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Last Updated:[13-08-2009 06:13:23 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Trinidad and Tobago Hopeful of Trade Deal with Canada

tradenews During a seminar held at St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), Carl Francis, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry of T&T said the trade partnership with Canada would make the country better off. The seminar was organized by the Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Industries (TTCSI) as a run-up to the upcoming Caricom-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Negotiations.

Last week, Francis at an exporters award function said negotiations for a new trade and development agreement between Caricom and Canada were set to begin in September and, once finalised, would replace the existing CaribCan agreement, which would expire in 2011. Caricom’s trade negotiations with Canada are likely to figure a sub-negotiation on labour and environment. Caricom, the 16 member Caribbean community is keeping high hopes on the sub-negotiation agenda particularly because under the Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) many labourers from the region are involved.

Francis said that it was his country’s interest to diversify from oil and gas, and seek the best market access for local manufacturers and service providers. Similarly, the Canadian High Commissioner Karen McDonald reciprocated by saying that Canada was eager to create a "robust" trading agreement with the Americas. He further added the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper had made Caricom the region of priority to his global foreign policy.

According to High Commission of Canada to T&T, the bilateral trade with Canada stood at $615.1mn in 2008. T&T imported goods worth of about $273.6mn from Canada including mineral ores, machinery, paper and paperboard, copper, electrical and electronic equipment and vegetables. On the other hand, the country exported around $341.5mn of merchandise such as, organic chemicals, iron and steel, and inorganic chemicals.

By Jose Roy

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