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.
Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon was appointed Minister of Trade and Industry on September 11th, 2015
Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon was re-appointed Minister of Trade and Industry on August 19th, 2020. She has been a Member of Parliament since 2007 and previously served as Minister of Foreign Affairs.
In her second term as Minister of Trade and Industry, she aims to continue building upon and expanding programmes initiated in the last five years in an effort to improve the export capacity of the local manufacturing sector and position Trinidad and Tobago as the business and trade hub of the Caribbean. She will also continue to lead the charge towards stimulating domestic and foreign investments while implementing policies to enhance the global competitiveness of Trinidad and Tobago. She believes in continuous stakeholder engagement to ensure participation in the growth and development of all sectors for a sustainable and vibrant economy.
Her personal interests extend to the deepening of Caribbean integration and she believes in and is committed to equal opportunities for personal growth, self-expression and participation in the development process of Trinidad and Tobago, for all citizens.
Ms. Frances Seignoret
Ms Frances Seignoret was appointed the acting Permanent Secretary in 2016, and was confirmed Permanent Secretary in 2020. She has over 20 years experience in the Public Service. Ms Seignoret’s most recent appointments were at the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs where she served in various capacities and also acted as Permanent Secretary.
PERMANENT SECRETARY (Ag.)
Mrs. Ayleen Alleyne-Ovid
Mrs. Ayleen Alleyne-Ovid, is the Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Industry, and assumed office at the Ministry in July 2020. She has an extensive career of over 25 years in the Public Service. Most of her public sector career has been at the Ministry of Planning and Development, where she has served at various levels and in several departmental areas, her last appointment being Deputy Permanent Secretary. Mrs. Ovid has a keen professional interest in Project Management, Development Policy and Innovation.
DEPUTY PERMANENT SECRETARY (Ag.)
Ms. Karlene Roach
Ms. Roach has been in public service for more close to three decades. Her most recent posts involved work in public sector planning focused on the development of infrastructure for the small business sector, national strategic development planning and operationalization, technical cooperation and socio-economic policy and planning. Her expertise also spans developing and managing work programmes and coordinating the interventions of regional and international development institutions. At the Ministry she has strategic oversight for operational and other areas as delegated by the Permanent Secretary.
CHIEF TECHNICAL AND OPERATIONS ADVISOR
Mr. Randall Karim
Mr. Karim leads a team whose responsibilities include strategic planning, policy formulation, financial management, monitoring and evaluation, implementation of business reforms and implementation of projects in keeping with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago’s Development Agenda.
Mr. Karim holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Management; Master’s Degree in Economics and Master of Business Administration (Distinction) from the University of the West Indies. He also holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Degree from the University of London and Postgraduate Legal Practice Course (LPC) from De Montfort University, Leicester, UK (Distinction). He is an Attorney at Law and graduate of the Executive Program, John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Massachusetts, USA. He is also a certified Project Management Professional (P.M.P.).
During his tenure at the MTI, he has served on several Cabinet appointed Committees and on the Board of Directors of state agencies tasked with implementing trade and investment-related policies for Trinidad and Tobago.
Mr. Karim has served in the MTI for over nineteen years including in the capacities of Trade Specialist and Director, Policy and Strategy. He is currently the Chief Technical and Operations Advisor of the Ministry and provides strategic support to the Permanent Secretary and Minister.
HEADS OF DIRECTORATES
DIRECTOR, TRADE FACILITATION (Ag)
Mrs. Susan Singh-Seerattan oversees the Trade Directorate which is one of four technical directorates in the MTI. The Trade Directorate is responsible for the representation and implementation of international trade policies, measures and interactions with foreign organizations. It also supports the growth and development of export-led trade, particularly in the non-energy sector.
Mrs. Singh-Seerattan has been employed with the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) for over twenty-nine (29) years, and has a wealth of knowledge and experience in trade and business development matters, having held the following positions at the Ministry: Economist I, Economist II, Senior Economist, Manager Alliances, and Director Business Development. Her educational background and qualifications include a BSc. in Economics and a Post Graduate Diploma and MSc. in International Relations from the UWI, St. Augustine campus. Mrs. Seerattan also possesses various certifications from the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Commonwealth Secretariat, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in areas such as; trade in goods, trade in services, trade negotiations, trade promotion, regional trade agreements and trade facilitation.
Mr. Maharaj leads a team of professionals responsible for formulating and implementing investment policies and measures focused on growing the priority sectors, increasing both domestic and foreign direct investment inflows and creating new job opportunities, which all positively contribute to the country’s macroeconomic performance.
Mr. Maharaj holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics (Specialisation) (Hons) and a Master’s Degree in Economics from the University of the West Indies. He also has extensive training from international institutions such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Mr. Maharaj has served at the MTI for over fourteen years in the capacities of Senior Investment Specialist and Senior Economist. Some of the major projects during his tenure includes:
- the development of Trinidad and Tobago’s Investment Policy Statement;
- the Caribbean Investment Forum;
- the annual Trade and Investment Convention;
- the negotiation of Reciprocal Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements with Central American countries;
- the development of an investment framework, with a monitoring mechanism, for tracking foreign direct and local investments; and
- the monitoring of agencies directly aligned to the Ministry of Trade and Industry that perform investment functions such as: InvesTT Limited, Evolving Technologies and Enterprise Development Company Limited (eTecK) and the Trinidad and Tobago Free Zones Company Limited.
He is currently Trinidad and Tobago’s lead negotiator for Reciprocal Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements and a Member of the Permanent Double Taxation Treaty Team.