PROFILE: Trinidad & Tobago

Trinidad Flag.jpg
Trinidad & Tobago Map.jpg

Practical Tips for doing business in Trinidad and Tobago

  • Normal business day/ hours - Monday through Friday - 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM.

  • Shake hands and exchange business cards.

  • Government generally respects press freedom which is enshrined in their constitution.

  • Although English is the official language, most speak Trinidad English, a creole language. A few people, mostly in rural areas, speak a French-derived creole, Spanish, Hindi, or Mandarin.

  • Numerous internet cafes on the islands.

Brief History

  • 1498 - Claimed by Christopher Columbus for Spain

  • 1532 - Spanish colony was established 

  • 1802 - Formally ceded by Spain to Great Britain

  • 1814 - Officially came under British control; brought in slaves for sugar industry

  • 1834 - Slaves were emancipated

  • 1845-1917 - Contract laborers came from India which was then a British colony

  • 1888 - Tobago was amalgamated with Trinidad

  • 1910 - Oil discovered

  • 1962 - Trinidad and Tobago achieved full independence from Great Britain

 

Location - In the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela

 

General Information

  • Government: Parliamentary republic

  • Capital City: Port of Spain

  • Literacy Rate: 99%

  • Size: Slightly smaller than Delaware

  • Population: 1.4M (2022 est.)

  • Population Growth: 0.14% (2022 est.)

  • Population Distribution: Population on Trinidad concentrated in the western half of the island.  In the island of Tobago, population is concentrated in the southern half.

 

Economy

The country is one of the most prosperous in the Caribbean because of its petroleum production and processing.  Tourism, mostly in Tobago, is growing. They have one of the highest per capita incomes in Latin America, mainly because of energy reserves.   

 

Unemployment Rate: 4.81% (2021 est.) 

Currency Exchange Rate: 1 US Dollar = 6.76 Trinidad Dollars (August 15, 2022)

GDP: $21.39 B (2021 est., same as in 2020)

Labor Force: 642,413 (2021)

Labor Force Breakdown: Agriculture - 0.4%, Industry - 47.8%, Services - 51.7% (2017 est.)

 

Major Industries

Petroleum and petroleum products, liquefied natural gas, methanol, ammonia, urea, steel products, beverages, food processing, cement, cotton textiles

 

International Trade

 

Total Product Exports: $8.6B (2021)

Major Product Exports (2021)

  • Mineral fuels including oil - 27.3%

  • Inorganic chemicals - 19.9%

  • Organic chemicals - 18.3%

  • Iron, steel -9.8%      

  • Fertilizers - 8.7%

  • Ships, boats - 3.2%

  • Machinery including computers - 2.4%

  • Beverages, spirits, vinegar - 1.8%

  • Cereal/milk preparations - 1.1%

  • Miscellaneous food preparations - 0.8%

 

Major Product Export Partners (2021)

  • US - 41.6%

  • Guyana - 6.7%

  • Mexico - 4.3%

  • France - 3.7%

  • Belgium - 3.6%

  • Colombia - 3.4%

     

Total Product Imports - $3.23B (2017)

 

Major Product Imports (2017)

  • Refined Petroleum - $643 M

  • Cars - $192MM

  • Iron Ore - $176M

  • Excavation Machinery - $153M

  • Special Purpose Ships - $ 135M

 

Major Import Partners (2017)

  • US - $2.18B

  • China - $340M

  • Guyana - $282M

  • Brazil - $214M

  • UK - $188M

     

English Language Online News Sites

 

Sampling of Companies

Atlantic LNG - natural gas exploration and production - www.atlanticlng.com - Point Fortin

Atlas Engineering Ltd. - general contractor - www.searchintt.com/trinidad/atlas-engineering - San Fernando

Bermudez Biscuit Company - confectionery foods - www.bermudezcaribbean.com – Port of Spain 

Carib Brewery-brewery - www.caribbrewery.com - San Juan

Ramchand Structural Steel Fabricating Co. Ltd. - structural steel fabricating - www.ramchandssfcl.com - Claxton Bay

Varma Steel - steel products - www.varmasteel.com - Claxton Bay

Flavorite Ice Cream - dairy products - www.flavoritefoodstl.com - San Juan

Trinidad Cement Ltd – cement - www.tcl.co.tt - Claxton Bay

Kiss Baking Company - baked goods - www.kissbaking.com - Chaguanas 

Massy Gas Products Trinidad Ltd. - chemical production - www.massygasproducts.com/tt - Point Lisas

National Gas Co. of Trinidad and Tobago - natural gas - www.ngc.co.tt - Point Lisas  (Note: government-owned)

House of Angostura - alcoholic beverages - www.angostura.com - Laventille

Petrotrin - oil and gas exploration and production - www.petrotrin.com - Pointe-a-Pierre

S.M. Jaleel and Company – beverages - www.smjaleel.net - Fyzabad

Solo Beverage Company - soft drinks - www.solobev.com - Fyzabad

UDeCOTT - heavy construction - www.udecott.com - Port of Spain  (Note: government-owned)

Trinidad and Tobago Fine Cocoa Company - confectionery products - www.ttfinecocoa.com - Port of Spain

Capital Signal Co. Ltd. - engineering, construction, services for ports, rivers, coasts, dredging, survey etc. - www.capitalsignal.com - Carenage

 

National Holidays - 2022

  • January 1 - New Year’s Day  

  • March 30 - Spiritual Baptist Day

  • April 15 - Good Friday

  • April 17 - Easter Day

  • April 18 - Easter Day

  • May 2 - Eid-ul- Fitr (End of Ramadan)

  • May 30 - Indian Arrival Day

  • June 16 - Corpus Christi

  • June 19 - Labor Day​

  • August 1 - Emancipation Day

  • August 31 - Independence Day

  • October 24 - Disati

  • December 25 - Christmas Day

  • December 26 - Christmas

  • December 27 - Boxing Day

 

By Paul Mastilak

InterMark3, Inc.