Newly-appointed United States Ambassador to T&T Joseph Mondello agrees that this country needs investment. However, he pointed out that what investors want more than anything else—especially when looking for new markets—are transparency, stability, and predictability.
“There are many things we can do together in these areas to improve Trinidad and Tobago’s investment environment. Already, the United States is a strong partner in the fight to reduce widespread crime and improve stability,” he said.
”In the last five years alone, the United States has invested nearly US $10 million to build law enforcement and judicial capacity.
“In addition, we support the Government’s work on new procurement legislation and we look forward to its prompt implementation. Transparency in public procurement will foster good faith in the Government’s acquisition decisions,”
Mondello spoke yesterday at his first public event since arriving in the country, which was AmCham TT’s 22nd HSSE Conference and Exhibition at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain.
Noting that the relationship between AmCham and the US Embassy is strong, Mondello said,: “Since my nomination, I have spoken with many people of Trinidad and Tobago Quite a few tell me that what the country needs from the United States, more than anything else, is investment—and I completely agree.
“Unlike other countries, the United States does not have state-owned enterprises that I can direct to invest in Trinidad and Tobago, and that’s a good thing: For one, firms owned and backed by governments are incompatible to free markets.
“As we have seen time after time throughout the world, state-owned enterprises invest abroad in ways that are clearly not transparent, clearly not market-driven, and clearly not designed to benefit the people of the countries in which they invest.”
He noted that whether in the United States or in other countries, the private enterprise that fuel American investment is bound by high ethical and accountability standards. However,
American firms are constantly looking for new investment opportunities.
“Their decisions are limited only by reasonable projections of reward given the balance of risk. Although we as a Government cannot direct investment your way, what the United States can do is partner with the Government and civil society of Trinidad and Tobago to improve the investment climate.
“Things like corruption, lack of transparency, and needless bureaucracy are all factors that can make potential investment opportunities unattractive, which stifles economic development,” Mondello emphasised.
He said there are other behaviours that contribute to a climate that’s attractive to investment, including maintaining a culture of safety, harnessing the power of technology, improving cybersecurity and adequately planning to mitigate the impact of environmental disasters.
“Progress on these issues in the weeks, months, and years ahead will undoubtedly benefit Trinidad and Tobago and help make the country a place in which more American firms will want to invest,” he added.