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T&T good for business

Thursday, October 12, 2017
PriceSmart chairman:
Robert Price, chairman of PriceSmart Inc, delivers the feature address during the TTMA Excellence in Manufacturing awards ceremony and dinner. PICTURE DARREN RAMPERSAD

T&T remains an ideal spot for US headquartered PriceSmart to do business.

PriceSmart Inc is the largest operator of membership warehouse clubs in Central America and the Caribbean.

Robert Price, chairman of the Board of PriceSmart, spoke about how business friendly T&T was as a venue for them to conduct business.

“We are pleased to be in T&T. I have been to T&T many times and I have friends here. You have a wonderful country, your hospitality is great. We love being in business here. It’s a great place to do business.

This is one of the highest performing markets we have in our entire company.”

PriceSmart has four locations in T&T.

“We are well accepted here as we bring value to our members. We think our first mission is to help the small business people or any business people who run their business better by giving them good merchandise re-sale for their product supplies. T&T is the hub of our business throughout the English-speaking Caribbean.”

Price spoke two Tuesdays ago at the Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA) Excellence in Manufacturing award ceremony, held at the Hyatt Regency hotel, Port-of-Spain.

He said they are currently sourcing about $120 million in products locally and they are exporting about $21 million products from T&T.

He added they are always trying to improve their services.

“Our buyers here are sourcing products form many, many local suppliers and we are bringing in new products. We have a private label here called Member Selection. We recently added powdered milk, paper products and we will soon be introducing bottled water from Blue Waters.”

He said one of the key objectives is to increase local product sourcing and exports to other PriceSmart locations.

“We are hopeful that certain products sourced from the USA or other countries can be replaced by products sourced in T&T. We would love to see more products with the label Made in Trinidad. That would be fantastic. Everyone wins when there are more products made here. The result: jobs, better pricing for people who live here and strengthening of the T&T economy.”

Global economy

Price also spoke about the changes in the global economy and its impact on manufacturing.

“There are changes that are going on everywhere that will have dramatic effects on manufacturing in general.”

He referred to a book he read recently by New York Times columnist Tom Friedman called, Thank you For Being Late.

The other book, The Second Machine Age, he read was written by two MIT professors, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee.

He said in Friedman’s book, he spoke about three factors that are dominating the world.

“One is Moore’s Law, which has to do with the geo-metric increase in the power of computers to process information. The second is international connectivity and the way people are going to be connected. Third is climate change and the environment. As business leaders these are factors that we will need to take into account.”

He said the Second Machine Age book deals with the idea that the first machine age was the Industrial Revolution.

“What that really means is that we are in the second machine age. This means that technology will have enormous impact on winners and losers in the future economies in the world.”

He admitted that the United States is “deficient” in many ways in dealing with these changes.

“Education and how we educate our young people, making sure that we have the right schools is absolutely key to the future.


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