The Venezuelan delegation yesterday toured the Arawak Chicken Plant in Mausica and at a press conference, following the tour, Minister Gopee-Scoon said the full list of items include chicken, tuna, white rice, margarine, flour, mayonnaise, ketchup, toilet soaps, toilet paper, bleach and laundry soap.
“It is a good list of basic items that probably are in need in Venezuela at this time. Then we looked at the tariff, the rules of origin as well as rules governing trade into Venezuela to ensure we would be able to meet all of those standards,” she said.
She said the Venezuelan delegation gave substantial quantities to work with for a three month period and based on that, they are going to ask the respective manufacturers to prepare quotations. Gopee-Scoon added that the Venezuelan delegation also requested a 12th item - cement bags, as the country has run out of this. She said Venezuela has ten cement plants and is about to embark on an aggressive housing construction campaign.
“There is within TCL (Trinidad Cement Limited) a plant that makes cement bags so we are going to be checking on the specifications,” she said. The delegation’s visit comes more than a week after Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro visited this country. Following his visit, an agreement was made for a US$50 million revolving fund, that will be used by Venezuela to purchase critical manufactured goods from this country, for its citizens.
Asked about Venezuela’s ability to pay for the products, Urbaez, through a translator, assured local manufacturers that the $US50 million was not money to be sought but money that has already been designated. “We don’t want to go into the GDP of each country right now but that quantity of money for us is quite reasonable. Compared to the quantities of money that as a country we generally deal with even in the context of the crisis that we are now experiencing,” he said.
Gopee-Scoon said the trading arrangements with Venezuela would be of great economic benefit to this country. “It means that once trade increases it means higher production levels improved capacity more jobs and of course greater contribution to the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of TT. It’s a win win on all sides,” she said.
The Venezuelan delegation arrived in this country on Tuesday afternoon and have since visited National Flour Mills, Coconut Growers Association, Vemco and John Dickinson and Company.
On concerns raised by some local manufacturers on cash-strapped Venezuela’s ability to pay for TT goods as per the US multi-million dollar trade deal, officials said this was not an issue since money has been set aside for the purchase of TT goods.