Trinidad and Tobago


Capital: Port of Spain

Population: 1,223,916 (July 2014 CIA est.)

Surface area: 5,128 sq km

Currency: Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TTD)

GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $20,300 (2013 CIA est.)

First colonized by the Spanish, the islands came under British control in the early 19th century. The islands’ sugar industry was hurt by the emancipation of the slaves in 1834. Manpower was replaced with the importation of contract laborers from India between 1845 and 1917, which boosted sugar production as well as the cocoa industry. The discovery of oil on Trinidad in 1910 added another important export. Independence was attained in 1962. The country is one of the most prosperous in the Caribbean thanks largely to petroleum and natural gas production and processing. Tourism, mostly in Tobago, is targeted for expansion and is growing. The government is coping with a rise in violent crime. (CIA 2014)

Economy – Overview:
Trinidad and Tobago has earned a reputation as an excellent investment site for international businesses and has one of the highest per capita incomes in Latin America. Economic growth between 2000 and 2007 averaged slightly over 8%, significantly above the regional average of about 3.7% for that same period; however, GDP has slowed down since then and contracted during 2009-2011 due to depressed natural gas prices and changing markets. Growth had been fueled by investments in liquefied natural gas, petrochemicals, and steel with additional upstream and downstream investment planned. Trinidad and Tobago is the leading Caribbean producer of oil and gas, and its economy is heavily dependent upon these resources but it also supplies manufactured goods, notably food products and beverages, as well as cement to the Caribbean region. Oil and gas account for about 40% of GDP and 80% of exports, but only 5% of employment. Oil production has declined over the last decade as the country focused the majority of its efforts on natural gas. However, declining reserves, lack of government investment in the sector, and the changing global gas market raises concern for the long-term growth of the country’s energy sector. Although Trinidad and Tobago enjoys cheap electricity from natural gas, the renewable energy sector has recently garnered increased interest. The country is also a regional financial center with a well-regulated and stable financial system. Other sectors the Government of Trinidad and Tobago targeted for increased investment and projected growth include tourism, agriculture, information and communications technology, and shipping. The economy benefits from a growing trade surplus with the US. The US is Trinidad and Tobago’s leading trade partner. The previous MANNING administration benefited from fiscal surpluses fueled by the dynamic export sector; however, declines in oil and gas prices have reduced government revenues, challenging the current government’s commitment to maintaining high levels of public investment. Crime and bureaucratic hurdles continue to be the biggest deterrents for attracting more foreign direct investment and business. The government’s 2013 budget aims to boost revenue through increased taxation and competitiveness. (CIA, 2014)

Major Export Commodities: petroleum and petroleum products, liquefied natural gas (LNG), methanol, ammonia, urea, steel products, beverages, cereal and cereal products, sugar, cocoa, coffee, citrus fruit, vegetables, flowers

Remittances inflows: US $126 million (World Bank 2012 est.)

Human Development Index 2013 ranking: 67 out of 186 countries (UNDP 2013)

Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners:
US $4,330,000.
Major development partners include: E.U. Institutions, Canada, United States, France, IDB Sp. Fund (OECD 2010)

Total External Debt: US $4.823 billion (31 December 2013 CIA est.)

Life Expectancy at Birth: 72.29 years (CIA 2014)

Environmental Indicators:
Endangered Species (as a % of all species): 6.8
Forested Area (percentage of land area): 44.1
CO2 Emissions (tonnes per capita): 37.4
(UNDP 2013)

United Nations membership date: 18 September 1962

New York Mission:
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to the United Nations
820 Second Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, N.Y.10017 USA
Telephone: (212)-697-7620, -7621, -7622, -7623
Fax: 212-682-3580

CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency.
World Development Indicators. World Bank
Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Human Development Report 2013. United Nations Development Programme.

Updated January 2015