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E D I T I O N : : AU GUST 2014

Food and Beverage Exporters to the US…

What do you know about the FSMA? The United States’ Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), is the most sweeping reform of United States food safety laws in more than 70 years. It was signed into law on January 4, 2011 and will be fully implemented over time. The FSMA aims to ensure the safety of the U.S. food supply by shifting the focus from responding to food contamination to preventing it. It calls for a new level of accountability for everyone involved in the food supply chain, even if that chain begins halfway around the world. These rules make international exporters more accountable for food safety and enhance the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) ability to monitor conditions and standards in foreign facilities that produce and process food.


Costa Rica Contact Promotion


Suriname Energy Sector


EBSI International Trade Specialist Programme


Here’s a quick look at some of the provisions in the new law: • ISSUING RECALLS: For the first time, the FDA will have the authority to order a recall of food products. Up to now, with the exception of infant formula, the FDA has had to rely on food manufacturers and distributors to recall food voluntarily. • CONDUCTING INSPECTIONS: The law calls for more frequent inspections and for those inspections to be based on risk. Foods and facilities that pose a greater risk to food safety will get the most attention

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InbuyTT 2014 - Meet, Promote, Buy exporTT is the national export facilitation organisation of Trinidad and Tobago. Our mission is to develop a sustainable and diversified export sector for Trinidad and Tobago and we strive to achieve this through our export development and promotion activities. In export development, we focus on building the capacity and competitiveness of our exporters while our export

promotion activities such as trade missions and trade shows seek to expose our exporters to international markets. The primary objective of our export promotion activities is to generate exports. InbuyTT 2014, exporTT’s inaugural Inward Buyer Mission is an event developed to achieve this objective. Continued on page 03

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Food and Beverage Exporters to the US…

What do you know about the FSMA? (From page 01)

• IMPORTING FOOD: The law provides significant enhancements to the FDA's ability to oversee food produced in foreign countries and imported into the United States. Also, the FDA has the authority to prevent food products from entering the United States if the production facility has refused FDA inspection. • PREVENTING PROBLEMS: Food facilities must have a written plan that spells out the possible problems that could affect the safety of their products. The plan would outline steps that the facility would take to help prevent those problems from occurring. • FOCUSING ON SCIENCE AND RISK: The law establishes science-based standards for the safe production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables. This is an important step forward. These standards will consider both natural and man-made risks to the safety of fresh produce. A law of this scope and complexity often comes with direction from Congress for the federal agency responsible for implementing it to go through a process called rulemaking. The new food safety law outline a number of rules (also called regulations) and provides guidance. Implementation of the rules neither happens overnight nor in a vacuum. The public, including companies affected by the new law, will have many opportunities to participate in the rulemaking process. Once a new rule is requested by the FDA, it will be published in the Federal Register (FR) and members of the public can review and submit comments. The FDA will then consider all comments and publish a final rule with an effective or compliance date in the future.

What this means for our local food and beverage companies currently exporting or wishing to export to the US, is that Food Safety must be of utmost importance.

What this means for our local food and beverage companies currently exporting or wishing to export to the US, is that Food Safety must be of utmost importance. The Regulations under FSMA are detailed and exacting. They are similar to but

exceed the principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and is often referred to as HACCP+ (HACCP plus). The implementation of these many regulations should be guided by a qualified and experienced consultant. The consultant must first conduct an audit against the FSMA regulations to determine the areas of non-compliance. The consultant will then develop an implementation plan in consultation with the company and direct its execution. This can be a very costly exercise, given consultants fees and infrastructure adjustments that may be required.

exporTT Limited offers assistance with 50% of the consultancy costs inherent in FSMA implementation up to TT$100,000.00.

