Trinidad and Tobago - Market OverviewTrinidad and Tobago - Market Overview
The two islands of Trinidad and Tobago (TT) are located in the Lesser Antilles, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. TT is a high-income developed country with a GDP per capita of over US$15,700 and an annual GDP of US$22 billion. It has the largest economy in the English-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and is the third most populous country with 1.4 million inhabitants.
Energy exploration and production drive TT’s economy, and this sector has historically attracted the most foreign direct investment. The energy sector usually accounts for almost half of GDP and 80 percent of export earnings, but these figures have fallen dramatically since 2015, the result of an ongoing decrease in energy production and a continuing decline in energy prices. TT entered a recession in 2015, and economic growth will likely be depressed through at least the first three quarters of 2017, at which point some energy projects currently underway may provide a return to growth.
TT’s investment climate is generally open and most investment barriers have been eliminated. Major issues affecting companies are an ongoing foreign exchange shortage, inefficient government bureaucracy, crime, poor work ethic in the labor force, and corruption. Some foreign investors have seen the decision-making process for tenders and the subsequent awarding of contracts turn opaque without warning, especially when their company’s interests compete with those of well-connected local firms. TT has an undiversified economy and lacks economies of scale, so it depends on imports.
Despite its challenges, TT is buffered by significant foreign reserves and a sovereign wealth fund. It is also the world’s largest exporter of ammonia and methanol and is the sixth largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Trinidad and Tobago Trade Development and Promotion