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From red tape to red carpet
Trade Minister Vasant Bharath says his ministry has undertaken a quite transformation that will make it much easier for investors, whether local or foreign, to do business and make investments in T&T.
Speaking on Tuesday night in the lobby of the lavishly-appointed Grade Hyatt in downtown Beijing, Bharath said the bureaucracy involved in doing business in T&T has been a major obstacle to the country’s real and sustainable development.
Bharath is one of several ministers, top officials and state company directors and executives who have accompanied Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on the mission to China. The other ministers here are Foreign Minister Winston Dookeran and Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine.
Earlier on Tuesday, Bharath signed agreements for loans from China’s Ex-Im Bank that could facilitate US$750 million worth of investment by Chinese companies in constructing a new port in La Brea and seven industrial parks across the country.
Bharath said his ministry has spent a great deal of time removing the red tape that has prevented business from flowing freely.
The ministry is addressing the problem of red tape by attempting to deal with the structural flaws in certain key service-delivery agencies, such as Customs and Excise, the Board of Inland Revenue and the National Insurance Board.
But more than that, Bharath said, the Ministry of Trade has refocused the mandates of many of those agencies, as it was his diagnosis that in the past many of those agencies “have acted, not necessarily willingly, in a manner that has prohibited business from taking place.”