T&T faces Caricom boycott backlash
    By Curtis Rampersad
    Friday, December 03, 2010

    Trinidadian manufacturers have complained their exports in Caricom countries faced product boycotts after Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s statements on how Trinidad and Tobago would offer assistance following the destruction caused by Hurricane Tomas.
    Philippe Agostini, executive chairman of Laventille oils producer CGA Ltd, said he received complaints from his agent in Jamaica after Persad-Bissessar said Trinidad and Tobago was willing to help Tomas-affected countries like St Lucia and Jamaica but it would have to benefit Trinidad as well.
    Kamla Persad-Bissessar
    Agostini was making a point to Trade Minister Stephen Cadiz during a luncheon hosted by the Chamber of Commerce at its Westmoorings offices.
    He said his agent in Jamaica-the Grace Kennedy company-told him supermarket customers were looking at product labels to see where they were manufactured.
    If the products were made in Trinidad and Tobago, they decided to boycott them and buy another brand made somewhere else.
    CGA Ltd exports soaps, cooking oil and coconut oil to Jamaica.
    Agostini said CGA could not determine a specific financial loss, given that the Jamaican economy was so slow, but he was certain Trinidad and Tobago exports suffered losses after Persad-Bissessar’s statements.
    Cadiz responded that Persad-Bissessar’s statements following Tomas, as well as her statements about the Trinidad and Tobago being like an ATM card for other countries, were “taken out of context”.
    He said there were problems involving exports before and this had been going on for a decade.
    Cadiz pointed to the imbalance of trade between Jamaica and Trinidad and said that country had misconceptions that it was cheaper to manufacture products in Trinidad because of its ample energy resources.
    He said the Prime Minister meant that “we also needed to support our own base instead of simply writing a cheque”.
    Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association president Greig Laughlin said some local manufacturers were concerned about boycotts in Jamaica after Persad-Bissessar’s statements.
    He said some customers in Jamaica would have heeded calls on Facebook and other fronts for a boycott of Trinidad products.
    But Laughlin said that he would not apologise for the good quality of products made by locals and pointed out that even after calls for a boycott, local manufacturers sent two containers of bottled water and six containers of goods to islands affected by Tomas.

    Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/TT-faces-Caricom-boycott-backlash_8207787#ixzz1AfIbN8M4

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