Trinidad and Tobago, China strive to improve trade relations


Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon. – Photo by Sureash Cholai

Trade and Investment Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon said the establishment of the Chinese companies Phoenix Park Industrial Estate would improve the state of trade relations and cooperation between the governments of TT and China. The park is expected to be completed in May 2022.

She was speaking at the first China-Trinidad and Tobago Investment Cooperation Forum on Wednesday. The virtual forum brought together more than 60 entities from China and TT.

The estate will have two rental lots for commercial activity, 76 lots for light industrial activity and five 50,000 square foot shells.

Chinese Ambassador Fang Qui said China is the only major economy to register positive growth in 2020.

“China’s GDP exceeded the threshold of $ 15.4 trillion, and its total merchandise imports and exports exceeded $ 4.9 trillion, while its overseas investments exceeded $ 130 billion, making China the world’s largest foreign investor. The trade between China and its Belt Road cooperation partners alone has exceeded US $ 1.35 trillion. During the first half of 2021, China’s GDP grew by 12.7% and its total trade volume increased by 27.1% to reach the sum of $ 2.8 trillion.

“China has replaced the United States as the largest market for retail and consumer goods. We are convinced that China’s national rejuvenation has become a historical inevitability.

He said TT is one of China’s most important partners and that China is ready to continue its efforts to further strengthen cooperation in the post-covid era.

“The guideline of the 14th Five-Year Plan and China’s long-term goals to 2035 share a great similarity with TT’s 2030 vision, especially in terms of a human-centered mindset, its emphasis on high-quality development, international cooperation and green development. .

“Now TT is lifting the restrictive measures and restoring production in an orderly manner, reopening its borders and attracting foreign investment to achieve the strategy of economic diversification. This offers greater opportunities for our economic, trade and investment cooperation. “

Fang said he hoped forum participants would think about ways to consolidate cooperation in areas such as energy, light manufacturing, telecommunications and infrastructure, and actively explore opportunities for collaboration in new energies, information technology, digital economy, maritime economy and other future industries. .

Gopee-Scoon said TT became the first English-speaking Caribbean country to join the Belt and Road Initiative on May 14, 2018. She noted the positive growth of the Chinese economy over the past two years. .

“I find this to be a truly laudable position and recognize that it is due to the continued expansion of Chinese multinational enterprises, mergers and acquisitions and the ongoing projects of the Belt and Road Initiative. the road”.

“Most important for us, of course, is the potential to attract more Chinese investment to TT as this country, like many others in our region, is gradually recovering from the negative impact of the covid19 pandemic on global foreign direct investment.

She said foreign direct investment in Latin America and the Caribbean is estimated to have fallen by 45%, “the largest drop among developing regions. Factors such as collapsing export demand and Falling commodity prices have weighed heavily on our investment outlook in these uncertain times. “

InvestTT Chairman Sekou Alleyne said the organization has worked with the Beijing Construction Engineering Group as well as the TT Embassy in Beijing, to publicize TT as an investment destination and promote the industrial zone. of Phoenix Park as a base of operations for Chinese companies. .

The deputy director of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation of the US-Pacific Institute of Study, Zhou Mi, said some possible areas of bilateral cooperation between TT and China relate to areas of change. climatic; allow movement between the two countries; and improving the digital economy.

InvesTT Director of Investments Videsh Maharaj said TT’s trade policy goals for 2019-2023 are to provide an improved environment that facilitates and supports international trade, as well as growth in production and marketing. ‘export of non-energy goods and services, with high added value. added goods and services, Caricom’s trade share including trade in services and market share in traditional and non-traditional markets.

He said there were several laws governing TT trade, including foreign investment, corporate tax, customs and excise, tax incentives, occupational health and safety, labor tax. income (for the benefit of industry) and the free trade area / special economy. The zones act.

The incentives, he said, included tax exemptions on customs duties, value added tax (VAT) and income tax on dividends and other distributions, as well as tax breaks such as the capital expense allowance on machinery and equipment, the training allowance, the promotional expense allowance, and the sponsorship allowance.

Other presenters included TT Embassy Beijing Acting Charge d’Affaires Adrian Thomas, Shanghai Municipal Commerce Commission Chief Economist Luo Zhisong, InvesTT Vice President Pramilla Ramdahani, Director General of Beijing Construction Engineering Group TT Ma Shulong, CEO of First Caribbean Marketing Company Cheng Xiang (Charles Cheng), chairman of China Railway Construction Corporation International Investment Co. Ltd. Liao Jun, general manager of enterprise management department at the Foreigner of Oriental International (Holding) Co Ltd Zhang Min, Sales Representative of Yutong Bus Co, Ltd for Caribbean Regions Zhang Xin, Huawei Cesar Funes Garay, Vice President of Public Relations of LATAM, Zhao Yan, General Manager of China Equipment International Trading Co., Ltd., and Li Tao, general manager of Cainiao Latin America.

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