History of TTCSI - ORIGIN OF THE TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO COALITION OF SERVICES INDUSTRIES

The Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries was established in October 2006 as an umbrella organisation that brings together all services organisations and associations in Trinidad and Tobago. As an alliance of professional services associations and organisations, the TTCSI functions as a focal point to lobby, channel and address trade in services issues and services development issues, which are critical for the sector to thrive in this competitive global environment and for the growth of sustainable services in the economy which contributed 58% to real GDP in 2018.

Renewed Mandate of the TTCSI (2019 and beyond)

  • To provide national service providers with knowledge of export opportunities.
  • To build robust data analytics and sectoral reports on Trade in Services information on all key sub sectors.
  • To build and maintain an up-to-date National Services Exporters Portal which will facilitate connecting local services providers and firms to local, regional, and international clients and partners to engage new revenue opportunities.
  • To conduct research and focus group meetings with members and stakeholders that will identify destinations for trade missions to enable services providers and firms to exploit market opportunities.
  • To encourage national service providers to engage in developing export programmes and promotional activities through collaboration locally, regionally, and internationally.
  • Ensure that all services providers and firms, that have the capacity to export, complete the Services Go Global Training Programme.
  • To promote the further development and competitiveness of the national services sector.
  • To support and facilitate the development of industry standards and globally recognized certifications.
  • To enhance and encourage the competitiveness of services providers and firms through the development of continuous professional development and certification programmes.
  • To educate national service providers on relevant aspects of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), Free Trade of the Americas (FTAA), World Trade Organisation (WTO), African – Caribbean – Pacific/European Union Economic Partnership Agreements (ACP/EU EPAs) and any trade agreements or developments that can affect international trade in services.
  • To educate national service providers on relevant Government policies that can assist or hinder the export of services.
  • To represent the interests of the national services sector, including lobbying Government and promoting fair multilateral rules for trade in services.

As the means to achieving our mandate, we have, over the years efforts at developing services sector capability by assisting in the institutional strengthening of member associations and building capability for exporting their services, undertake sector studies to create opportunities for services export, and provided assistance to the services sector to overcome some of the constraints to providing and exporting services.

In 2019, the Board of Directors of the TTCSI revised the strategic objectives of the TTCSI.  The revised mandate was based on the following scenarios:

  • Lack of trade in services statistics for Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean region.  Unlike merchandise trade statistics, which have long established data collection systems, trade in services, owing to their complexity, do not enjoy the same comprehensive coverage.  TTCSI believes that the robust collection of data analytics on services must be prioritized and is a key tool in policy design and trade negotiations for the sector.  In this regard, the mandate was revised to also incorporate the positioning of the TTCSI as a data analytic hub on trade in services. 

As such, over the past three years the TTCSI has positioned itself as the leading institution for data analytics and research on services in Trinidad and Tobago.  Over this period, TTCSI has developed the following:

  • Cluster Development Plan for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Events (MICE) Tourism. This plan was shared with the Ministry of Tourism and Tourism Trinidad Limited.
  • Conducted primary research to track the economic contribution of Sports to the Gross Domestic Product of Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Collaborated with SporTT to train sports professionals in Services Go Global which was the first of its kind for the region.
  • Three research publications which provided the Government and the Private Sector with insights into the economic impact assessment of Covid-19 on the manufacturing and services sectors of T&T, impact of the foreign exchange crisis on business in T&T and a rapid labour market assessment and beneficiary capacity assessment.

What is the Services Sector?

The Services Sector is the largest sector in the Trinidad and Tobago economy, contributing annually on average $TT 43 billion ($US 6.8 billion) to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) accounting for over 60 percent of GDP during 2001-2005. The services sector is diverse covering business services (professional, computer etc), construction, transport, communications, financial services, tourism/travel, government operations among others and employs an average of 80 percent of the labour force, some 422,000 persons. Services have also been a net contributor to the balance of payments.

How are services exported?

Services exports are classified into four (4) modes of supply:

  • Mode 1: Cross border supply – services provided across a country border;
  • Mode 2: Consumption Abroad – services provided to a foreign visitor;
  • Mode 3: Commercial Presence – service provided through setting up an establishment abroad;
  • Mode 4: Movement of natural persons – services provided by travelling to a foreign country to deliver the service.

 

Why is the TTCSI important?

The development of the services sector is an important element of Government’s overall drive to develop the non-energy sector. The TTCSI will serve to assist in trade negotiations and to strengthen the local private sector to face the challenges and opportunities arising from decisions taken at the WTO, the CSME and other trading arrangements.

Who is a services exporter?

You are a service exporter if a non-resident customer pays you for your services regardless of where the service is provided.

How will the TTCSI benefit the services exporter?

TTCSI’s membership is comprised of Associations and not individuals. However, services exporters can take advantage of the full range of benefits TTCSI offers by joining their relevant professional Associations, which are members of TTCSI.

How will the TTCSI help the Services Sector?

The TTCSI was established in 2006 to help the services sector manage the challenges it faces in exporting its services. The TTCSI has the following objectives:

  • To provide national service providers with knowledge of export opportunities;
  • To identify and exploit market opportunities;
  • To encourage national service providers to engage in developing export programmes and promotional activities through collaboration locally, regionally and internationally;
  • To promote the further development and competitiveness of the national services sector;
  • To support and facilitate the development of industry standards;
  • To educate the national service providers on relevant aspects of trade agreements that affect trade in services;
  • To represent the interests of the national services sector, including lobbying Government and promoting fair multilateral rules for trade in services.

 

General Facts on Services Coalitions

Services coalitions are recent phenomena, the first being formed in the 1980′s to ensure that concerns of services firms were well represented in the Uruguay Round of the WTO.

Examples of active coalitions are:

  • U.S. Coalition of Service Industries
  • European Services Forum
  • Australian Services Roundtable
  • Uganda Services Exporters Association
  • Barbados Coalition of Services Industries
  • St. Lucia Coalition of Services Industries
  • Guyana Coalition of Service Providers

Services Coalitions: The Global Experience

For very small firms in Uganda, forming a coalition gave them a collective voice, resources and influence with trade negotiators.

“Our organisation, the Uganda Services Exporters’ Association, is small, and the size of our members is even smaller…through the Private Sector Foundation, Ugandan services firms, even small ones [have been able] to contribute to Uganda’s negotiating proposals. It has also served as a basis to select private sector representatives to a number of WTO and regional negotiation forums.” George Walusimbi-Mpanga, Uganda Services Exporters’ Association as reported in International Trade Forum – Issue 1/2006.

Mobilization for WTO negotiations

“Five years ago, in Cancun, only one Australian service industry representative attended the WTO Ministerial, as a non-governmental organisation. This time there are seven service industry representatives here in Hong Kong with me, four of them on the ‘inside’, in the formal government delegation. So there is a huge change. The Australian service sector is mobilising” Jane Drake-Brockman, Executive Director, Australian Services Roundtable as reported in International Trade Forum – Issue 1/2006