WHY SHOULD I JOIN THE TRINIDAD & TOBAGO CHAMBER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE?
The Trinidad & Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce (T&T Chamber) is the largest and longest established business chamber in the country. With over 600 active members comprising of, importers, exporters, manufacturers, retailers, consultants, service providers, academia, individual business leaders, members of the diplomatic corps and others, our membership profile represents more of the Trinidad and Tobago business landscape than any other. We are also the only business Chamber with a Tobago division.
Joining the T&T Chamber means your potential to network with others who can make a difference to your enterprise is great. We host on average of 20-30 events per year with a view to bringing the business community together for subjects and reasons of similar interest. The topics we present and issues we cover vary greatly to appeal to a wide audience from companies of different sizes and in different sectors. We encourage our members to come out and attend as there is chance to connect with someone new for a purpose – perhaps even a lifelong business relationship.
Here are some other reasons why you should join the T&T Chamber.
WE ADVOCATE FOR OUR MEMBERS
Our vision states that, “We are the Voice of Business”, and this directly highlights one of our primary functions to members, and by extension, the wider business community. The T&T Chamber is very proud of our strength and reputation as an effective lobbyist. Many of the issues that we advocated for have resulted in positive change. This can be attributed to the vigor and influence of our Board, most of whom representatives of businesses that are leaders in their sectors. Our Trade and Business Development and Communication teams also have a significant role to play in this equation by ensuring that the appropriate data and analysis is presented, and that the issues are communicated to the public. The foundation of our ability to be an effective advocate for our members rests on our strong relationships within the national framework: the government, other business chambers (regional and international), financial sector leaders, academia, govern, non-governmental organisations and other individuals and groups who can influence a positive outcome towards achieving an improved and thriving Trinidad and Tobago.
We also use our all of our communication channels, including newspaper columns, radio and television interviews, press releases, press conferences, and our 4 social media platforms to build conversations around matters affecting our members, the wider business community, and the nation.
We constantly seek to engage our members with regard to the business climate and specific issue that might be affecting them. To speak to someone about an issue for which you require assistance (legislative, business, trade-related, operational) please call 637-6966, Trade and Business Development/International Trade Unit, extension 1310 or The Marketing, Communications & Membership Unit, extensions 1222 or 1227.
BE PART OF THE LARGEST NETWORK OF BUSINESSES IN T&T
Our membership represents the T&T business community with 635 and counting members in both Trinidad and Tobago. In fact, we are the only business organization with a Tobago office specifically established to ensure that the needs of the island’s business community is placed at the forefront. Our Tobago Division currently has 57 members as at January, 2020, and is expected to grow steadily.
Overall the T&T Chamber’s membership is drawn from nearly every business sector; from conglomerates to SME’s, individual consultants and members of recognised business incubator programmes. This latter group was included in recognition of the fact the future conglomerates and large businesses of tomorrow will come from the start-ups and SMEs of today. As such, the T&T Chamber broadened its membership to include members of incubator programmes, universities and other tertiary institutions, giving rise to the Associate Membership tier. Today SMEs are represented in our Bronze Company, Bronze Individual, and Associate Membership tiers which now make up just about 50% of our membership. Subscription fees are determined based on your company’s annual revenues.
We communicate with our members and potential members from the wider business community on a daily basis. This includes over 5,000 email contacts, thousands of contacts via our 4 social media platforms (Facebook with over 10,000 followers; Twitter over 2400 followers; Instagram – 800 followers; LinkedIN with over 6,100 connections).
To join, call our Membership Desk at 637-6966, extension 1230 or 1222 or click here on the How to Join the T&T Chamber page.
JOIN A COMMITTEE – Be Part of the Solution
Many members choose to join one of the T&T Chamber committees to directly influence positive change in a sector or towards an important national issue (business-related or social). We have 3 types of committees at the Chamber.
1. Internal or Board-driven committees – these may be purpose-driven or formed to manage a strategic internal need. These include:
- Executive Board
- Communications Committee
- Contact Editorial Committee
- Membership Committee
2. Standing committees – these are formed for with a long-term mandate and meet on a regular basis. These committees are made up of members from a particular sector or grouping and include:
- Facilities Development Management (FDM) Committee
- Employment and Labour Relations Committee
- Crime and Justice Committee
- NOVA Committee – facilitating the support of start-ups and smaller entrepreneurs
3. Ad Hoc committees – these are formed by members of the Chamber and are usually driven by the CEO as a lobbyist grouping on a particular issue, meeting on a ‘needs’ basis. These include:
- Pharmaceutical Committee – comprised of made up of pharmaceutical distributors, manufacturers and exporters
- Beverage Alliance
- Alcoholic Beverages Committee
- Technology Committee
There are also a number of external national committees on which the T&T Chamber is invited to place a representative. Many of these are government-established committees, but not all. When the T&T Chamber is invited to sit on such a committee, we look within our membership community for suitable and willing persons, with the appropriate qualifications and knowledge, to represent our views and that of the private sector.
