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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.


Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela

Natural Resources

petroleum, natural gas, asphalt

Population - distribution

population on Trinidad concentrated in the western half of the island; on Tobago in the southern half

English (official), Caribbean Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), French, Spanish, Chinese
PORT-OF-SPAIN (capital) 34,000 (2014)
Conventional long form
Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
Conventional short form
Trinidad and Tobago
Local long form
Local short form
parliamentary republic
Port of Spain
Geographic coordinates
10 39 N, 61 31 W
Time difference
UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Trinidad and Tobago relies on its energy sector for much of its economic activity, and has one of the highest per capita incomes in Latin America. Economic growth between 2000 and 2007 averaged slightly over 8% per year, significantly above the regional average of about 3.7% for that same period; however, GDP has slowed down since then, contracting during 2009-12, making small gains in 2013 and contracting again in 2014-16. Trinidad and Tobago is buffered by considerable foreign reserves and a sovereign wealth fund that equals about one-and-a-half times the national budget, but the country is in a recession and the government faces the dual challenge of gas shortages and a low price environment.
Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
Real Interest Rate
Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
Current Account Balance
US$ 956,690,781
Labor Force, Total
Employment in Agriculture
Employment in Industry
Employment in Services
Unemployment Rate
Imports of goods and services
US$ 10,635,518,535
Exports of goods and services
US$ 10,105,159,677
Total Merchandise Trade
FDI, net inflows
US$ 406,080,894
Commercial Service Exports
US$ 1,367,702,310
cocoa, dasheen, pumpkin, cassava, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, hot pepper, pommecythere, coconut water, poultry
petroleum and petroleum products, liquefied natural gas, methanol, ammonia, urea, steel products, beverages, food processing, cement, cotton textiles
petroleum and petroleum products, liquefied natural gas, methanol, ammonia, urea, steel products, beverages, cereal and cereal products, cocoa, fish, preserved fruits, cosmetics, household cleaners, plastic packaging
US 28.2%, Brazil 7.1%, Argentina 6.3%, Chile 5.7%, Dominican Republic 5.5%, Barbados 5.3%, Jamaica 4.2% (2015)
mineral fuels, lubricants, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods, food, chemicals, live animals
US 35.6%, China 6.8%, Gabon 6.6% (2015)
Country Risk Rating
Political and economic uncertainties and an occasionally difficult business environment can affect corporate payment behavior. Corporate default probability is appreciable.
Business Climate Rating
The business environment is mediocre. The availability and the reliability of corporate financial information vary widely. Debt collection can sometimes be difficult. The institutional framework has a few troublesome weaknesses. Intercompany transactions run appreciable risks in the unstable, largely inefficient environments rated B.
  • World's fifth largest producer of liquefied natural gas (LNG)
  • Petrochemical industry (world's leading exporter of methanol and ammoniac)
  • Large sovereign funds and currency reserves
  • Leadcountry in CARICOM, the Caribbean Community
  • Well-trained and English-speaking workforce
  • Small economy and reliant on oil and gas
  • Underdeveloped non-energy sector (including agriculture and tourism)
  • Projected decline in energy resources
  • Ineffective public initiatives
  • Inadequate supervision of financial sector
  • Inequitable distribution of wealth, drug traffic related criminality

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