(Trinidad Guardian): Some local businesses have not yet been paid for goods delivered to Venezuela, said Christopher Alcazar, President, Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA).
However, he added the TTMA remains “optimistic” about the energy relations between the two countries.
“The TTMA has been watching these developments optimistically for our energy sector and country’s wellbeing while with great concern as a few manufacturers who commenced trading with Venezuela are to date still left without Venezuela completing their financial contractual obligations causing great disruptions and losses to local business,” he said in a statement to Guardian Media on Friday.
Today [Saturday], Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley will lead a team to Caracas, Venezuela where an energy agreement will be signed.
Alcazar continued by saying that Corporación Venezolana de Comercia Exterior (CORPOVEX) is the Venezuelan trade agency responsible for making the payments but they have not lived up to their end of the agreement.
However, he did not give the details of how much money is still owed to local businesses.
“In simple terms, goods have been delivered and produced and not paid for by CORPOVEX. These manufacturers have been trying to have monies due to them for over a year now to which correspondences continue to go unanswered. These matters have been raised on several occasions with Government of T&T but without recourse. Until these obligations are met, settled and contracts honoured, manufacturers would remain very sceptical of any further agreement with any industry between the countries,” he said.
In 2016, Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon officially released details of the trade agreement at the Execution of Bilateral Commercial Agreements between T&T local manufacturers and CORPOVEX.
Gopee-Scoon had announced that 12 products from T&T that would have been exported over a three-month period to Venezuela. In total, Venezuela was expected to receive 600 tonnes of food which included ketchup, mayonnaise, flour, white rice, margarine, chicken, powdered milk and spaghetti.
In October 2017, Gopee-Scoon speaking in a post-Budget debate in the Senate said T&T has exported $100 million worth of goods to Venezuela since 2016’s T&T-Venezuelan agreement.
“A consultant was hired by the T&T Manufacturers Association to facilitate further economic relations which has resulted in six companies successfully registering their products in Venezuela. The Ministry is making further interventions towards doing more business,” she said.
Venezuela is currently in the middle of a four-year recession coupled with hyperinflation which has led to a shortage of some basic products in that country.