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and real estate. The private sector on this mission was accompanied by the Minster of Trade and Industry, the Honourable Stephen Cadiz who attended on behalf of the Honorable Prime Minister.
During the period 26th February to 7th March the Chamber led its first trade mission to Europe dubbed ‘Trinidad and Tobago in Europe 2012”. This mission was made possible under the European Development Fund through the Trade.Com Facility based in Brussels and served as a platform for members to obtain much needed knowledge of European markets and for the Chamber to enhance its institutional capacity, all within the context of trading under the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement. The delegation of five ICT, two food and beverage and two construction companies visited five cities in three countries. The Chamber explored business opportunities in Germany (Hamburg, Munich), Netherlands (Rotterdam), and the UK (Bermingham and Manchester).
Public Procurement Legislation
The scope of public procurement envisaged by the current legal and regulatory framework is largely limited to the tendering stage, in which offers of supply are invited and contracts awarded. The White Paper proposes that public procurement should include both the prior design stage in which needs are identified, scope of works determined, costs estimated and bid packages prepared as well as the subsequent implementation stage in which the performance of the contract is managed. Mr. Lawrence Placide, Director / Consultant to the Chamber’s International Trade Negotiations Unit (ITNU) played an active role in the formulation and reformation advanced by the White Paper, some of which include:
- Strengthen and promote confidence in public institutions;
- Guarantee substantial market share to local business, in order to develop and promote domestic industry;
- Take advantage of developments in information and communications technology;
- Ensure that domestic procurement practices are in conformity with international best practice; and
- Meet the requirements of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy
Even after the completion of the white paper, the Chamber’s Trade and Business Development Unit continues to monitor the developments in the Public Procurement Legislation and remains part of a Joint Select Committee to oversee all procurement matters.
Panama, Guatemala Partial Scope Agreement with Trinidad and Tobago
Given the increasing role of emerging markets, attention has been shifted to exploring new market opportunities. This has led the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to renew its interest in Latin and Central America. The Government has been aggressively seeking to form stronger alliances and increase trading relations within the Central American region.
Both Guatemala and Panama have been identified as beneficial trading partners with Trinidad and Tobago. The large populations in both countries coupled with the even distribution of wealth make it very lucrative markets for local producers. The product of this interest has yielded one partial scope agreement between Trinidad and Tobago and Panama. Negotiations are currently underway for the completion of another partial scope agreement with Guatemala. The International Trade Negotiations Unit (ITNU) has played a key role in the formulation of both agreements. The Chamber is currently advocating a more penetrative trade agreement as there is need to ease the concentration of exports towards the traditional trade markets.