Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee Scoon officially opened the China (Zhejiang)-Trinidad and Tobago Trade Fair on Friday 31 March, 2023 and welcomed a trade delegation from Zhejiang province, China. Minister Gopee-Scoon delivered remarks commemorating the occasion, indicating “while it is important to reinforce existing relationships…it is necessary to diversify those relationships in order to reduce risk and expand new trade and investment opportunities”.

The Minister acknowledged the strong Trinidad and Tobago-China economic relationship, and welcomed the opportunity to deepen these ties by building new linkages. She underscored the efforts of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to promote and facilitate trade and investment, and referred to two major economic milestones this year, namely the completion of the Phoenix Park Industrial Estate, which was as a result of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and the implementation of a new Special Economic Zones regime.

His Excellency Fang Qiu, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Trinidad and Tobago, was also present and reiterated the significance of the event, which “provides a platform for face-to-face communication” and opens a “new window for economic cooperation between both countries”. This was reinforced by Mr. Gao Bingxue, Director General of the Department of Commerce of Zhejiang and head of the delegation, who highlighted the over TT$1 billion in total trade between Trinidad and Tobago and Zhejiang in 2022.

In addition to products from one of China’s most prosperous regions, there were also several local items on display at the headquarters of First Caribbean Marketing Company (FCMC) in Trincity. The event also included the signing of a Cooperation Agreement between FCMC and Yiwu International Trade City, as well as presentations by invesTT and exporTT.

This event followed an earlier meeting on 29 March, in which the Minister and her team met with senior officials of the Orient International Business Group. The Group is responsible for the annual China International Import Expo, which serves as a critical platform through which locally-made products such as those from Trinidad and Tobago can enter the Chinese market.

Also in attendance were Mrs. Ayleen Alleyne-Ovid, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Industry; Mrs. Franka Costelloe, Chairperson, invesTT; Mr. Richard Young, Chairperson, Trinidad and Tobago International Financial Centre; Mr. Charles Cheng, Founder of First Caribbean Marketing Company; Dr. Ramesh Ramdeen, Chief Executive Officer, Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association; Mr. Dhanraj Harrypersad, General Manager, ExportTT; along with other key stakeholders.