In recognition of the financial constraints faced by companies, exporTT Limited has developed mechanisms to ease some of the financial burden. exporTT Limited offers assistance with 50% of the consultancy costs inherent in FSMA implementation up to TT$100,000.00. exporTT offers this same assistance package for the implementation of other food safety systems as well, such as GMP, HACCP and FS22000. In 2013 under the FSMA, 17 local food and beverage manufacturers of varying sizes were notified of impending inspection by the USFDA. Any local company exporting to the US can be subject to such inspection and as such, we expect other companies to receive similar notifications in the near future. exporTT assisted these companies with engaging suitable consultants in order to attaining regulatory compliance. Further, exporTT acted as a facilitator to the FDA inspectors by coordinating the logistics of the inspection exercise. The process went smoothly and all inspected companies were found to be in compliance. The FDA is now confident that products entering the US from these companies is safe for consumption and that the proper mechanisms are in place to deal with any incident of contamination. exporTT intends to offer similar assistance for companies facing inspection in the future and will continue to function as the facilitating agency during future inspections. Published by exporT T Limited.


InbuyTT 2014 - Meet, Promote, Buy (From page 01)

All of the missions conducted by exporTT thus far have been outbound missions where local exporters visit markets of interest to meet with potential buyers. An inward buyer mission does the opposite as we will be bringing foreign buyers to Trinidad and Tobago to meet with our exporters. WHY DO THIS?: •

This is a core strategy which has been utilised by top trade promotions agencies around the world like PROEXPORT in Colombia and PROCOMER in Costa Rica.

It stimulates awareness of Trinidad and Tobago as an exporter of quality products. Many times we visit markets on fact finding missions and potential buyers are not aware of Trinidad and Tobago and what we offer.

Companies with limited resources can meet with potential buyers from several countries at minimal cost. Typically exporters would have to cover the expenses of travelling to various markets and setting up meetings with buyers. InbuyTT allows them to engage multiple overseas buyers while remaining in Trinidad & Tobago To generate export orders.

Generating export orders is important but this event offers so much more. We anticipate that buyers and exporters will have a better mutual understanding of what each has to offer. For exporters who may be meeting with large buyers for the first time they will better understand market requirements and standards expected by major buyers. The event should also help

exporters to recognize opportunities in these markets. There is often an element of fear in entering new markets and by meeting with buyers and determining their interest, some of this fear can be alleviated. At the end of the process we hope that exporters will become more motivated and look at markets which were previously not on their agenda. InbuyTT 2014 brings together local exporters with approximately 25 international buyers drawn mainly from the Latin America and the Caribbean. The matchmaking process is well underway, however, there is still time for exporters to register for this event.

This event is scheduled for the 17th and 18th September, 2014 and will be held at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre. For more information on the event you can visit our event page at or contact either Ms. Cheryl-Ann Dookie at or 777-2687, OR Ms. Camille James at or 367-3165. We look forward to hearing from you and trust that you take full advantage of this opportunity to meet so many quality buyers in one place.

Published by exporT T Limited.


FEB 19-21

Costa Rica Contact Promotion As one of the fastest growing economies in the region and the second largest economy in Central America, Costa Rica is certainly a destination worth exploring for trading opportunities. When the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) signed a bilateral trade agreement with Costa Rica in 2004, one of the objectives of the Agreement, as elaborated through its principles, rules, and provisions, was the strengthening of commercial and economic relations between the Community and Costa Rica. Nevertheless, not many of these partners have utilized the agreement to its fullest potential. In fact, after almost eight years, Trinidad & Tobago as one of the More Developed Countries (MDC) exported only $59,504,000 US to Costa Rica in 2012, as a result of trade dominated largely by energy products and downstream energy products such as fertilizers. On the other hand the non-energy exports that may have benefited from preferential access under this agreement were somehow never aggressively explored over the years. Costa Rica has made tremendous strides in the diversification of its economy. Today the country could not only boast of a stable economy, but their economy has been transformed from one that was highly dependent on agriculture to one that is led by hightech computer and electronics industries, services, nontraditional agriculture and tourism. The tourism sector has become a major contributor of foreign exchange earning more than the combined exports of bananas, pineapples and coffee. In 2010 tourism contributed 5.5% of the country's GDP and 21.2% of foreign exchange generated by all exports. While Costa Rica has been successfully charting a course of diversification of its economy, the Government of T&T has been developing strategies toward the diversification of our export base into markets other than CARICOM in an attempt to reduce our reliance on oil and gas. Towards this end, emphasis was placed on export promotion and as such, exporTT Limited was created with a specific mandate to “export growth and diversification in the goods and services sector; increase in the international competitiveness of exporters; and, expansion to new markets, based on market research.” exporTT Limited has since developed a number of initiatives with a New market focus on Latin America. In keeping with this

