Thursday, September 06, 2007

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister to Cuba to open office

Trinidad and Tobago Express

By Driselle Ramjohn

Thursday, September 6th 2007

PRIME Minister Patrick Manning will leave for Cuba today to officially open the Trinidad and Tobago Trade Facilitation Office (TTFO) in Havana.

In the making since the beginning of last year, the Trade Facilitation Office is expected to take Trinidad and Tobago one step closer in the regional integration process, promoting trade between the two countries.

Speaking at the announcement of the establishment of the TTFO last year, Minister of Trade and Industry Ken Valley said: "The TTFO will be authorised under Cuban law to promote and facilitate trade between Trinidad and Tobago and Cuba. It will be designed to function as a conduit between Trinidad and Tobago manufacturers and those state companies authorised to import and sell to consumers; and also advise our manufacturers of products which can be exported to Cuba."

"Just to give you an idea of the level of business which we conduct with Cuba between January and September, 2005, the trade balance stood at $90 million in our favour. Our primary exports to Cuba are chemicals, iron and steel, fertilisers and pulp and waste paper," Valley added.

Today, Manning will head a delegation to Cuba, under an official invitation from the Government of Cuba, of Government ministers including Valley, Minister of Housing Keith Rowley, Minister of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs Joan Yuille-Williams and Senator Hazel Manning.

"A goodwill cultural contingent including Machel Montano will also accompany the prime minister and his delegation on the visit to Cuba," theOffice of the Prime Minister said yesterday.

It added that Minister of Public Administration and Information, Dr Lenny Saith will carry out the duties of the prime minister until September 8 when he is scheduled to return.

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