by Andrea Perez-Sobers of the Trinidad Express
The services sector must be prioritised going forward to expand export initiatives, according to Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI) president, Mark Edghill.
Speaking at the TTCSI’s two day conference held at the Hilton Trinidad last week, Edghill said his organisation is leading the way in crafting a new strategic direction for services in the region.
“The TTCSI decided that we needed to take a more strategic approach to the expansion of the services sector by incorporating all our export initiatives under a single, forward-looking, internationalisation strategy—an export call to action, for the services sector, which we refer to as Go Global TT Services,” Edghill said.
He outlined that the TTCSI vision is for the development of an ecosystem to support services in Trinidad and Tobago.
“The Gateway to Trade (G2T) Export Accelerator Programme was created by Global Links Network, Inc, and has been developed through the application of over 25 years’ experience in working on trade-in-services initiatives in over 50 countries around the world. It is the only comprehensive export acceleration programme targeted at services sector small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs),” he said.
Also speaking was TTCSI chief executive officer, Vashti Guyadeen, who said the role of coalitions must be re-examined.
“As a ground up organisation, we have the capability of connecting directly with service providers and micro firms that are not traditionally covered by other business-support organisations.”
The type of data analytics, Guyadeen said, is what needs to be examined in order to help service providers and firms build that knowledge base.
Giving his expertise on the service sector, Head of the Secretariat Caricom Private Sector Organisation, Dr Patrick Antoine, said transforming the region into a ‘Services Value Hub’ is the Rubicon that must be crossed together.
Antoine indicated that there is a need for an ‘orange economy’ in the region which includes “cultural industries, creative industries, leisure industries, entertainment industries, content industries, copyright protected industries, the cultural economy, and the creative economy.”
He also noted that supporting the new service hub economy includes:
—Policy Reform Strategy (Trade, tax, and financing reforms to policies that encourage and facilitate investment and expansion in services industries).
—Partnering with the public and private sectors in terms of policy investment and capacity-building (case of Jamaica);
—Market and statistics development strategy (Developing and supporting services statistics development);
Antoine highlighted that achieving a knowledge services hub means that the following must be put in place;
—Harmonisation of legislative and regulatory framework in Caricom;
—Freedom of movement of professional services;
—Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) for market access for service professionals;
—Regulatory framework for increased cross-border trade;
—Single ICT space; and
—Single Registration of IP Statistics Information.