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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 tobago john ries economic section chief march 11 2009

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

Embassy of the United States of America Trinidad & Tobago

slide2
Area
  • 5128 sq km
  • Slightly smaller than Delaware
population ethnicity
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
religious diversity
Religious Diversity
  • 26% Roman Catholic
  • 25% Protestant (Anglican, Pentecostal

Presbyterian, Baptist, etc.)

  • 23% Hindu
  • 6% Muslim
political overview
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
economic overview
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
economic overview7
Economic Overview
  • Trinidad
    • Energy
    • Financial services
    • Petrochemicals
      • Methanol, ammonia, urea
    • Manufacturing
      • Iron & Steel
      • Food & Beverage
      • Aluminum?
      • Plastics?
economic overview8
Economic Overview
  • Trinidad
    • Target non-energy sectors:
      • ICT
      • Maritime/yachting
      • Food & beverage
      • Film
      • Fish & fish processing
      • Music & entertainment
      • Printing & packaging
economic overview9
Economic Overview
  • Tobago
    • Tourism
    • Cove Industrial Estate
    • Natural gas pipeline in 2010
energy overview
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
trade exports
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
major export markets
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
trade imports
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
major import partners
Major Import Partners
  • 34% United States
  • 11% Brazil
  • 10% Germany
  • 5% United Kingdom
  • 4% Japan
  • 3% Venezuela
public sector
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
economic crisis insulated but not immune
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?
outlook
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
we re here to help
We’re Here to Help
  • Contact the US Embassy’s Economic Section
    • Economic Section Chief, John Ries

(868) 822–5940, riesjn@state.gov

    • Economic Officer, Ebony Custis

(868) 822–5918, custise@state.gov

    • Economic Assistant, Wendy Soulette

(868) 822–5933, soulettew@state.gov