President of InvesTT, Racquel Moses, says the nation's investment promotion agency is hoping to use next week's mission to Beijing, Shanghai to encourage companies in that country to invest in T&T's non-energy sector.
InvesTT is leading a delegation of more than 30 entrepreneurs and business executives who are going to China to investigate the possibility of opening up new markets for T&T goods or for new suppliers for imported inputs.
While in China, Moses says she will be looking to lure Chinese companies to invest in T&T.
"We are hoping to sign several memoranda of understanding with some Chinese firms regarding investment opportunities in T&T."
The main thrust of the investment promotion agency in China will be to promote investment in a combined solar park, which Moses estimates could attract up to US$1.8 billion in new investment.
Moses says the proposal is for the co-location of four discrete yet conjoined manufacturing facilities, whose ultimate output would be solar panels for export to the regions and the hemisphere.
The facilities are a polysilicon plant, a metallurgical silicon plant, a , a float glass plant as well as a photovoltaic plant.
Moses said the plants will be located next to each other and will provide value-adding inputs along the solar panel production chain. She said that one-third of the output of the polysilicon plant will be used in the metallurgical silicon plant and one-third of the output of that plant goes to the photovoltaic plant along with the float glass plant to manufacture solar panels.
Potentially, InvesTT is looking for four separate investors who will be responsible for the discrete plants and while she is not discounting the possibility of T&T investment, the solar panel complex is likely to require investors with industry experience, established markets who are looking to expand.
InvesTT has already determined that T&T provides a unique proposition for companies in the solar sector and its analysis has indicated that the country is in the top second percentile in terms of cost of production for each of the four plants.