Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry received a courtesy visit from His Excellency Pertti Ikonen, non-resident Ambassador of Finland to Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday 25 October, 2022. During the meeting, discussions focused on improving trade, investment and cooperation between both countries.
Trinidad and Tobago and Finland established diplomatic relations in 1972 and have since enjoyed cordial ties. Ambassador Ikonen was appointed as Ambassador to the Caribbean in 2019 and this was his first visit to Trinidad and Tobago. Minister Gopee-Scoon warmly welcomed him, along with his delegation, and expressed gratitude for the opportunity to engage in discussions on deepening trade relations between Finland and Trinidad and Tobago, as according to the Honourable Minister “whilst Trinidad and Tobago and Finland have already been doing business, we can do more”.
Minister Gopee-Scoon and Ambasasdor Ikonen discussed avenues for potential collaboration on a wide-range of trade-related opportunities, including exports of finished chocolates, alcohol and fish; plywood production; melamine production; wastewater management; capacity building for sustainable fisheries; and sargassum seaweed processing. The Minister underscored the strength of Trinidad and Tobago’s Manufacturing Industry and highlighted the country’s competitive edge through comparatively low energy costs and a highly educated workforce, geographical location, as well as export opportunities available through the country’s various trade agreements.
Digitisation was another key point of discussion, whereby, Ambassador Ikonen highlighted that in 2022, Finland ranked 1st out of the 27 European Union (EU) countries in the EU’s annual Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). The Minister further informed of the soon to be completed Phoenix Park Industrial Estate and welcomed Finnish businesses operating in the Manufacturing and Assembly, Logistics and Distribution, and ICT industries.
Trinidad and Tobago’s top export to Finland for the period January to September 2022 was Anhydrous Ammonia, valued at TT$56 Mn. For the same period, Trinidad and Tobago’s imports from Finland were valued at TT$28.6 Mn comprising a variety of products including multi-ply and coated paper, static converters, coniferous wood and powdered talc.
Both Parties agreed that ongoing dialogue and collaboration was needed to further bilateral cooperation in key economic areas.