interest a Market Survey Mission was conducted in Costa Rica in March 2013 by an exporTT Team. The objective of this survey mission was to establish market potential for targeted sectors of Food and Beverage, Printing & Packaging, Chemicals and Construction. While the Food and Beverage sector showed the most potential, interests were also expressed by the other sectors. Companies in these sectors were granted an opportunity to visit the market and explore the potential leads through an exporTT led Trade Mission that was executed February 19 – 21, 2014 with the assistance of the Costa Rican Chamber of Importers (Crecex). The companies that participated in the Mission were: Advance Foam Limited, Albrosco Limited, CGA Limited, Chief Brand Products, CWD Enterprises Limited, Label House Group Limited, MDC-UM Limited, SCL (Trinidad) Limited and Vemco Limited. In total, 175 meetings were held with 59 Costa Rican buyers and distributors who belong to the membership of Crecex. All of the nine companies expressed satisfaction with the Mission and they reported approximately 56 leads which are currently engaging their attention. This post-mission strategy of active follow up is the key ingredient for converting leads to orders and thereby establishing a presence in Costa Rica. exporTT would continue to create opportunities for local firms to enter new markets, one can only hope that the companies who visited Costa Rica would make every effort to make inroads into these markets. We have started the process through the provision of market research, and relationship building with agencies in the market, but only the adaptation of products and willingness on the part of our local firms would propel the much needed growth in our non-energy sector.

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Uncovering Panama’s Potential Panama Market Survey Mission, 2014

On Thursday 3rd October, 2013 the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the Republic of Panama, signed a Partial Scope Agreement committing to “the need to establish and promote free trade for strengthening intra-regional economic cooperation and the development of national economies”. At the root of this understanding, Panama agreed to give preferential treatment to over a 100 products from Trinidad and Tobago. Following the recent signing of the aforementioned Agreement, exporTT embarked on a Market Survey Mission to update the work completed 3 years earlier and began to establish contacts in preparation for the Agreement’s ratification into the Laws of Trinidad and Tobago. This Mission was executed by Panamanian Consultant; Panatec Global (on behalf of exporTT), from May 5th – June 18th. An Export Officer also visited the market from Sunday, May 25th – Thursday May 29th to accompany the Consultant to meetings with importers and distributors and made their own observations in the market. The targeted sectors for this Mission were Food and Beverage, Chemical and Non-Metallic Minerals, Printing, Packaging and Publishing, Miscellaneous Manufacturers and Wood and Wood Related Products. There were four observations about the market that stood out from this Mission that will surely assist Trinidad and Tobago’s exporters when considering Panama. 1. CUSTOMERS ARE BRAND LOYAL Research uncovered that Panamanians are less likely to be willing to deviate away from a traditional brand, even if the price increases. The reservation to the “new” and “different” makes marketing a critical factor when introducing a new product into the market. One distributor stated that much of the initial costs when taking on a new product is marketing. Therefore, exporters are advised to discuss the cost of marketing with potential distributors. A notable trade lawyer in Panama said exporters should seek to have the terms and conditions of marketing and advertising outlined in detail in the distribution contract when formalising the relationship. One successful marketing strategy suggested by a distributor was giving out free samples in the store over a period of time, during the launch phase. 2. THERE IS A PRICE VERSUS QUALITY CONUNDRUM DEVELOPING Exporters can chose to enter the Panamanian market either through a competitive price or exceptional quality. If the price is your method of entry, exporters are advised to tap into the nouveau consumer that is willing to try something new for the

