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In this screengrab from the First Round of Negotiations for the Partial Scope Trade Agreement between the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago and the Republic of Chile on Tuesday 17 August 2021 are Chile's Vice Minister for Trade Rodrigo Yañez and Trinidad and Tobago's Trade and Industry Minister Senator Paula Gopee-Scoon. (Photo: http://www.news.gov.tt/)

T&T, Chile renegotiate trade agreement

In this screengrab from the First Round of Negotiations for the Partial Scope Trade Agreement between the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago and the Republic of Chile on Tuesday 17 August 2021 are Chile's Vice Minister for Trade Rodrigo Yañez and Trinidad and Tobago's Trade and Industry Minister Senator Paula Gopee-Scoon. (Photo: http://www.news.gov.tt/)

Trinidad and Tobago and Chile have completed negotiations to expand trade between both countries.

In a release, Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Industry and Trade said both parties “commenced the First Round of Negotiations for the Partial Scope Trade Agreement between the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago and the Republic of Chile on Tuesday 17 August 2021”. With a span of three days, the first round of negotiations ended last Thursday, 19 August 2021.

“The agreement will also support Trinidad and Tobago’s trade policy, which has identified the Central and South American markets for expansion of exports”

— Trinidad and Tobago’s Trade and Industry Minister Senator Paula Gopee-Scoon

The ministry further noted that the negotiations marked a significant milestone in deepening bilateral trade relations between both countries after the respective official signed the General Framework Agreement last October.

Improved trade relations

To kick-start the negotiations, Trinidad and Tobago’s Trade and Industry Minister Senator Paula Gopee-Scoon explained that the Partial Scope Agreement will provide new market access opportunities for Trinidad and Tobago’s manufactured goods.

La Moneda government palace in Santiago, Chile. (Photo: world Bank)

“The agreement will also support Trinidad and Tobago’s trade policy, which has identified the Central and South American markets for expansion of exports. We hope to not only be able to export our manufactured goods at preferential rates to Chile but to also seek inputs into production at competitive prices. The private sector of Trinidad and Tobago has expressed a keen interest in this arrangement and is eager for its fruition,” the minister added.

The Partial Scope Trade Agreement between Trinidad and Tobago and Chile will allow the Caribbean country’s exports to enter the Chilean market, with over nineteen million people at preferential rates of duties.

Conversely, imports of selected inputs into manufacturing and consumer goods from Chile will attract reduced duty.

A majority of Trinidad an Tobago’s exports to Chile include energy products such as ammonia, liquefied natural gas and urea

“This agreement will also seek to eliminate non-tariff barriers and foster cooperation between the countries in mutual areas of interest, including trade facilitation and electronic trade. Trinidad and Tobago and Chile share a very important trading relationship, with the trade balance traditionally favouring Trinidad and Tobago,” the Ministry of Industry and Trade outlined in the release.

In 2020, Trinidad and Tobago exported approximately TT$333.5 million in goods to Chile, the majority of which were energy products such as ammonia, liquefied natural gas and urea.

Opportunities for diversified trade

However, the ministry anticipates that the renegotiated agreement will further diversify Trinidad and Tobago’s export base to Chile to include non-energy sector values. In 2020, non-energy products exported to Chile included aromatic bitters, rum and liqueurs and cordials.

Among Trinidad and Tobago’s non-energy exports to Chile in 2020 were aromatic bitters, rum and liqueurs. (File photo)

On the import side, the twin-island republic has purchased products valued at TT$148 million from Chile in 2020. The top imported products included tissue, wood products, clothing, grapes, and frozen fish. 

During the ceremony, Chile’s Vice Minister for Trade Rodrigo Yañez reiterated his country’s commitment to furthering the negotiations and strengthening bilateral trade with the Caribbean, in particular, Trinidad and Tobago.

Also commenting on the negotiations, Chief Negotiator of Chile Felipe Lopeandía noted that the agreement will represent a powerful tool to reinvigorate both economies and stimulate bilateral trade. It also presents an opportunity to maintain and promote the exchange of the products that constitute traditional exchange and stimulate new products towards more diversification.

Chief Negotiator of Chile Felipe Lopeandía (Photo: Merco Press)

Among the topics discussed in the negotiations were: market access, rules of origin, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, trade facilitation, trade remedies, competition policy and legal and institutional issues.