WHO WE ARE

As one of the frontline Ministries within the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) is leading the drive to position Trinidad and Tobago as a manufacturing base, and the business, trade, and financial hub of the Americas.

The Ministry’s core responsibility is to grow trade, business and investment, particularly through driving the non-energy sectors of the economy. As the pivotal agency for trade promotion and development, MTI manages and coordinates the trade process to ensure access to international markets for companies located here.

This is closely tied to another critical mandate — the aggressive development of business and industry. In this regard, MTI is formulating more appropriate industrial and services

policies, designed to enhance the capability of the local industrial sector to compete in the global marketplace.

Much of MTI’s activities are geared towards creating a facilitatory and supportive environment for business, especially through developing the most appropriate legislative framework to support business and investment activities. MTI is also responsible for stimulating domestic and foreign investment and is working to upgrade the entire framework for attracting investment — the lifeblood of industrial activity.

MTI conducts its affairs and provides required services with the highest regard and esteem for all clients and customers. The Ministry’s stakeholders are located within Trinidad & Tobago, as well as regionally and internationally, and are drawn from government circles, the private sector, and civil society.

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THE MINISTER

Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon was appointed Minister of Trade and Industry on September 11th, 2015

Senator Gopee-Scoon has previously served in Government as the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2007 to 2010. She was first elected as Member of Parliament for Point Fortin in November of 2007, a post she held up to May 2015.

Senator Gopee-Scoon is a graduate of the University of the West Indies, with a B.Sc. in Public Administration and Law. She possesses an LLB (Hons.) from the University of London and an MBA from Anglia Ruskin University, UK.

Mrs. Gopee-Scoon’s career includes experience in the banking sector, having held various managerial positions in banks throughout Trinidad from 1982 to 1996, including Republic Bank, Worker’s Bank and Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago Limited. She has garnered extensive business experiences as a Director of family companies.

An avid art collector, she also enjoys a game of scrabble and has an appreciation for the Caribbean and its culture.

Her personal interests extend to the deepening of Caribbean integration and the harnessing of mutually beneficial interests.

PERMANENT SECRETARY (Ag.)

Mr. Norris Herbert

As the former Director of Trade, he led a team responsible for, among other things, development and management of market access for our exporters; conducting trade negotiations; identifying trade opportunities and developing strategies for their exploitation and identifying, managing our obligations under major multilateral and bilateral trade agreements, in particular our relationship with the WTO and communicating with stakeholders.

He previously held the post of Assistant Director, Trade Promotion and Development at MTI, where his portfolio included responsibility for World Trade Organization (WTO), African-Caribbean-Pacific/European Union (ACP-EU) Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Bilateral Trade Agreements.

Mr. Herbert has over 24 years experience in the public service, previously at the Ministry of Works and Transport and later on at MTI.  He is a graduate of the University of the West Indies, with a Masters Degree in Management and Implementation of Development Projects from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST).

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DEPUTY PERMANENT SECRETARY (Ag.)

Ms. Karlene Roach

DIRECTORS

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MR. RANDALL KARIM

Mr. Karim came to this new post having served as a Trade Specialist at MTI for the last five years. At that time he had primary responsibility for coordinating Trinidad and Tobago’s participation in the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and WTO negotiations.  During his tenure he also served on a number of Cabinet appointed committees tasked with developing trade-related policies for Trinidad and Tobago.

Mr. Karim  leads a team whose responsibilities will include significant research, monitoring and evaluation; assessment of trade, business and investment policy performance against measurable outcomes, provision of data for the development of national strategies for export, investment promotion and business development; facilitating the development of a supporting legislative framework; and development of projects in keeping with the Ministry’s strategic objectives.

Mr. Karim holds a Bachelor’s Degree, an Msc in Economics and an MBA from the University of the West Indies. He is also a graduate of the Executive Program, John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Massachusetts, USA.

Mr. Karim currently holds the position of Director, Policy & Strategy.

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MR. WAYNE PUNNETTE

A stalwart of MTI’s senior management corps for many years and highly regardedfor his technical competence in business, government and professional circles, Wayne Punnette virtually requires no introduction.

An economist by training, Mr. Punnette is a University of the West Indies (UWI) graduate who has had extensive experience in trade, business development, the development of industry at small and medium levels and macro-policy formulation. He also holds a post graduate diploma from UWI in Management Studies

Mr. Punnette began his career as an economist with the Industrial Development Corporation, (IDC) in 1977. In 1992 he came to the Ministry of Trade and Industry as a Senior Policy Advisor, advising the Minister on trade and economic matters. After this first stint at MTI, he joined the Small Business Development Company (SBDC) as Deputy CEO.  From the SBDC he returned to MTI in 2001 as Assistant Director of Inward Investment and Industrial Development where he was in charge of investment policy, facilitation and promotion and industrial development. Following this, he was promoted to Director of Trade Promotion and Development, and in this post served as Acting PS on a number of occasions. In January 2009, Wayne was appointed Ag. Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry.

Mr. Punnette currently holds the position of Director, Investment.