“Businesses from both Trinidad and Tobago and Belize can learn from one another and become stronger together.”
Trade and Industry Minister, Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon made this statement while delivering remarks at the Doing Business in Belize Seminar held in Belize on January 31, 2024. The Seminar commenced a series of activities planned during T&T’s Trade Mission to Belize over the period 30 January to 3 February, 2024.
During her remarks, Minister Gopee-Scoon identified Belize as a pivotal trading partner for Trinidad and Tobago within CARICOM, and referring to the close longstanding relationship between both countries, she described the trade mission as another milestone in their bilateral relations. She also pointed to the fact that Belize enjoys an ideal geographic location, which bridges the gap between the CARICOM region and Central America, positioning the country as an excellent destination for greater trade promotion and the development of transport and logistics.
Prime Minister of Belize and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, the Honourable John Briceno welcomed Minister Gopee-Scoon and the delegation to Belize. During his address Prime Minister Briceno recognised the close bond between both countries citing that Trinidad and Tobago, and CARICOM as a whole, had supported Belize’s drive for independence and the sovereignty of its territory. He said, “by collaborating in trade, investment and technological exchange, we can create a symbiotic relationship that will foster sustainable development and prosperity for both nations. There are numerous avenues to explore together, with each country bringing its strengths to the table.”
Trade between Trinidad and Tobago and Belize is governed by the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and is duty-free for products that qualify under the CARICOM Rules of Origin. For the period 2019 to 2023, Trinidad and Tobago maintained a favorable trade balance with Belize with the largest surplus recorded in 2022 of TT$ 89.5 million. In 2023, non-energy exports accounted for 86% of Trinidad and Tobago’s exports to Belize with the top export products including Urea, Cigarettes, Plastic-insulated copper, Fermented Beverages and Bottles for Soft Drinks.
Also referring to the principles underlying the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas which governs the trade relations between both countries, Minister Gopee-Scoon stated, “As CARICOM Member States, both Trinidad and Tobago and Belize are cognizant that a fully integrated and liberalized internal market will create favorable conditions for sustained, market-led production and it is in this spirit that activities such as these are essential to reinforce the existing relations with valued trading partners.”
The Honourable Francis Fonseca Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Education, Culture, Science and Technology, Dr Ramesh Ramdeen, CEO of the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA) and Ms Kim Aikman, CEO, Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry also addressed participants at the Seminar.
Among the companies represented on the trade mission to Belize are: Great Foods; Associated Brands Industries Limited; Sunshine Snacks; Charles Chocolate; Devon Biscuits; National Canners Limited; KC Candy; DSB Marketing Limited; Micro Milling Limited; VF Packaging Limited; Christle Limited; Massy Gas Products (Trinidad) Limited; Blue Waters Products Limited; Pepe’s Group Limited; Rojan Marketing Limited; Bricha Limited; RHS Marketing Limited; EXIMBANK; ExporTT; HADCO; Kaleidoscope Paints Limited; Lazuri Apparel Limited; Langston Roach Industries Limited; Asa Enterprises; Leisurely Travel & Tours.