BUSINESS INSIGHTS SERIES – Training for Business by Business
One of the T&T Chamber’s most recognised training brands is the Business Insights suite of training sessions. Each month we host at least 1 training session on a topical subject relevant to the business community. These sessions take the form of a 2-hour conference followed by a panel discussion and ends in an interactive Q& A segment. Panelists are carefully selected and offer different viewpoints for attendees from their area of expertise and experience. The sessions are designed to be informative and offer the gifts of perspective and personal development.
At the end of each Business Insights seminar attendees are encouraged to mingle and network. Many valuable connections have been made from the widening of networks. We encourage all attendees to carve out a little more time to stay back and network – and remember to walk with your business cards!
Members receive a discounted rate to attend BI sessions live. (TT$250.00)for Financial members and $350.00 for non-members. Breakfast / lunch is included.
BUSINESS INSIGHTS ON DEMAND LIBRARY
In case you cannot make it to a seminar, please note that all Business Insights seminars from previous years are available for post viewing for FREE to all financial members (members whose subscriptions fees are paid up for the year) using a code given by the Membership Unit. If you have not received your code please ask the Membership Admin Assistant at [email protected].
Many members use this facility to set up a viewing session with their staff as an inexpensive way to provide training or subject exposure. To view past Business Insights sessions go to the BI On Demand gallery (click here).
The cost of viewing a Business Insights seminar online is Free to financial members. It is TT$350 +VAT for non-financial members and potential members.
The T& T Chamber hosts three Signature events annually and these are three of the biggest and most significant business networking events of the year.
The Annual Business Luncheon
This is the first Signature event each year. The meeting attracts a large and diverse attendance of both members and non-members (250 – 450 persons depending on the capacity of the venue). The Annual Business Luncheon follows the Annual General Meeting, a member only segment. This event is designed to offer compelling and thought-provoking presentations and discussions on important issues affecting the business community. The T&T Chamber may engage a key presenter of repute to open the segment. This is then usually followed by a moderated discussion with panellists offering their perspectives and experience on the subject.
Click here to go to the Signature Events page to read more.
Post Budget Analysis Meeting
The second Signature event is the Post-Budget Analysis meeting, which by tradition is hosted the day after the presentation of the National Budget. The event addresses the most burning issues of the national budget, interpretations and predicted outcomes from its policies and positions.
Again, this event attracts a very large and influential following. The Minister of Finance has participated in this event for over 20 years as a presenter and makes himself / herself available for questions from the audience.
This is a highly engaging experience and is viewed by many members as a Must-Attend event on their annual calendar.
Champions of Business (CoB)
This event was originally known as the Business Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and was started in 2005, when Leon Agostini, one of the principal founders of the T&T Chamber, was inducted. The event was created to recognise the achievements of our country’s most successful business leaders. In 2014 the event was re-branded The Champions of Business and more categories were added to recognise other businesspersons and companies, including start-ups and rising achievers.
Current categories include: Internationally Known…T&T Owned Company of the Year” (sponsored by First Citizens), EY Entrepreneur of The Year™ Business Technology (sponsored by bmobile and the Business Hall of Fame ((sponsored by Guardian Life of the Caribbean. The last remains the most prestigious of the four awards, representing a lifetime of achievement in the sphere of business.
The T&T Chamber also hosts other events such as training workshops from our Professional Development Series, Dispute Resolution training from the Dispute Resolution Centre , strategic networking events and Committee events
These may include, but are not exclusive to:
· The Lunch ‘N’ Learn networking B2Bs hosted by the NOVA Committee. Several of these are hosted each year, providing a forum r where SME’s can meet with one of T&T’s top business leaders in an intimate setting at a great business lunch spot. Attendance is limited to 12 people maximum per event.
· The Facilities Management Conference, hosted by the FDM Committee every 2 years. This committee also hosts other seminars and workshops from time to time during the year.
· Employment and Labour Relations Conference, hosted by the ELR Committee. This committee also hosts seminars and workshops from time to time during the year.
As noted, each event hosted by the T&T Chamber is a tremendous opportunity to network, so we encourage you try to participate in at least 2–3 events for the year. Most events are also sponsored and offer great opportunity for companies to position themselves as thought leaders in their sector by co-branding with the T&T Chamber.
If you have suggestions for other events that you would like us to consider or wish to enquire about co-branding opportunities please call the Events Unit at 637-6966, extension: 1226 or email, [email protected].
Our Signature Events, Business Outlook and the Business Insights series are all available for corporate sponsorship. Sponsorship plays a large role in helping us to produce events at a standard we can be proud of. It also helps to keep ticket/ seat prices at an affordable rate so to encourage more SME participation.
This is could be a great opportunity to align your company or brand with one or more of our events while positioning your company as a thought leader or sector leader. Our events attract high level executives, business owners, senior managers. Perhaps your brand may want to connect with them?
For more information if you are interested, then call the Events Unit at 637-6966, extension 1226 or email: [email protected].
THE GROUP HEALTH AND MEDICAL PLAN
The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce offers exclusively to members the opportunity to join our Group Life and Health Insurance Plan and select from 2 options – ChamberMedi Core or the ChamberMedi Plus plans.
