New Project to Boost T&T’s Competitiveness in the Global Marketplace
(Caribbean Development Bank Press Release) Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), through the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS) has launched a project focused on building a Quality Culture in the country.
The initiative is being facilitated with support from the European Union (EU) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and will see 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 Building a Quality Culture in Trinidad and Tobago – Implementation of the National Quality Policy (NQP) Project will support a series of activities contributing to the overall competitiveness of goods and services produced for export. It’s focused on food and beverage manufacturing, business, professional and Information Communication 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’s Director of Projects Daniel Best indicated that “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.”
Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon who honed in on the manufacturing sector indicated that “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… successful implementation … will … allow manufacturers and service suppliers to attach themselves to global value chains as they become versed in global best practices.”
Emphasising this advantage, EU Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, Ambassador Peter Cavendish, suggested, “It is expected that with the execution of this EURO143,000 project there will be enhanced awareness amongst the public of the importance of quality management standards and principles.” He noted 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.
Dr Ramesh Ramdeen,TTMA’s Chief Executive Officer 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 SMEs, account for over 50,000 employees and contribute to 9% of the country’s GDP.
Mr Desmond John, Director Development Cooperation, CARIFORUM Directorate situated the project in the wider regional trade and economic integration landscape. He noted, “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. Integral to achieving this objective is strengthening our regional integration and development processes, particularly the CARICOM Single Market and Economy” he stated.
The TTBS Executive Director, Mr Derek Luk Pat, stated that the two-year project would augur well for the entrenchment of 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 and training and capacity building programme for technical staff and stakeholders to support the implementation of Trinidad and Tobago’s National Quality Policy. The NQP was also formulated with funding from the EU with CDBs support. The Policy outlines a framework and road map for the country to improve its trading environment to position businesses to be capable of competing on quality thereby increasing overall competitiveness.