T&T accused of barring products from St. Lucia

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T&T accused of barring products from St. Lucia
Head of the St Lucia Manufacturers Association, Paula Calderon
President of the St Lucia Manufacturers Association, Paula Calderon

The president of the St Lucia Manufacturers Association (SMA), Paula Calderon, has accused Trinidad and Tobago of barring products from entering the country.

During a question-and-answer segment of the recently held Caribbean Export colloquium at the Hilton Barbados, Calderon pleaded with the chief executive officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA), Ramesh Ramdeen, to help remove the barriers.

“I want to let you know that they are putting up all trade barriers to prevent us from exporting our products to Trinidad and Tobago,” she said, though not giving details on what products were being barred or exactly what the impediments were.

“We are not working together… We need to make sure that our small companies can survive in the region otherwise we are going to have some serious problems,” added Calderon.

In responding, Ramdeen promised he would do what he could to ensure there was ease for the products out of St Lucia.

“With St Lucia, unfortunately there are no great synergies between the St Lucia Manufacturers Association and that of Trinidad…if you have issues coming into Trinidad and Tobago I can tell you that I can try and figure out what the problems are and if the problems are such that we can interject and solve them then we will work assiduously to solve the problems you have. I give you that guarantee,” said Ramdeen.

This was not the first time that Port-of-Spain has been accused of unfair trading practices.

Last year the Banks Holdings Ltd (BHL) accused Trinidad of deliberately blocking Pine Hill Dairy milk and juice products over an 18-month-long labelling dispute. But one month later managing director and chief executive officer of BHL Richard Cozier said most of the difficulties were resolved in a two-hour meeting in Port-of-Spain.

Jamaica had also accused T&T of imposing unfair trading practices and non-tariff barriers against the export of Jamaican patties.

In the case of Jamaica, the two countries set up a “trade desk” at the TTMA and since then—over the past six months—“the relationship with Jamaica and Trinidad has improved considerably,” said Ramdeen.

 

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5 COMMENTS

  1. I agree! Support the people and in return ur'll (government) will get support (more revenue). After-all, that's why they were hired(elected)!

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  2. CARICOM/CSME is a farce and those Tricki Trinis and the twisted Jamaicans are the very root of the problem, they're big bullies. Long live the little ones...the OECS!

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  3. This is a manifestation of the typical tension between integration and protectionism. I admire the Trinidad government for 'taking care of their own' - many of their local products are sold in their major supermarkets and there is a lot of support for their farmers and other producers. While we must fight for our products to be sold on these larger markets, our own government and Manufacturers' Association should also be taking notes and giving much more support to local production in whatever ways possible.

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      • For example:

        1. Not making it so difficult for people to be entrepreneurs (do you have any idea how many processes people have to go through just to register a business??) - Better collaboration between government and the private sector required there for sure! Our ease of doing business also is problematic.

        2. Educating, encouraging and providing initiatives for our people to produce first in part for themselves (kitchen gardens for example) to cut down on their grocery bill and then using those skills to produce on a larger scale.

        3. Dialogue... and enforcement. You have any idea how farmers are treated here by hotels/restaurants and establishments when they have to get their money for produce they have already delivered?! That alone is discouragement for anyone interested.

        Basically, unless we get our own internal processes streamlined, we are never going to beat those 'big' countries. So if Trinidad is doing for its people what we refuse to do for ourselves, we should not complain - but try to do better. That 'poor jab' begging attitude is definitely pathetic. And globalization hitting us left, right and centre... you think we gonna survive with that kind of thinking? Please...

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