This offering is particularly attractive to many of our Bronze and Silver tier members who may not normally qualify for group plan rates because of the size of their operation and staffing numbers.
By joining the T&T Chamber’s Group Medical Plan you have the ability to receive and offer comprehensive insurance for yourself, your family and to your staff. To read more about the Plan please click here: Group Medical Plan.
For more information on how to join please contact the Membership Unit at 637-6966, extension 1230 or email, [email protected].
MEETING ROOM & CONFERENCE HALL RENTAL:
The T&T Chamber has three office meeting spaces that are available for rent on an ongoing basis. Members often use our facilities to conduct meetings, interviews and social events when the off-site need is required. These spaces are as follows:
· The Leon Agostini Conference Hall
· The Wm Gordon Board Room
· Duncan Campbell Meeting Room
Financial members of the T&T Chamber receive a 30% discount on the rental of any these rooms to host their company events or meetings. Tables, chairs and basic A/V equipment are included. We also assist members with food and beverage planning and coordination if requested. Telemarketing, RSVP calls and other related event services may be at an additional cost.
For more information on seating capacity or to request a quotation please call the Events Unit at 637-6966, extension 1252.
Please note that the discount does not apply to office rental rates.
The T&T Chamber building has a number of office spaces available for tenancy. We are located in the quiet semi-residential area of Columbus Circle, Westmoorings. We offer 24-hour security, adequate parking. Tenants of the T&T Chamber also benefit from the professional image of being in the building. We are also located in close proximity to a prime shopping centre which affords tenants a number of other conveniences.
To find out about available offices for rent please contact the IT- Admin Unit at 637-6966, extension 1307.
MEMBERSHIP VALUE-ADDED PROGRAMME
The Membership Value-Added Programme (MVA) is the most recent benefit of being a member of the T&T Chamber. The programme is designed to give our members tangible savings in a number of meaningful cost categories.
Each member is issued with a membership card upon renewal of the membership subscription and they may use this to redeem discounts and savings from our list of MVA Partners.
We update our list of MVA offers on a quarterly basis and we encourage our members to become MVA Partners too and directly tap into the market of the 600-odd T&T Chamber members and their key personnel.
Ask the Membership Unit about MVA at 637-6966, extension 1230.
THE DISPUTE RESOLUTION CENTER (DRC)
The Dispute Resolution Centre Trinidad and Tobago, (the Centre) was initially developed by the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce, and officially launched on August 24, 1996, by the Honourable Chief Justice, Michael de Labastide. The Centre, currently operated from the T&T Chamber Secretariat and is a service available to both T&T Chamber members and non-members.
The DRC’s objectives are to:
· service local and international dispute resolution needs in commercial and non-commercial sectors
· collaborate with the legal fraternity and other relevant industry organizations
· train and empower clients to resolve disputes and
· foster widespread awareness and adoption of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) approaches within communities locally, regionally and internationally.
The DRC offers mediation and arbitration services, meeting facilitation, dispute resolution design systems and also offers a wide range of training programmes. For more information click here to go to the page: Dispute Resolution Centre Or call 637-6966, extension 1301 or email: [email protected] (Michelle)
CERTIFICATES OF ORIGIN:
A Certificate of Origin (CoO) 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 officers 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 and Tobago, exporTT, Customs and Excise Division of the Ministry of Finance and the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce (T&T Chamber) are the only three bodies authorized to issue Certificates of Origin.
- Customs and Excise Division – issues preferential Certificates of Origin for goods to be exported to Europe and USA.
- exporTT – issues preferential Certificates of Origin for goods exported to CARICOM (excluding Haiti & Bahamas) and countries with whom Trinidad and Tobago has a Free Trade Agreement.
- T& T Chamber – issues non-preferential Certificates of Origin for goods that do not fall under established Free Trade Agreements.All companies seeking Certificates of Origin must have a registered account with TTBizlink before requesting certification. For further information on registering your business on TTBizLink please click visit: www.ttbizlink.gov.tt or call 800-4SEW or 800-4739.
The T&T Chamber’s is issuing COOs electronically – once approved, your COO will be emailed to your designated contact(s). Payments can be made via bank transfer or at the T&T Chamber Building via cash, cheque, Debit or Credit Card.
Processing fees are as follows:
- Verification Fee (a one-time fee upon registration) – TT$600 + VAT
This entails a site visit by the T&T Chamber to your factory in order to observe the manufacturing process to satisfy the requirement that the finished product that you will be exported is being manufactured in T&T.
- Certificate of Origin submitted via TTBizLink:
Chamber Members: TT$125 per CoO
Potential Members: TT$150 per CoO
- Export documents that need to be attested by the T&T Chamber or manual Certificates of Origin:
Chamber Members: TT$225 per CoO
Potential Members: TT$300 per CoO
For further information please contact:
Ms. Rianna E. Paul Manager – Trade and Business Development Unit
Email: [email protected]
Ms. Leeooi Edmund Trade Analyst – Trade and Business Development Unit
Email: [email protected]
HOW TO JOIN THE CHAMBER
If your interests mesh with our Vision & Mission or if you are interested in any of our member services – click here and follow the steps to becoming a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce.