TRADE NEGOTIATIONS

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO-EI SALVADOR PARTIAL TRADE SCOPE AGREEMENT

Trinidad and Tobago and El Salvador negotiated a Partial Scope Trade Agreement between October 2013 and August 2015. The Agreement provides for trade in goods; cooperation on non-tariff measures (Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and Technical Barriers to Trade) and future liberalization of services trade between Trinidad and Tobago and El Salvador. A Bilateral Investment Treaty was negotiated simultaneously.

Although El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America geographically, it had the third largest economy in the region in 2014. Trinidad and Tobago has similar agreements with Panama and Guatemala (hyperlink the pages)

This trade agreement will grant Trinidad and Tobago access to a market of approximately 6.1 million persons in El Salvador. Trinidad and Tobago’s exporters will experience reduced duties or no tariffs when exporting a specific list of goods to El Salvador, which includes fish, cassava, watermelons, curry, chewing gum, pepper sauce, lubricating oils & greases and iron & steel products.  Importers can benefit from reduced or eliminated duties on selected products from El Salvador such as salted fish, chocolates, cereals, juices, medications, toiletries, disposable cutlery, bags & suitcases and clothing & footwear.

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO-GUATEMALA PARTIAL TRADE SCOPE AGREEMENT

Signed by both parties on February 6, 2015, the Trinidad and Tobago – Guatemala Partial Scope Trade Agreement (PSTA) aims to enhance economic relations between both countries through the expansion of trade in goods and services. In terms of trade in goods, the product coverage is limited but varied.

Upon implementation of the Agreement, local manufacturers in Trinidad and Tobago will benefit from preferential rates on 135 products. Trinidad and Tobago exporters can sell products such as agro-processed goods, – curry, chocolate, guava jams & jellies, peanut butter – agricultural products, hydraulic fluids, toilet or facial stock, building bricks, tiles and aluminum doors, at a duty free rate to a market of 15.4 million persons. On the import side, Trinidad and Tobago granted Guatemala preferential rates for 144 products. Imports of agricultural products such as beef, cheese, flowers and vegetables, agro-processed foods and manufactured items – plastic sheets, clothing and apparel products imitation jewelry, freezers – will cost Trinidad and Tobago traders much less. Annex C includes the rules of origin to which exports must conform in order to benefit from the preferences granted by the Parties, in Annexes A and B.

Besides tariff reduction, the Agreement sets the stage for trade in services. Trinidad and Tobago and Guatemala agreed to progressively negotiate the liberalization of trade in services in areas of common economic interest and to identify mechanisms for the development of trade in services at the bilateral level. The provisions of the Agreement also seek to eliminate other barriers to trade. For example, it promotes technical cooperation and exchange of information among regulatory agencies to understand the respective systems of both countries as well as a forum to discuss trade problems related to standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures. Disputes, if any can be settled through procedures laid out in Annex D.

Section 3 of the PSTA speaks of Trade Facilitation whereby both countries should have procedures with regard to the trading of goods and services so that there may be a reduction in costs for importers and exporters and also entry procedures/requirements are made to be transparent to ensure predictability for importers and exporters alike.

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO-PANAMA PARTIAL TRADE SCOPE AGREEMENT

The Ministry of Trade and Industry is in the process of revamping its website and as such the Trade Directorate is required to provide information to update the website’s content. In this light, the Trade Related Issues Unit of the Trade Directorate has requested from the Goods Unit a submission on Trinidad and Tobago’s trade agreements. The following has been prepared on the Trinidad and Tobago- Panama Partial Scope Trade Agreement.

On October 13, 2013, the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the Republic of Panama signed the Trinidad and Tobago- Panama Partial Scope Trade Agreement, to promote mutually beneficial bilateral trade in goods and services. In terms of trade in goods, two hundred and thirty (230) products from Trinidad and Tobago were granted preferential access into the Panamanian market while Trinidad and Tobago has extended preferential treatment to two hundred and fifty-eight (258) Panamanian goods. On February 20, 2013 the CARICOM Secretariat certified the TT-Panama agreement. The TT-Panama agreement product coverage is wide ranging inclusive of beverages, dairy products, cement and paper products.

His Excellency, President Anthony Carmona gave assent to the Trinidad and Tobago – Panama Partial Scope Trade Agreement on April 1, 2015 via Act No. 5 of 2015. Trinidad and Tobago’s trade related institutions are preparing for the implementation of the Agreement.

Benefits

Upon implementation, Trinidad and Tobago exporters will have preferential access to a market of 3.6 million consumers, immediate duty free access for one hundred and fifty-nine (159) products originating from Trinidad and Tobago with a further annual reduction of duties off the remaining seventy-one (71) goods. Conversely, consumers in Trinidad and Tobago shall have access to an assortment of Panamanian goods ranging from fish products, food seasonings, articles of clothing, wood and roofing tiles.