The T&T Coalition of Service Industries (TTCSI) is committed to doing its part to take local businesses globally.
In about three weeks the organisation will launch a drive to grow this country’s export of services capacity.
CEO Vashti Guyadeen outlined details of the TTCSI’s “Doing business with the World” series scheduled to commence on March 29.
She noted that over the period March to September 2023, the TTCSI will host a series of webinars highlighting information on doing business in 28 countries.
These countries were selected based on research conducted by the TTCSI in 2020 to 2022 and incorporates the priority markets of the 22 firms under the Gateway to Trade Export accelerator programme.
The series will include a week of activities on a particular country and will include a cultural dimension where the cuisine and entertainment of the specific country are highlighted—all in a vein to demonstrate the scope and depth of the services sector, Guyadeen told the Business Guardian.
Focus will also be placed on connecting firms to buyers across the globe as well as facilitating match-making and joint ventures between the firms.
B2B activity will be facilitated using the TTCSI’s National Services Exporters Portal which in a short span is evolving into an International Services Hub.
The Dominican Republic is one such market identified by local services firms and providers which can be a lucrative business venture.
Additionally, Guyadeen said based on that country’s success in tourism and nearshoring, the TTCSI looks forward to exploring opportunities.
Also, she further explained that the coalition of services industries in the Dominican Republic reached out to the TTCSI in 2021/2022 to learn about the workings of its member, the T&T Midwives Association.
“This represents another area of collaboration,” Guyadeen said, adding that it will able be ideal in helping to break the language barriers and focus on areas of mutual interest which can further propel business.
The Business Guardian also reached out to the Ambassador of the Dominican Republic Wellington Bencosme who praised the TTCSI on what he described as a “very relevant and proactive initiative.”
He explained the partnership will entail the DR working with Government and private sector, through partnerships, towards a common goal of deepening commercial relations between both countries and the Caribbean region, to generate increased opportunities for citizens.
“The sharing of experiences and relevant information is an invaluable exercise, and as it pertains to services, which represents 60 per cent of the economy and 83 per cent of the workforce.
“The Dominican Republic is eager to share our success stories in areas such as tourism, business and professional services, information and communication technology, and cultural and creative sector,” Bencosme said.
He emphasised that tourism is a pillar of the DR’s economy, which represents a third of its growth of GDP, averaging five per cent, double the regional average, with the arrival of 7.2 million tourists by air in 2022, thus reaching a “historic record”, and “unprecedented” arrival of 1.3 million cruise passengers through the different ports of the country, for a total 8.5 million visitors, and generating US$8,406.5 million.
In recognition of its leading status as a resilient destination despite the pandemic, in 2022 the Dominican Republic was the focus of the first UN World Tourism Organisation Investment Guidelines publication, highlighting the favourable conditions for foreign direct investment and its value proposition as one of the most attractive destinations in Central America and the Caribbean, and a regional tourism leader.
Emphasising the role of the services sector Guyadeen maintained it can be key in boosting diversification efforts.
The TTCSI is convinced that a whole of government approach is necessary to develop the enabling environment for services exporters to thrive.
According to Guyadeen, the sector employed over 85 per cent of the labour force in 2017 and contributed 58 per cent to real GDP in 2018 but only accounted for an estimated eight per cent of export earnings in 2017.
She added the sector therefore, has significant scope for growth in export generation, noting that developments in information and communication technology (ICT) have made it much easier to perform services for clients anywhere in the world.
However, as the data shows, T&T has not been able to maximise service exports.
Guyadeen said to address the challenges of increasing service exports several factors must be taken into consideration.
For instance, she advised policies must be crafted to facilitate the expansion of services exports which can be difficult given the lack of current disaggregated data preventing a thorough analysis of the current status of services exports, making it difficult to develop suitable policies.
Also, Guyadeen said export promotion agencies do not have enough information to properly promote service providers and prepare them to exploit suitable markets.
Thirdly, she said many service providers do not have a platform to showcase their work.
She added that the National Services Exporters Portal built by the TTCSI in September 2022 will go a long way in tracking the performance of the firms registered on the portal.
In September 2021, the TTCSI began an intensive export accelerator programme called Gateway to Trade to develop the export capacity of roughly 80 service firms with demonstrated export potential. These firms were drawn from business and events tourism, business and professional services and energy services.
About “Doing business with the World”
Scheduled launch at Hilton on April 5 or 10, 2023
Webinars will be hosted every fortnight commencing March 29 including “Doing Business with Jamaica.”
Twenty-eight countries will be covered based on geographic region.
These include Doing Business in Latin America (nine countries), Doing Business in the Caribbean and South America (six countries), Doing Business in Europe (three countries), Doing Business in Africa (two countries) Doing Business in Asia (four countries) Doing Business in North America (three countries) and Doing Business in the United Kingdom.