sake of price. Unfortunately, this point of entry will require the exporter or distributor in the market to bear the cost of such an endeavour if necessary. In contrast, the ones seeking quality tends to be the traditionalist that maintain brand loyalty. In order to catch their loyalty, strong marketing will have to be part of your entry strategy. 3. STATUS AND REPUTATION ARE IMPORTANT FOR BUSINESS A recurring theme on this Mission was that our exporters should seek business partners that are reputable in the business community. There should be a focus on building long term relationships with the right people before committing your product. 4. PRESIDENT VARELA ATTEMPTING TO CONTROL PRODUCT MARK-UP While this project was ongoing, Panama underwent a major political transition with His Excellency Juan Carlos Varela being elected as President with over 40% of the votes. On the day of his inauguration, July 1st, the President implemented emergency price controls on twenty-two basic food products to eliminate disparities in the mark-up among retail and distribution outlets that the unknowing customer is forced to absorb. A particular segment of distributors also utilise a credit system for small urban communities, marking up the prices three and four-fold the original price when payment is due a week or month later. Exporters interested in Panama should continue to monitor the developments where prices are being managed by the government. For some, this may eliminate the aforementioned “price versus quality conundrum”. To date, there are no price controls on non-food products. exporTT continues to monitor the Panamanian market in an effort to help Trinidad & Tobago exporters penetrate or expand their reach within the market. We can be reached for any interest or queries on the market. The ratification of the Partial Scope Agreement with Panama coupled with the expansion of the Panama Canal present great opportunities for trade and we look forward to the benefits to be derived. Additionally, exporTT’s Inward Buyers’ Mission in September 2014 will feature buyers from Panama who will be matched with participating exporters to discuss trade opportunities, as we continuously seek to increase trade to Panama. For more information on the Inward Buyer’s Mission, please visit

Published by exporT T Limited.



Suriname Energy Sector A Potential Market for Trinidad and Tobago Service Providers Suriname’s energy sector is at the embryonic stage of growth and development. The country currently produces an average of 8 million barrels per day, but is expected to double production to over 15 million barrels a day after completion of the expansion of the Tut Lui Refinery Complex later this year. The Surinamese market represents a fantastic opportunity for Trinidad and Tobago energy service providers interested in exporting a variety of energy services. According to Staatsolie the state oil compnay, there are numerous onshore and off shore opportunities that local companies can exploit within the upcoming year ( 2014-2015). In this regard, exporTT whose mandated is to stimulate the growth of exports of energy services has partnered with the Energy Chamber to undertake a series of activities geared towards assisting energy service providers in penetrating the Surinamese market. This included collaborating with the Energy Chamber to create an Energy Services Action Plan, 2013-2014. A central component of the plan was a series of related activities preparing firms for Doing Business in Suriname. exporTT has produced a Suriname Market Guide and its objective was to provide an informative, practical and easy to read guide for energy service providers to utilize in their business endeavours. The Suriname Market Guide contains the following items: • Key Demographic Data • Regulatory Guide • An Economic Guide of Suriname • Energy Services Opportunities exporTT also participated in the energy services mission to Suriname led by the Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago to the Surimep Conference and Tradeshow. The delegation to the Surinmep Conference was comprised of representatives of 12 companies; including companies such as Tucker Energy Services Ltd, Kenson School of Production, National Petroleum, and Humming Bird Ltd. The mission was successful in

There are numerous onshore and off shore opportunities that local companies can exploit within the upcoming year.

