T&T’s services sector second to oil and gas
Published: Friday, November 8, 2013
T&T’s services sector is increasingly making a contribution to the economy, Trade Minister Vasant Bharath said yesterday.
“The services sector is growing worldwide and also in T&T. We tend to think of ourselves as oil and gas but if we were to look at disaggregating our revenues, services actually constitute a significant part of the economy. In fact it is second to oil and gas in T&T. It is an important part of developing revenue streams,” he said in his address at the T&T Coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI) seminar, Going Global, Structuring Your Winning Pitch For Growth, at the Trinidad Hilton and Conference Centre.
Bharath said the Government is looking for foreign markets for entrepreneurs in different types of services. “More and more, as we build bilateral agreements we are building service components into them. A good example is the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU) which allows providers from T&T access to 500 million people across the EU markets,” he said.
Bharath said T&T is moving away from signing agreements with countries that are not beneficial:
“We are now signing services agreements that we actually want to trade with. One of the things we are doing now is in collaboration with the private sector we are looking at which markets we have agreements with, because in the past we have bilaterals with countries we did not really want to trade with and those agreements are a waste of time.” The minister said attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to T&T is not easy because of the competitive nature of the global economy.
“It is difficult today to attract the investment dollar, particularly after 2008. The absolute necessity when you have a product or service is that you have got to create a uniqueness about it that will attract the investor you want to sell to,” he said. “Investors and consumers, because of choice of country or product, have become far more judicious in the last two or three years.”
Bharath advised businesses to know what their competition is like when they begin exporting. “You cannot go out there and you have no idea what your competition is like because they may have gone way past you as you have products or services that are either outdated or substandard,” he said.