Ian K Ramdhanie, MSc,
The T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce yesterday expressed concern about the damage that could be done to T&T’s trading relations by reports of illegal drugs being found in shipments from this country. In a statement yesterday, the Chamber said it could “affect our ability to do legal business with the international community”. “We, however, respect that the law enforcement officers of both the United States and T&T have their investigations to complete, in the case of the $.6b cocaine find, and so we will await word on the conclusion of these investigations,” the Chamber said.
The business organisation said Government had recently concluded re-negotiation of a Double Tax Treaty Agreement with Germany to foster deeper business relationships and promote economic development. Chamber officials met with German Embassy officials last week and they expressed concern about the level of crime and security within T&T. The statement continued: “This week, the Chamber is part of two delegations which are engaging in bilateral trade agreements between T&T-El Salvador and a Caricom/Canada Free Trade Agreement respectively—we believe that the issue of illegal substances originating from T&T shipments will certainly be a concern to our North and Central America neighbours, and it may hamper our trading relationships with them in the medium to long term.
“We agree with the T&T Manufacturers Association that this is an issue which can hurt our thriving manufacturing sector and the reputation of T&T. Our local manufacturers have worked hard over many years to develop and maintain their international image and have built an excellent reputation for their products in foreign markets. The Chamber would not like to see the continuance of any actions by any parties which could cause irreparable damage to their hard work.” The Chamber said it is aware that the Ministry of Trade is working with the various business organisations and looking at improving procedures and processes for international shipments. “The Chamber will continue to be engaged with the ministry, other facilitating arms of government and members of the business community in this regard,” it said.