Last update: 06-Dec-2013 8:12 am
Friday, December 06, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Bharath: Banks put low priority on export lending
Export lending is a low priority for banks, Trade Minister Vasant Bharath revealed recently. He said banks have raised the minimum lending amount in some cases, making it harder for small firms to export. “Thus, most exporters now work with export development agencies who act as a mediator for obtaining financing from international banks,” he told participants at the second in the series of Keys to Trade and Export Financing seminars held Friday at the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Westmoorings.
The Eximbank, exporTT Ltd and TTFree Zones are on a drive to collaborate with multiple stakeholders to create an awareness of the unique financing opportunities for trade and export offered by Eximbank and the services of the State Agencies under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment’s purview. Bharath explained: “In the Caribbean region, export financing programmes are widely Government-led, especially in the cases of Barbados, Jamaica and here at home in Trinidad and Tobago.”
“Eximbank whose mantra is to “empower exporters for the future”, provides among others, exporter credit insurance schemes, which cover the exporter against commercial and political risks, post shipment financing, pre-shipment financing, working capital guarantee programme and access to short-term working capital.”
The minister added: “After many years of talk, the Trade Ministry is leading the charge to transform T&T’s business environment through promoting investment and seeking to expand market access for our local goods and services as evident by the recent signing of bilateral trade agreements with Panama and Guatemala and we are actively seeking new markets in the Americas and elsewhere.”
He emphasised the integral role of all state agencies and urged Eximbank officials to develop a portfolio of products that are essential and important to exporters, offering attractive rates that demonstrate a priority for export facilitation and promotion. In addition, the minister said exporTT must ensure that local businesses are export-ready to capitalize on opportunities and the TTFree Zones must have the ability to attract and keep foreign and local direct investment in T&T.
In delivering a presentation on the TTFree Zones, Keith Chin, CEO, said some of the key fiscal incentives being offered to investors were exemptions on corporation taxes, duties, levies and VAT. “Given their new mandate TTFree Zones is refocusing and reshaping their services to attract and keep investors in the local market.” he said.
Christopher Lewis, CEO, exporTT Ltd, outlined the services offered by the agency, its priority sectors and markets of interest and the initiatives being undertaken to provide opportunities for export for local manufacturers. Brian Awang, CEO, EximbBank said: “Forums and collaborations such as this will inform exporters of the resources and services available to equip them in becoming export-ready and anticipates that the various initiatives and improved service offerings will aid in doubling exports in the next five years.”
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