terms of the number and quality of contacts that energy service providers were able to engage with. exporTT made strategic use of the mission to further its agenda beyond energy services to exploring opportunities within the market for manufactures and other service providers. Toward this end, exporTT’s CEO Mr Christopher Lewis met with the following persons: • Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry - Dirk Heave • President of the Suriname Chamber of Industry and Commerce – Henk Naarendorp • Trinidad and Tobago Honorary Council to Suriname Dr. Rudie A. Tjong-A-Hung • Staatsolie Officials • Mitra / DTS / Future Beverages Nv / • H J Agro (Member of the HJ Group) exporTT understands that it requires more than a visit to a market in order to convert interest and good leads to business. Therefore, this was followed by an Energy Luncheon with a high level delegation from Suriname including the CEO of Staatsolie, the Contract Manager and President of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Henk Naarendorp. At the session Staatsolie representatives gave an in-depth explanation of its pre-qualification criteria. Upcoming exporTT Activities in Suriname The next step is to develop a framework to assist service providers to successfully enter the market as the Suriname energy sector is poised for significant growth and development in the short to medium term.

Published by exporT T Limited.


Logistics Tips to help you Contain Export Costs The role of Logistics in cost containment, customer satisfaction and competitive advantage is often overlooked due to its highly specialized nature. However, today’s export professional is learning to master basic logistics issues to control their P&L and beat the competition. Below are some basic pointers that can a have a positive impact on your bottom line and your customer relations. Don’t let suppliers add freight charges to your invoices. Instead provide them with your freight forwarder or shipper’s information and account number. Use this increased volume to negotiate better rates with your freight provider.

Negotiate Contract Freight Rates with your shipping lines for your volume import or export routes. A US$50.00 reduction per Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) could add up to US$1200.00 in savings if you export two 20 STD containers/month to that market.

Implement a strict approval policy for overnight packages. Sometimes packages that get shipped overnight (at a higher cost) are not so urgent and get left at the port for a few days before they are cleared because someone thought that it was URGENT.

Work with your freight forwarder to select the best mode of transport for your shipment. Plipdeco’s new Less-Than Container Load(LCL) Initiative can reduce insurance costs and claims for damages or pilferage associated with break-bulk shipments at POS Jetty.

Match the service to the need. If it’s not urgent then don’t use airfreight. If the item is a document that weighs one lb. or less and is not time sensitive in nature for example the original of an invoice that has already been paid then use regular postal mail instead of FEDEX parcel service.

When purchasing printed marketing collateral to be shipped to an export market such as Point of Purchase (POP) material, try to work with printers that are registered with exporTT and that can provide you with a Certificate of Origin. This will avoid your customer having to pay duties when importing printed marketing collateral manufactured in Trinidad and that qualifies for duty free access to CARICOM and other export markets.

Ship multiple containers destined to the same customer at the same time using the same shipping line so that they can be placed on one Bill of Lading (BL). This will reduce BL documentation and Terminal User Fees. (TUF)


Join the digital age and register for exporTT’s E-Certificate of Origin to save on the higher fee associated with manually processing this document.

Always include INCOTERMS on your price lists, invoices, contracts, quotations and applicable export documents to ensure that both you the exporter and the importer understand who is responsible for what cost throughout every step of the export process. This will help avoid costly misunderstandings in the future should something go wrong with an export shipment.

Article By: Michele Kalloo Michele Kalloo is an international trade professional with over 16 years of New Business Development experience in the Caribbean and Latin America. She is currently the Director of the International Business Development Division of MetrIQs Solutions Limited specializing in export marketing services for companies and brands wishing to break into the Caribbean & Latin American markets or exporters looking for market and distributor management services.


Published by exporT T Limited.


Upcoming Training Schedule • • • • • •

Developing a Service Export Plan Fundaments of Exporting Packaging and Labeling for the US / EU Market Introduction to Export Pricing  eBSI International Trade Specialist Programme Export Development Forum 2015

September 10th September 23rd  September 29th and 30th

April 2015

For further details or to register please email: or call us at 623-5507 ext 370-373.

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