Trade Minister, Ken Valley, making the statement yesterday at the weekly post-Cabinet briefing said: "The background to this decision is that for some time the industry has been making representation to the Government with respect to the perceived shortage of cement, aggregate and steel in the market." Valley also admitted to talks of establishing another cement plant here in Trinidad and Tobago.
However, concern was immediately raised by reporters as to the opening-up of the market to cement, steel and aggregate of inferior quality, given disturbing reports of poor quality cement and steel out of Asia. Valley assured that the Bureau of Standards "will have to be beefed up" to accommodate the higher capacity and increased testing.
He said: "TCL has been making the point however, that there’s no cement shortage... TCL will have to prove that case to the Secretariat and the issue is their supplying a minimum of 75 per cent of the requirement in the Caribbean.
"What we’re attempting to do... is to increase the supply or remove the bottleneck with respect to the supply of cement, aggregate and steel, given what is happening in the construction sector... its rapid growth." Meanwhile, Valley also announced that a facilitation company/office is going to be set up in Cuba which is to assist in boosting trade between Cuba and Caricom.