Chile, T&T strengthen relations on energy, trade
Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General, Stuart Young, said Trinidad and Tobago will explore several options moving forward in order to widen trade relations between the two countries.
Speaking at Thursday’s post-Cabinet media briefing, Young said he along with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon, and Foreign Minister Dennis Moses, met with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and members of the Chilean energy sector at a breakfast meeting to discuss the way forward.
He said the meeting has strengthened relations between the countries, especially concerning the energy industry.
On Tuesday the governments of Trinidad and Tobago and Chile signed bilateral agreements and focusing on regional integration and democracy.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet emphasised that Trinidad and Tobago, as Chile’s main exporter of LNG, is very important to them.
T&T, Chile focus on energy, trade
Young said 95 percent of the LNG imported by Chile comes from Trinidad and Tobago’s Point Fortin facility.
“That is extremely significant especially in today’s current climate of the competitiveness of what is happening up north with shale gas in North America,” he said.
Young added that the countries will also consider how they can benefit regarding trade.
“A lot of discussions were had on how we can promote trade between our two countries.”
“They have a very diverse economy…there is a lot of wine production, fruit (production) such as strawberries etc. They are also big into meat; beef, pork production, as well as wood and wood products. They are one of the largest producers of copper in the world,” Young said.
“A lot of discussions were had as to how we can promote trade between our two countries…a big element was our energy sector, not just LNG but also ammonia, considering that the country has a number of ammonia producers,” he said.
He said T&T affirmed that they will continue to be able to supply LNG to Chile in the long term.
Young said the parties also discussed innovation and the establishment of relationships with the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) in the renewable energy area as Chile is seeking to increase their energy needs to renewable energy by 20 percent within the next 10-15 years.
Promoting intellectual property
A Memorandum of Understanding was also signed for the Cooperation of Development of Intellectual Property between the two countries.
This will assist in moving together best practices in terms of protection, in compliance with existing international standards.
“We’re going to allow each other an easier process for the promotion of intellectual property,” he said, adding that is an area of diversification for Trinidad and Tobago.
“There are matters of innovation and invention, that is an area that is growing internationally…we’re going to allow each other an easier process for the registration of intellectual property,” he said.
T&T continues to support Venezuela
Young said that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley also mentioned the current political situation in Venezuela and said Trinidad and Tobago stands ready to help.
“We stand by ready to assist in whatever way we can. It’s a democratically elected government and if there are other ways in which we can assist in terms of trade and trade facilities, we stand ready to do so.”
Dr Rowley said upon his return from Chile that secretary general of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, should step down because of the “very derogatory manner” in which he engaged Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.
Dr Rowley added that Trinidad and Tobago has registered a “strong objection” to the behaviour of Almagro with regard to his position on the Venezuela issue.
“If we are not careful, CARICOM too could destroy itself as an honest broker with respect to any involvement in assistance to Venezuela and its internal problems,” Dr Rowley said.
“It is our view, as a long-standing member of the OAS, that the leadership of the OAS, at this point in time, needs to change so that the institution can return to having the potential of being an honest broker to intervene and to provide a pathway for peace and progress in situations as they exist in Venezuela now,” Dr Rowley said.