Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry, together with His Excellency Fang Qiu, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and Ms. Tricia Coosal, President of the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association, toured the manufacturing facilities of Angostura Limited and Trinidad and Tobago Fine Cocoa Company Limited on Wednesday 4 May, 2022. During the tour, they gained insight into both companies’ manufacturing processes, as they seek to build capacity and develop new, innovative products, with the possibility of entering the Chinese market.

Speaking at Angostura Limited, Minister Gopee-Scoon noted that the visit was an opportunity to give the Chinese envoy an insight into Angostura Limited. While encouraging Angostura to expand its market reach with speciality products such as rum and bitters, the Trade Minister gave the assurance that the Government, through the Ministry of Trade and Industry and exporTT, stands ready to assist in penetrating Asia’s largest economy.

Mr. Terrence Bharath, Chairman Angostura Limited, in welcoming the delegation expressed appreciation for the confidence shown by the Government in the Angostura brand. He said, “this visit signifies a trading relationship we hope to grow with China as Angostura has many unique product offerings.” He noted that Angostura intends to continue to expand its trading relationship with countries around the world with its signature bitters and well-crafted rums.

At the Centeno operations of the Trinidad and Tobago Fine Cocoa Company (TTFCC), Director, Ashley Parasram spoke briefly on the collaboration between TTFCC, local farmers and the Cocoa Development Company of Trinidad and Tobago, to process beans sourced throughout Trinidad and Tobago into industrial products such as cocoa powder, cocoa nibs and cocoa mass. Mr. Parasram revealed the testing of a new exciting product which utilizes used cacao shells and also showcased innovative locally-sourced products, such as chocolate covered pineapple chow. Mr Parasram noted that his company is ready from an operational standpoint to export to China, but must work with local farmers to ensure that they can supply sufficient quantities.

Minister Gopee-Scoon commended Mr Parasram on the innovative products being introduced to the local market. She said, “The visit today shows China what is being done with the variety of cocoa that is well known across the globe. The infusion of Chinese liquor and the use of local fruits with chocolate to create niche products show the potential for innovation and value-added, and open up the opportunities for new export markets and increased foreign exchange earnings”.

His Excellency Fang Qiu, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic Trinidad and Tobago, noted that China and Trinidad and Tobago share a long history and strong trading relationship. Referencing T&T’s successful participation at the 4th Annual China International Import Expo (CIIE) in 2021 where a wide range of high quality products were on display inclusive of rum, cocoa and spices, Ambassador Qui expressed confidence that China’s market presented significant opportunities and potential for T& T’s exporters.