TRINIDAD and Tobago has experienced a growth in non-energy exports for the first eight months of 2021, says Minister of Trade and Industry, Paula Gopee-Scoon.
Contributing to the 2022 budget debate in Parliament on Friday, Gopee-Scoon said T&T has seen a rebound in total exports, which is also evident in the growth of its non-energy sector exports.
“During the period, January to August 2021, total non-energy exports averaged approximately $1.3 billion per month an estimated 43 per cent higher compared to 2020 (i.e. $873.1 million per month). Furthermore, this average has even surpassed that of the same period in 2019, which was approximately $1.1 billion per month (14 per cent increase), which would have been considered a ‘normal’ trading period, the pre-Covid level,” said Gopee-Scoon.
She said the rebound in non-energy exports is, in fact, testament to the resilience of T&Ts non-energy export sector.
Gopee-Scoon said the rebound in T&T’s non-energy was driven by an increase in iron and steel exports.
Exports of products from iron ore reduction totalled $3.68 billion for the first eight months of 2021, which was a 38 per cent increase over the $2.90 billion for the same period in 2019 and 105 per cent over exports in 2020. The sole export is Nu-Iron Unlimited.
Waste and scrap iron exports for the period January to August 2021 amounted to $171.9 million, 15 per cent over the $149.9 million exported for the same period in 2019 and 61 per cent over the $106.7 million exported for the first eight months of 2020. There were three companies contributing to the exports of waste and scrap iron—Raj Recyclers, Trinidad Recycling and Trading and Eco Scrap Solution. The main export markets were Hong Kong, Thailand and South Korea.
Gopee-Scoon made the point that T&T experienced a recovery in the export of its food and beverages manufacturing sector, which registered an overall 36 increase increase over the same period (January to August) from 2020 to 2021.
This was mainly due to a substantial increase in the exports of prepared foods from cereals (20 per cent), aromatic bitters (78 per cent) and other non-alcoholic beverages (27 per cent).
This export performance is also 27 per cent higher than that for the same period in 2019.
Despite it being in a pandemic period, in fiscal 2021, from October 1 2020 to September 30, 2021, the Government facilitated a series of investment projects in targeted areas of economic activity, Gopee-Scoon said.
She said the total value of non-energy investments that was facilitated by the Government and which became operationalised in fiscal 2021 was $491.6 million.
Those projects created over 1,090 new jobs across the manufacturing, Business Process Outsourcing and agro-processing sectors, in both new and expanded activities.
She said the total value of investments already committed for fiscal 2022 is over $1 billion with the potential to create over 1,800 jobs.
Among the new investments expected to be made in fiscal 2022 is PriceSmart T&T Ltd, which is expected to establish a regional distribution centre on ten acres of land, at the Phoenix Park Industrial Estate.