AFTER three hours of discussions, the Trinidad and Tobago Scrap Iron Dealers Association (TTSIDA) has come to a "gentleman's agreement" with their foreign competitors for them (the foreigners) to desist from purchasing scrap iron outside of registered scrapyards.
The TTSIDA argue the foreign dealers, who were initially their main customers, stopped purchasing from them and began buying directly from the association's suppliers, at a higher price.
The association said this cannot be allowed as that would take away from their livelihood and are seeking the Government's assistance.
At a meeting at the Ministry of Trade and Industry at Nicholas Tower, Port of Spain, yesterday, TTSIDA president Allan Ferguson and his executive met with adviser to the Minister, Edwina Leacock and the foreign dealers.
Following the meeting, Ferguson said there would be another meeting with the stakeholders.
He also informed members of the media that a proposal for new legislation, which would ensure that foreign scrap dealers refrain from purchasing scrap iron, would be taken to Cabinet in the coming weeks.
TTSIDA first vice-president Erros Seejattan described the meeting as "productive". He added that the influx of foreign dealers has been "jeopardising our livelihood".
Asked whether it was just fear of competition that was driving the TTSIDA, Ferguson said: "It is not that we are afraid of competition; these are the people we were selling to all the time, so the price that they are paying (for scrap iron), we would not be able to pay that price. We can't compete with that, which is why we want to be the ones who have the scrapyards in Trinidad and the foreign dealers would stick to exporting."