Date: September 17th, 2021.
The diversification of our national economy remains one of the priority areas for the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).
As such, MTI, in collaboration with the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS) and exporTT Limited was pleased to host an Online Awareness Session for Labelling and Packaging of Pre-packaged Goods for Accessing the European Market, as part of its national strategy to achieve economic diversification, increase foreign exchange earnings and further penetrate export markets.
The three-day session ran from Tuesday 14th September to Thursday 16th September, 2021. Its objective was to build capacity for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in accessing information to enhance marketability of goods to the European market.
Speaking during the session was Director of Industry, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mr Michael James, who explained that, “the session is a key deliverable under a project undertaken by the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) with support from the German Development Agency (GIZ) which seeks to support the sustainable dissemination of information regarding the EU’s regulatory regime for product packaging and labelling.” Further, he underscored “the importance of today’s session is that it is geared towards the implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the CARIFORUM States and the European Union”.
Opening remarks were also delivered by Mr Crisen Maharaj, Manager, Capacity Building and Programme Financing, exporTT, highlighted that “this online awareness session could not be timelier since whenever the conversation swings in the direction of creating new exporters and supporting companies in increasing their exports, like this session has been designed to do, we are more than happy to help push such an initiative forward”.
In addition, Mr Derek Luk Pat, Executive Director, TTBS, noted that, “it is critical to ensure that products comply with the relevant labelling standards and regulations to safeguard the customer or end user and minimize the risks associated with counterfeited products which plays a significant role in illicit trade”.
During the session, local exporters were provided with crucial information that would better equip them to understand and navigate the regulatory requirements within the European Union (EU), as well as improve their ability to formulate products and services that meet the requirements for entry to the European market.
In attendance were exporters to the EU, companies intending on exporting to the EU, SMEs and other key stakeholders. Participants were exposed to a number of areas which are essential when exporting to the EU which included:
- Trends and consumption in the different markets;
- Sustainability and digital aspects of packaging and labelling
- How to access Business Intelligence Tools
- Key legislation related to food products, as well as non-food products, chemical products and cosmetics, and
During the session, MTI encouraged participants to take full advantage of its National Export Booster initiative which focuses on:
- Export promotion
- Accelerating internationalization
- Capacity Building
- Institutional strengthening
The awareness session served to highlight the Government of Trinidad and Tobago’s overall commitment to increasing exports, diversification, improving competitiveness, use of digital platforms for e-commerce and creating a conducive environment for small businesses to thrive, all in support of the overall socio-economic growth.
TTBS’ National Standardization Strategy (NSS) is a critical step in the implementation of the National Quality Policy as it identifies the key standardization needs of the country. This strategy focusses on improved trade facilitation and overall global competitiveness, in addition to the fulfilment of our national Vision 2030 roadmap for socio-economic transformation.