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Amcham seeks stronger trade ties in 2014

Friday, December 27, 2013
Varuna Kuarsingh, left, vice-president/regional CFO, Pan American Life Insurance Group T&T, with Sandra Welch-Farrell, CEO of Sandra Welch-Farrell and Company, Hugh Howard, president, AmCham and Miguel Sierra, CEO and managing director, PALIG Caribbean. PHOTO: SEAN NERO

The American Chamber of Commerce T&T (AmChamTT) has completed a strategic exercise to be rolled out in the New Year that will guide its efforts to stimulate free and fair trade, as well as investment initiatives within the Americas, and the wider Caribbean.



Amcham president Hugh Howard told the T&T Guardian his organisation will strive to deepen and broaden its relationships with the United States, Latin America and Caricom, leveraging its strong linkages with the US Embassy, the US Chamber of Commerce and the Association of American Chambers of Commerce of Latin America (AACCLA) and other reputable organisations.


He said this was part of a deliberate effort to build awareness of trade and investment opportunities throughout the hemisphere for the benefit of AmCham members and T&T. 



“It is instructive to note that we have already engaged top officials of the Latin American embassies and other diplomatic missions in T&T with a view to developing working relationships with them in order to better understand and to align the interests and opportunities of their respective countries with those of T&T and of course share information about AmCham and ways in which we can work collaboratively in our mutual interest,” he said.


Howard said Amcham’s participation in the initial round of a partial scope agreement with El Salvador back in October, along with other private sector organisation and a high level delegation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs meant its representatives are now poised to play a significant role in the next round in January. The expectation is that such agreements will create the right environment for mutually beneficial opportunities to foster trade and investment, while boosting AmCham’s ability to represent the interests of its members.


Young people in business will remain high on Amcham’s list of priorities in the New Year. Howard said his organisation’s National Youth Productivity Forum (NYPF) now in its fifth year, which has been voted the most creative AmCham programme among 23 other competing member chambers of commerce of the AACCLA, will return. The initiative was also cited by an international publication the Centre for International Private Enterprise, as a commendable youth development undertaking.


Howard said the NYPF, which is designed to nurture business and government leaders of tomorrow, emphasises sustainable development through training and development. He said this was done by exposing secondary school students to critical thinking training, presentation skills, advocacy, research, innovation and entrepreneurship. 


“The model involves a discussion round in which topics of national and international import are debated by students from four schools in each of five education districts selected by AmCham, taking the respective positions of Government, business, labour and civil society, so that the attributes of collaboration, respect for all views and camaraderie are inculcated,” he said. In January when the project resumes students will discuss the topic, Crime and Security…Towards A More Productive T&T.


On the issue of health and safety in the work place, Howard said AmCham remains unswerving in its commitment to educate workers on this issue. He recalled the success of the 17th Annual HSSE Conference and Exhibition which took place in September. He said AmCham once again highlighted the importance of best practices in the sector as it relates to the economy and quality of life.


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