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Overview of Trinidad & Tobago John Ries, Economic Section Chief March 11, 2009. Area. 5128 sq km Slightly smaller than Delaware. Population/Ethnicity. Population 1.3 Million Ethnic Diversity 40.3% East Indian 39.5% African descent 18.4% Mixed 0.6% Caucasian 1.2% Chinese/Other.

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Overview of Trinidad & TobagoJohn Ries, Economic Section ChiefMarch 11, 2009

Embassy of the United States of America Trinidad & Tobago


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Area

  • 5128 sq km

  • Slightly smaller than Delaware


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Population/Ethnicity

  • Population 1.3 Million

  • Ethnic Diversity

    • 40.3% East Indian

    • 39.5% African descent

    • 18.4% Mixed

    • 0.6% Caucasian

    • 1.2% Chinese/Other


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Religious Diversity

  • 26% Roman Catholic

  • 25% Protestant (Anglican, Pentecostal

    Presbyterian, Baptist, etc.)

  • 23% Hindu

  • 6% Muslim


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Political Overview

  • Parliamentary system

    • President: George Maxwell Richards

    • Prime Minister: Patrick Manning

    • Bicameral Parliament

  • Political Parties

    • People’s National Movement (PNM)

    • United National Congress Alliance (UNC-A)

    • Congress of the People (COP)

  • Economic Policy Continuity


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Economic Overview

  • 15 years of consecutive real GDP growth

    • 3.4% in 2008

    • 2.0% (projected) in 2009

  • Inflation high but easing – 11.7% headline

  • Exchange rate stability

    • 10-12 months import cover

  • Investment grade credit ratings

    • S&P investment grade risk rating: A-

    • Moody’s: Baa2 status


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Economic Overview

  • Trinidad

    • Energy

    • Financial services

    • Petrochemicals

      • Methanol, ammonia, urea

    • Manufacturing

      • Iron & Steel

      • Food & Beverage

      • Aluminum?

      • Plastics?


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Economic Overview

  • Trinidad

    • Target non-energy sectors:

      • ICT

      • Maritime/yachting

      • Food & beverage

      • Film

      • Fish & fish processing

      • Music & entertainment

      • Printing & packaging


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Economic Overview

  • Tobago

    • Tourism

    • Cove Industrial Estate

    • Natural gas pipeline in 2010


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Energy Overview

  • Oil and gas account for 39.6% of T&T’s GDP and 65% of T&T exports to the US (2007)

    • Natural gas - leading sector since 1999

    • 5th largest exporter of LNG in the world, single largest supplier of LNG to the US

  • Gas-based industries account for another 32% of T&T exports to the US

    • Largest exporter of ammonia presently at 4.5 million tons per year

    • Largest exporter of methanol producing 3 million tons per year for local and foreign consumption

    • T&T exports iron and steel and has plans to add an aluminum smelter and plastics plants


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Trade - Exports

  • Leading exports

    • Natural gas & petroleum

    • Chemicals and Fertilizers (ammonia, methanol, urea)

    • Iron & steel

    • Food & Beverages

  • Value – US $13.8 billion in 2007 (est.)

    • Down 5% from 2006


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Major Export Markets

  • 71% USA

    • Leading beneficiary of Caribbean Basin Initiative

  • 16% CARICOM

    • T&T accounts for ~80% of intra-CARCIOM trade

    • Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME)

    • Pushing negotiations with Central America

    • Proposing accelerated integration with OECS

  • 5% European Union (incl. UK)

    • Party to EU-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement


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Trade - Imports

  • Key imports

    • Machinery & transportation equipment

    • Mineral fuels & lubricants

    • Manufactured goods

    • Food (cereal, vegetables & fruits, dairy products & eggs)

  • Volume – US $10.4 billion in 2007


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Major Import Partners

  • 34% United States

  • 11% Brazil

  • 10% Germany

  • 5% United Kingdom

  • 4% Japan

  • 3% Venezuela


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Public Sector

  • FY-2009 budget ~US$8 billion

    • Cut by US$750 million in November

  • Public Sector Investment Program

    • State companies plan to spend US$1.8 billion in 2009

    • Local content policies proposed but not enacted

    • Moving toward e-auctions


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Economic Crisis: Insulated but not Immune

  • Limited initial impact

    • Large foreign exchange reserves

    • Low debt ratios

    • Banking sector is well capitalized, limited exposure outside Caribbean

  • Export revenue down

  • Implications for mega-projects

  • CL Financial Bailout – US$1.6 billion?


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Outlook

  • Negative Factors

    • Energy sector volatility (but better gas than oil)

    • Crime is on the rise

    • Political stand-off

  • Positive Factors

    • High income – US$14,100 GNI per capita

    • Macroeconomic stability

    • Rising visibility – Summit of the Americas


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We’re Here to Help


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