In a strategic effort to counteract the impact of Covid-19 on the manufacturing sector, the Ministry of Trade and Industry in collaboration with exporTT and the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA) developed the Export Booster Initiative (EBI), geared towards developing overseas markets and promoting exports.
The primary objective of the EBI is to increase the value of non-energy exports of goods to TT$3.21 billion or by 10% by end of the fiscal year 2020/2021 and to double that to approximately TT$6 billion by 2024. To achieve this target, the EBI will pursue sixteen initiatives under three broad strategic areas namely, Export Promotion, Capacity Building and Institutional Strengthening.
To increase and improve support to exporters to better penetrate export markets, a total of $12.9 million will be allocated to eight initiatives to improve export promotion.
This area is a critical step towards increasing exports with a focus on improving the rate at which our manufacturing firms are able to penetrate and establish a presence in international markets. The eight initiatives expected to address this include:
- A Trade Facilitation Office (TFO) to Unlock Opportunities in Target Markets
- Trade Attachés to Increase Support in Overseas Markets
- Market Research to Identify and Exploit Opportunities and Virtual Trade Missions to Reach New Markets
- Translating Services to Facilitate Business Transactions
- In-Market Promotion
- Virtual Expo Platform to Bring Buyers and Sellers Together
- Sector Profiles to Promote Trinidad and Tobago’s Exports
Building capacity will increase the productivity and competitiveness of our manufacturers. This will include the provision of equipment, up skilling of employees, innovation and digitization to improve operations. It will assist in overcoming supply side constraints and ensure compliance with international standards. Approximately TT $32 million will be allocated to the following six initiatives under this strategic area during fiscal 2020/2021.
As such, the Government has allocated TT$20 million to implement a certification programme that will assist exporters in achieving international certification in food/beverage and other product compliance to meet the quality and safety standards of international markets and franchises. This programme will be administered by exporTT and is expected to provide grant funding to assist firms to:
- build capacity in the conduct of standards audits, inspections and/or implementation;
- in the acquisition and operation of specialized equipment required for the adoption of standards; and
- in infrastructural modifications to comply with standards implementation; and
- in reducing the cost of certification.
A total of $2.9 million has been allocated for the transformation and modernization of exporTT into a leading export promotion agency. ExporTT performs an important role in providing key information, training, advice and guidance to businesses. The selected areas for modernization were informed by the recommendations of the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) 2013 and 2019 Benchmark Reports on the performance of exporTT. Resources will be also allocated to a Change Manager to support and guide exportTT through the implementation of the institution’s strengthening activities. The expectation is an increase in the quality of service provided to exporters by exporTT.
Further, in order to accelerate sector- wide recommendations and export plans for the expansion and growth of all manufacturing businesses (large, medium and small), $1.5 million will be allocated to strengthening the capacity of the TTMA by securing the services of a suitably qualified consultant with a focus on external trade. The Consultant will operate from the office of the TTMA for a period of 12 months and will be primarily tasked with the development, commencement and operationalization of a framework for delivering on the TTMA’s target to double exports with clear targets.
Labelling & Product Testing
MAKING CHANGE POSSIBLE
This fund is designed to facilitate product testing, product and/or packaging modification and labelling redesign required to meet export market preferences and requirements in export markets.
The Labelling and Product Testing Fund will cover 75% of the cost of Product Testing, Product Modification, Packaging Modification & Labelling Redesign to a ceiling of TT$80,000 per beneficiary.
MEET THE STANDARD BEFORE YOU MEET THE MARKET
The International Certification Fund for Food and Beverage and Other Product Compliance will assist exporters in achieving international certification in order to meet the quality and safety standards of international markets and franchises; reduce the quantity of imported goods that can be produced locally; and boost the production of non-energy exports.
The ICF will provide grant funding to assist firms in:
- building capacity in the conduct of standards audits, inspections and/or implementation
- the acquisition and operation of specialized equipment required for the adoption of standards
- infrastructural modifications to comply with standards implementation
- reducing the cost of certification.
LAUNCH YOUR EXPORTS INTO THE STRATOSPHERE
The National Export Facilitation Organisation of Trinidad and Tobago (exporTT) introduced the Export Accelerator in July 2021, as one of the programmes under the Export Booster Initiative.Through the Export Accelerator Programme, exporTT takes companies with minimal export experience, but major export potential, and works with them to maximise their export capabilities.
The pilot programme was officially launched in July of 2021, with the following companies: Trincarb, Twigs Naturals, Ice Connection Industries, Lifetime Solutions, Steel-framed Engineered Solutions, Caribbean Adhesives and Chemicals Ltd., Supplies in Paper Structures (SIPS), Fresh Start and Farm and Function. Under the Export Accelerator Programme, assistance was provided to these businesses in accessing specialised training, consultancy, market research, product/service competitiveness; developing export plans, strategies and a winning sales pitch!
These companies are among the top producers of green packaging, beverages, residential/ commercial construction materials and, minerals and industrial chemicals.
LET US LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP
To assist exporters in making decisions on market and market entry strategies, exporTT is expected to conduct Information Dissemination Seminars as well as prepare customized reports. Support will also be provided to exporters with their preparations for B2B meetings with potential buyers, sellers and investors.
Countries identified for market surveys under the EBI are:
Virtual Trade Missions
QUALITY LEADS ASSURED
exporTT is conducting Virtual Trade Missions (VTMs) in collaboration with the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association, the Trinidad & Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
The markets identified for penetration are: Guyana, Jamaica, Colombia (Cartagena), Curacao, New York, Chile, Haiti, Dominican Republic, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Florida and Panama.
To date we have executed our mission to Panama, begun our Jamaica VTM and are preparing for our mission to Guyana.