Bahamas seeking to increase $20 mil. trade with Trinidad

17 Apr 2024


Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association

Fifteen Trinidad and Tobago manufacturers representing the food and beverage; printing and packaging; and textiles sectors are currently on a trade mission in the Bahamas.

The government is committed to increasing regional trade

The Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association (TTMA) led 15 companies to The Bahamas to engage in a trade mission, to see if the two CARICOM (Caribbean Community) nations can increase the already $20 million in annual trade that currently exists, Senator Barry Griffin told Guardian Business yesterday.

Griffin, who is also the deputy chairman of the Bahamas Trade Commission, said the trade mission and others that have already happened and are to come, are the direct result of the government’s commitment to increasing trade between Caribbean countries.

Griffin gave the keynote address at the opening of the TTMA trade mission and explained that the economic, business, and trade ties between Trinidad and The Bahamas have grown steadily over the years.

He told this paper following his address: “We do think there are great prospects for increased trade and business transactions with Trinidad and Tobago.

“In the Bahamas market we have Trinidad and Tobago gas products… so, propane gas, for example, is a product that we import from Trinidad and Tobago.

The goal is to improve the cost of living

“You will also find things in grocery stores and retail stores from Trinidad. For example, some condensed milk that is on the market is from Trinidad. Potato chips and other snacks are from Trinidad. We also have seasonings and things like that from Trinidad. And, so, we do think there’s great opportunity for increased trade.

“You have companies on this mission that offer household and industrial cleaning products that they already sell to the US market. And so we believe these are high-quality products that are cheaper than a lot of things we currently have on the market, that would do well here.

“You also have a lot of products in the food and beverage industry. So, fresh juices from Trinidad, chips and other snacks that we think the Bahamian palate would like and would provide diversity of goods, and also a cheaper alternative to a lot of the snack food products; juices and things that already on the market here in The Bahamas.”

Griffin said the government is interested in getting more Bahamian products out into other Caribbean countries and import more from other Caribbean countries.

Regional trade became a central part of the conversation on imports during the COVID-19 pandemic, when supply chains weakened and inflation peaked; and at the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine, when certain commodities were in short supply.

Griffin said there were also recent trade missions between Jamaica and The Bahamas.

“A lot of what we’re doing in trade right now is targeted around the government’s cost of living initiatives, primarily to bring down the cost of some of the most frequently used goods, which heavily goes towards household products, food and beverage items, things of that nature,” Griffin said.

“But also generally just to diversify where we get products from, and to bring some cost relief to Bahamians.”

Griffin said when Prime Minister Philip Davis was in Trinidad last year, he called for the Trinidad business community to see what The Bahamas has to offer, and showcase more of their offerings.

Source: Nassau Guardian