PM: Partial scope agreement option to high food prices
By COREY CONNELLY Sunday, October 6 2013
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PM in Panama: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC, third from right with Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Dookeran, second from right, Roberto...
Trinidad and Tobago stands to benefit from close to 250 products and commodities from Panama with this country’s signing of the Partial Scope Trade Agreement, Prime Minister Kamla Persad- Bissessar said yesterday.
Speaking during a news conference at the Piarco Internatioinal Airport shortly after her arrival from the Seventh Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF) in Panama, Persad-Bissessar said the agreement would offer an alternative to the problem of high food prices.
“It is a way of exploring markets for food in Trinidad and Tobago,” she told reporters.
She said items up for consideration include chilled meats, salt, pepper and fresh meat. TT, in turn, would also export some 230 commodities to Panama.
The Partial Scope Trade Agreement provides the preferential treatment that TT exporters will enjoy in the Panamanian market and the reciprocal treatment that Panamanian exporters will receive in the Trinidadian market.
Flanked by ministers Winston Dookeran, Dr Roodal Moonilal and Ambassador Mervyn Assam, the Prime Minister said this country’s delegation had also held talks on Friday with officials at COPA with a view to interlining with the Panamian airline.
“Trinidad and Tobago could be used as hub for London and Latin America,” she said
Persad-Bissessar said they were also examining the possibility of COPA buying jet fuel from this country.
“This would mean revenue for Trinidad and Tobago,” she said.
Saying that the next ACF will take place in October 2014, Persad-Bissessar said Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie has been appointed “lead entity.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran said the forum and the signing of the agreement demonstrated that competitiveness is the basis of real economic development.
“It created a more resilient economic platform in Trinidad and Tobago,” he said
He said the forum also provided an opportunity for the private sector throughout the Caribbean to develop a strategy for competitiveness within the region.
“It was a new directional thrust in competitiveness and Caribbean economic convergence,” he said.