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Shinzo Abe discusses possible investments in T&T

Monday, July 28, 2014    

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday began an official visit to Trinidad and Tobago, holding talks with Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar.

A statement issued afterwards said that the two leaders discussed a wide range of issues including possible Japanese investment in the oil-rich twin island Republic and the possibility of Port of Spain opening an embassy in Tokyo.

Abe, whose first ever visit here, forms part of his trip to Latin America and the Caribbean, will also meet with Caribbean Community (Caricom) leaders today for talks that the Guyana-based Caricom Secretariat said would include areas such as climate change, technical cooperation, trade and investment.

The Caricom Secretariat said that the half day summit is also expected to provide an opportunity for discussions on the upcoming Third United Nations Conference on Small islands States to be held in Samoa in September.

"The summit provides a timely opportunity to advance Caricom's priorities in these areas and for fostering solidarity between Caricom and Japan," the statement said.

Abe, who was met on arrival here by Foreign Minister Winston Dookeran, expressed his gratitude to the Trinidad and Tobago Government for its decision to waive entry visa requirements for Japanese nationals coming here to conduct business for a maximum period of 90 days.

According to the statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister, the two Government leaders discussed the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) which establishes international standards for the movement of conventional arms and ammunition across borders. Both Japan and Trinidad and Tobago signed the treaty in 2013.

"In the meeting, Prime Minister Persad Bissessar sought the support of the Japanese Government to support Trinidad and Tobago's bid to host the ATT Secretariat," the statement said, adding that Port of Spain has also "recognised Japan's and Trinidad and Tobago's bid for non-permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council".

The statement noted that during the discussions Prime Minister Abe raised the matter of deepening bilateral relations and requested that Trinidad and Tobago consider opening an embassy in Tokyo.

"The prime minister promised to immediately engage in discussions with the minister of foreign affairs on this issue.

"Discussions between the two prime ministers also focused on Trinidad and Tobago as an attractive destination for trade and investment, in particular, the recent launch of the Tamana Intech Park, the first science and technology park in the Caribbean."

Prime Minister Persad Bissessar has encouraged Japanese firms to take up residency, particularly firms involved in the areas of ICTs, Clean Technologies, and Agro-processing.

The statement said that Minister of Trade, Industry, Investment and Communications Vasant Bharath would pursue discussions with relevant members of the delegation during their stay.

"The Japanese prime minister agreed to consider further areas of cooperation in such ventures," the statement said, quoting Prime Minister Persad Bissessar as noting the "positive impact on the South-Western peninsula with regard to job creation by the introduction of the dimethyl ether project, which has been established by the Massy Group, the Mitsubishi Corporation, and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical".

The US$850-million project is situated at la Brea, south of here.

The statement said that Japan would also host the fourth Japan/Caricom Foreign Ministers Forum. It gave no date.

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