Good evening, everyone.
I am Nirad Tewarie - CEO of AMCHAM T&T.
I want to begin by saying a special thank you to everyone who was able to make it here today on such short notice.
First, let me tell you how happy we are to welcome our distinguished guests who are joining us this evening from the U.S. government.
It's not every day we have such important and influential representatives from the U.S. government visiting our shores, but when the opportunity arises, it's always a moment to emphasise the important relationship between our two countries.
I want to thank our partners at the U.S. Embassy, especially Ambassador Bond and Deputy Chief Of Mission, Shante Moore for their continued support and for the opportunity for AMCHAM T&T to serve as host to our honored guests at this evening’s cocktail reception. Of course, this would not have been possible without Valerie Laboy and Marissa Nicholas’s facilitation and support. Thank you very much.
We are very grateful to advance the strong relationship we have enjoyed with the U.S. Embassy, and by extension the U.S. - which remains our country’s major trading partner. Indeed, I think it is fair to say that our relationship with the Embassy is as strong today as it ever was. Events such as this allow us to build on our collaborative efforts to enhance trade between our respective countries.
In this regard, I would just like to highlight three issues that we believe are of mutual interest.
The first is trade. On behalf of AMCHAM T&T, I would like to emphasise to this Congressional delegation that we see increasing trade between our countries as a critical component of our sustainable development. If we could wave a magic wand, we would facilitate an exponential increase in US investment in T&T because the US business community has done a significant amount to improve the rule of law, raise Health and Safety and Labour standards and contribute to our high level of business sophistication.
Since we can’t do that, we will work toward expanding the utilisation of the CBI, connecting our burgeoning tech sector more deeply with the US tech sector, likely starting with Atlanta, and we are in the early stages of discussions with the Embassy and, by extension, US AID to develop and execute a project to tangibly enhance trade between our countries.
To underpin that, AMCHAM T&T continues to champion enhancements in the rule of law. In fact, the Embassy sits on our recently-established Rule of Law Committee where we continue to work toward aligning our efforts to effect a more conducive business environment and fairer society.
And finally, I’m sure you would all be surprised if we didn’t touch on energy security – not just for T&T but for the region, with global implications. You are all well aware that Trinidad and Tobago’s medium-term economic stability is likely tied to accessing Venezuelan gas for the petrochemical sector as well as LNG exports. And while much of the discussions have centred around the Dragon Gas field because of a number of factors that make it potentially low-hanging fruit, and we certainly want to be able to pick that metaphorical fruit and ask for your assistance to lobby for the policy framework that would allow this to happen, we must also remember that there are other cross border fields that can be developed.
In addition, as our countries work to battle climate change, being able to tap and process the gas that Venezuela flares as part of its oil production, could have a huge global impact on the reduction of emissions associated with its oil production and provide a source of gas that can be accessed in a relatively short time to assist the countries around the world with their energy transition. We hope that as you all discuss the energy policy of the U.S.A. and the economic and social needs of Caribbean countries, these issues can be considered favourably.
Also, joining us at this reception are many of our members of AMCHAM T&T. With us here today, we have key representatives from many sectors of the business community of Trinidad and Tobago. So, as you enjoy the beautiful backdrop on the rooftop of the Brix Hotel which overlooks the city of Port-of-Spain, please take this opportunity to show a little of that special Trini hospitality to our distinguished guests as you build connections and take advantage of the extensive network that AMCHAM T&T provides.
If nothing else, we want to reassure you that the US has an unwavering partner in AMCHAM T&T and we will continue to work to strengthen and deepen the relationship between our two countries.
We have complimentary refreshments and hors d'oeuvres will be served, allowing you to enjoy the evening to its fullest.
Thank you, everyone!
Hakeem Jeffries - U.S. Congressmember for NY-8. District with AMCHAM T&T CEO, Nirad Tewarie (l) President, Stuart Franco (r) and Director, Glenn Hamel-Smith.