Trinidad launches new project to boost competitiveness in global marketplace
Trinidad & Tobago has launched a project aimed at building a quality culture in the oil-rich twin-island republic.
The initiative is being facilitated with support from the European Union and Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank, CDB, and will allow for both organisations engaging a wide cross section of industry, with the aim of improving the quality of goods and services being produced and exported.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry’s ‘Building a Quality Culture in Trinidad and Tobago: Implementation of the National Quality Policy’ project, has been launched through the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards, TTBS, and will support a series of activities contributing to the overall competitiveness of goods and services produced for export.
It is focused on food and beverage manufacturing, business, professional and information communications technology services, agriculture and agro-processing.
The project will provide a wide range of improvements such as increasing public awareness and understanding of the national quality policy, as well as creating deeper consumer understanding of quality concepts and an appreciation for the importance of quality in their daily lives.
CDB Director of Projects Daniel Best said the project envisions an environment where citizens understand and demand goods and services of the highest standard, with a business sector producing what these informed consumers demand.
“The trickle-down effect of this paradigm is a shift in the country’s capacity to produce commodities exceeding international standards ... this resulting increased quality will better position Trinidad and Tobago’s goods and services in the global marketplace,” he added.
Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon, who paid particular attention to the manufacturing sector, said manufacturers, in particular, will be encouraged to improve the quality of their goods to become more competitive, resulting in increased demand, increased revenue and export earnings. “Global purchasers require products and services that meet rigorous and advanced standards of quality to ensure that such products and services integrate flawlessly with others in the supply chain,” and successful implementation will “allow manufacturers and service suppliers to attach themselves to global value chains as they become versed in global best practices,” she said at the ceremony.
The EU ambassador to Trinidad & Tobago, Peter Cavendish, said it is expected that with the execution of this €143,000 project, there will be enhanced public awareness of the importance of quality management standards and principles.
He noted that this enhanced national awareness could lead to a reduction in the technical barriers to trade, lower costs to trade internationally, increase the competitiveness of local goods and services in the international market, and contribute to the sustainable economic development of Trinidad and Tobago.
CEO of the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association, Dr Ramesh Ramdeen, expressed optimism with the project and its proposed outcomes, as this would contribute to the sustainability of the manufacturing sector and an increase in the quality and quantity of raw materials for production.
The country’s manufacturing sector is currently comprised of a high concentration of small and medium enterprises, accounts for over 50,000 employees, and contributes nine per cent of the country’s gross domestic product.
Desmond John, director of development cooperation at the Cariforum directorate, noted that the importance of the project within the wider regional trade and economic integration landscape.
“The objective of the Caribbean regional development agenda is to strengthen Caribbean economies and advance towards the integration of our economies into the world economy,” said John. “Integral to achieving this objective is strengthening our regional integration and development processes, particularly the Caricom Single Market and Economy,” he said.
TTBS Executive Director Derek Luk Pat said that the two-year project would augur well for the entrenchment and prioritising of high quality and standards in all spheres of industry.
The project activities include a sensitisation and awareness campaign for targeted groups and the general population, a quality intelligence, training and capacity-building programme for technical staff and stakeholders to support the implementation of T&T’s national quality policy, which serves as the blueprint for the country to improve its trading environment and position businesses to compete on quality.