Trinidad and Tobago

GDP (US$ Billion)

22.53 (2018)

World Ranking 113/193

GDP Per Capita (US$)

16,379 (2018)

World Ranking 55/192

Economic Structure

(in terms of GDP composition, 2018)

Services
(55.11%)
Industry
(42.00%)
Agriculture
(1.03%)

External Trade (% of GDP)

N/A (Nil)

Currency (Period Average)

Trinidad and Tobago Dollar

6.75per US$ (2019)

Political System

Multiparty republic

Sources: CIA World Factbook, Encyclopædia Britannica, IMF, Pew Research Center, United Nations, World Bank

  • Trinidad and Tobago is a twin-island republic situated at the southernmost end of the Caribbean archipelago. While it borders the Caribbean Sea to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Gulf of Paria to the west. It is outside the hurricane belt that affects other parts of the Caribbean and boasts two deep-sea harbours – the capital’s Port of Spain and Point Lisas. Taken together, these factors have helped the republic develop into one of South America’s key transshipment hubs. It is also well-suited for providing nearshore services to North America, given that it shares the same time zone as the East Coast of the US and has a native English-speaking population.
     
  • Since gaining independence from the UK and becoming a member of the British Commonwealth in 1962, Trinidad and Tobago has emerged as one of the most industrialised countries in the English-speaking Caribbean. It has been actively involved in establishing trade and investment agreements. These include bilateral investment treaties (BITs) with the US, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, India, mainland China, France, the UK, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and South Korea as well as trade agreements with Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Panama, Colombia, the EU and the US.
     
  • The country’s membership of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and CARICOM’s Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) has helped deepen its economic integration with many of its neighbours and brought it greater economies of scale and opportunities to reach out to talents, goods, services and capital within the region.
     
  • Thanks to its large reserves of oil and gas, Trinidad and Tobago not only has some of the lowest energy costs in the world, but is also a major supplier of liquid natural gas (LNG) to the US, as well as a leading exporter of methanol and ammonia. It is estimated that the country’s energy exploration and production currently accounts for about 40% of its GDP and government revenue, as well as 90% of its exports.
     
  • In 1988, in a bid to diversify its economy and bolster investment in export-driven projects, the government of Trinidad and Tobago established a Free Trade Zone programme. This was intended to attract non-energy based projects that create jobs, develop skills and create external markets for products. Under this programme, the government offers interested and eligible investors generous incentives, including tax exemptions and the freedom to repatriate funds. More information on the investment environment and regulations can be found at InvesTT.
     
  • More recently, the government increased its efforts to encourage foreign investment with a range of incentives specifically focused on non-energy targeted sectors. These include ICT (software design services, BPO and English voice services, and data centres), agriculture & agro-processing (manufacturing and processing of cocoa, coffee bean and coconut), commercial fishing & processing, livestock farming, maritime services (offshore bulk transshipment and dry-docking services), aviation services (aircraft maintenance and repair), creative industries (film studio and animation studio), manufacturing (battery manufacturing, secondary aluminum recycling and LED manufacturing operation) and tourism (hotels and resorts).
     
  • Despite the inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Trinidad and Tobago moderated and turned slightly negative since 2016, Trinidad and Tobago’s FDI stock still ranked 6th-largest among Caribbean countries in 2018, only after British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, the Dominican Republic, Bahamas and Jamaica. According to the mainland Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), mainland China’s total stock (flow) of FDI in Trinidad and Tobago reached US$637 (US$15) million in 2018, up from US$0.8 (nil) million in 2009. Investment from Hong Kong, however, is at present far from significant.
     

Hong Kong’s Trade with Trinidad and Tobago

(US$ mn)

2017

2018

2019

Value

Growth (%)

Value

Growth (%)

Value

Growth (%)

Total Exports

41.7

-7.2

17.6

-57.8

19.3

+9.5

     

Domestic exports

0.8

-45.6

0.6

-29.1

0.9

+43.1

     

Re-exports

40.8

-5.8

17.0

-58.4

18.4

+8.3

Imports

0.9

-88.0

1.0

+11.7

1.2

+19.5

Total Trade

42.6

-18.5

18.6

-56.4

20.4

+10.0

Source: Hong Kong Trade Statistics, Census & Statistics Department

 

Major Export Commodities (2019)

Top Five Commodities in SITC

Share (%)

Telecommunications equipment & parts

30.1

Printed matter

26.9

Computers

16.5

Television receivers

5.6

Edible products and preparations, nes

3.1

Source: Hong Kong Trade Statistics, Census & Statistics Department
 

Major Import Commodities (2019)

Top Five Commodities in SITC

Share (%)

Ferrous waste and scrap; remelting ingots of iron or steel

58.1

Telecommunications equipment & parts

20.6

Non-ferrous base metal waste & scrap

18.7

Waste, parings and scrap, of plastics

2.1

Electric power machinery & parts

0.3

Source: Hong Kong Trade Statistics, Census & Statistics Department

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