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TT Ambassador Nicholas talks trade and investment in Germany

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – In his capacity as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Federal Republic of Germany, His Excellency Garvin Nicholas embarked on a three-day official visit to the German cities of Berlin and Hamburg from September 11th to 13th, 2013.

In Berlin, Ambassador Nicholas met with Mr. Lotz, the Head of Section for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Federal Foreign Office. Ambassador Nicholas also visited the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology where he met with Mr. Knut Brϋnjes, the Deputy Director General with responsibility for Trade Policy and Latin America, as well as Dr. Malte Hauschild, the Deputy Head of Division for Latin America.

Ambassador Nicholas continued his visit in the city of Hamburg where he met with the Judge Shunji Yanai, President of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea, who gave an overview of the operations of the Tribunal and also made an appeal for the work of the Tribunal to be more widely publicised throughout the Caribbean region. During a tour of the facilities, Ambassador Nicholas remarked on the multiple benefits that could accrue to countries using the Tribunal to adjudicate on maritime matters. Justice Anthony Lucky, of Trinidad and Tobago, also sits as a member of the Tribunal.

At a reception hosted by Mr. Howard Kroch, Honorary Consul for Trinidad and Tobago in Hamburg, Germany, Nicholas offered a powerful presentation to the 80 plus audience which included 34 Consuls General and Honorary Consuls. Ambassador Nicholas stated that Trinidad and Tobago is a promising state with opportunities for trade and tourism investment. He highlighted the interest of the Government in diversifying the economy and introducing new incentives and programmes to attract investment in new industry.

Ambassador Nicholas met with Executive Directors of HELM AG who discussed the current increase of their stake in Consolidated Energy Ltd (CEL) Trinidad and Tobago from 10.57% to 25%. HELM stated that Trinidad and Tobago is currently their largest methanol source with an export rate of 4.1 million tonnes per annum to the US, and Europe. Ambassador Nicholas raised the potential for the development of the pharmaceuticals manufacture in Trinidad and Tobago. The HELM executives acknowledged that this would be an avenue to explore.

Ambassador Nicholas also met with executives of Ferrostaal GmbH and its new owners Dr. John Schroeder of the MPC Holding Company. A request was made for regarding development of the port and dry-docking facilities and the potential for recycling facilities. Ambassador Nicholas also met with Senior Executives of RWE Dea including the CEO, Mr Thomas Rappuhn. A brief overview of their operations in Trinidad and Tobago was provided with RWE confirming their interest in expanding their portfolio primarily in near shore opportunities and the redevelopment of existing fields where they can apply their EOR expertise. Nicholas and Mr Rappuhn further discussed the role of renewables and its introduction to Trinidad and Tobago.

The Ambassador was treated to a guided tour of the 72 kilometer Port of Hamburg where its advanced terminal logistic and cargo management systems were evident. The Port currently handles approximately 9 million TEUs per annum. In addition to its significant contribution from transhipment operations, the Port of Hamburg also welcomes cruise ships, ushering 500,000 people to Hamburg each year with an average spend of 100 Euros per visitor. Nicholas stated that this was indeed an impressive development, one Trinidad and Tobago could assess for comparative improvement to our port facilities.

Ambassador Nicholas also paid a courtesy call on Lord Mayor Dr. Dorothee Stapelfeldt, 2nd Mayor of the Parliament of Hamburg and Head of the Department of Science and Research in Hamburg. Nicholas promoted Trinidad and Tobago as a capital for trade and investment, highlighting diverse areas for investment and partnership including: Education and Research, Sustainable Energy, Medical Tourism and Eco-Tourism.

The Hamburg Chamber of Commerce provided a platform for the Ambassador to share specific opportunities for investment directed to a business investment audience including Dr. Wisskirchen, Regional CEO Northern Germany for Deuche Bank, and His Excellency Stefan Schlüter, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Trinidad and Tobago. Nicholas presented several opportunities for development of the western peninsula in collaboration with the Chaguaramas Development Authority. Other initiatives proposed include maximising the use of our Technology Park, manufacturing of niche and high end products and tourism related investments including high end hotel, medical and golfing facilities. He also addressed questions of national security, food security, conferencing facilities and conference management, economic stability and the stability of the Trinidad and Tobago dollar on the World Market.

Mr. Jϋrgen Gevers, General Manager of AVIA Reps Tourism GmbH, the Tourism Development Company’s overseas representative for Germany, Netherlands and Belgium also had an opportunity to meet with the Ambassador. Current issues of performance and the identification of future plans to ensure the capitalisation of all investments made by the Ministry of Tourism and the THA were discussed. An offer was made by the Ambassador to assist in the promotion of Trinidad and Tobago in the German speaking territories of Europe with the intention of increasing the arrival numbers of German tourists to our shores each year.

Against the backdrop of strong and longstanding friendly relations between both countries, there was one clear message emanating from these meetings: that there was a real opportunity for increased German investment in Trinidad and Tobago. Ambassador Nicholas used the occasion to review potential areas of new investment in the fields of tourism, including medical tourism, and trade, as well as to expound on the attributes which make Trinidad and Tobago a sound choice for long-term German investment.

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