Washington DC–Business and political leaders from the Caribbean and Central America have been told of plans to significantly boost T&T's ranking in the World Bank's Doing Business Report. At present T&T is ranked 66th out of 189 countries but Trade Minister Vasant Bharath said the target is to get the country into the top ten.
The minister announced that bold target when he delivered the closing keynote address at the 37th Annual Conference on the Caribbean and Central America on Friday in Washington, DC.Bharath said the number of days it takes to set up a business in T&T has moved from 43 days to three days due to new legislation and Cabinet has approved a six-member Ministerial Committee to work on ensuring that more is done to improve the ease of doing business.
The minister said invesTT, the country's investment promotion agency, is a one-stop-shop for anyone interested in doing business in T&T and he invited participants to visit the agency's website for a taste of the many incentives and opportunities available.He also said the ministry's new motto, From Red Tape to the Red Carpet, underscores the commitment to developing an enabling environment to do business.
The minister told delegates at the conference that T&T was "the gateway to the Americas" due primarily to its strategic location below the hurricane belt, its skilled workforce, low unemployment rate and low energy costs. He said the country's strong telecommunications system, competitive cost structure and high per capita income combine to make it an ideal location for investors and businesspersons.
Bharath also spoke about T&T's "open, free market economy and a long history of being committed to democratic principles, proper business practices and respect for property and profit rights". He said key sectors earmarked for aggressive expansion by the Government include financial services, information and communications technology (ICT), tourism, creative industries, agro-processing and maritime industries.
He added that the people of T&T "are harnessing the full potential of information technology; aggressively improving our skill sets as well as the work ethic of our labour force; and creating a conducive business environment"'.
The 37th Annual Conference was hosted by Caribbean-Central American Action (CCAA) at the headquarters of the Organization of American States and the US Chamber of Commerce last Thursday and Friday. It featured discussions on attracting investment finance in the Caribbean and Central America, Europe in the Americas and transportation infrastructure.