Trinidad and Tobago Industry
The industrial sector is important and largely based on natural gas, which is both raw material and provides cheap energy. In the country there are a number of plants for the production of methanol and ammonia, both of which are extracted from the methane-rich natural gas.
In addition, cement and glass bottles are manufactured, some of which are exported to neighboring countries. They also make drinks, food and a variety of consumer goods.
Compared to other countries in the Caribbean, there are relatively few labor-intensive export industries in Trinidad and Tobago. The clothing industry and the information technology sector are underdeveloped.
- COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of Trinidad and Tobago. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.
Oil and natural gas account for most of the export revenue. Trinidad and Tobago is one of the world’s largest producers of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and also a leading exporter of ammonia and methanol, produced from natural gas.
The energy sector normally accounts for around four-fifths of exports. In the past, the United States was completely dominating the export market for Trinidadian gas, but since the US began to produce increasingly its own shale gas – and gas shortages prevailed elsewhere – more and more of the natural gas is sold to countries in Europe, Asia and South America.
The US also buys crude oil from Trinidad and Tobago and is the country’s largest export market.
Together with other countries in the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago have an Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU (EPA) since 2008 that prevents the country from paying customs duties on goods to the EU countries. In return, the Caribbean countries will gradually phase out tariffs on 87 percent of EU imports by 2033.
Trade has generally shown a surplus since the 1980s, which means that exports are larger than imports. There are exceptions, however.
FACTS – FOREIGN TRADE
US $ 10,311 million (2018)
US $ 6,618 million (2018)
US $ 1,608 million (2018)
Commodity trade’s share of GDP
75 percent (2018)
Main export goods
natural gas, oil, ammonia, methanol, food
Largest trading partner
USA, Caricom, EU, Russia, South Korea, Canada
Thanks to its oil and gas, Trinidad and Tobago are not as dependent on tourism as many other Caribbean countries and the tourism industry is not as developed.
In addition, many travelers are deterred by reports of the many violent crimes, even though the big annual carnival is a tourist magnet. Birdwatchers and divers are also looking here.
A large proportion of visitors from abroad are foreign Trinidadians who visit relatives and friends.
Cruise tourism is also more limited than in other Caribbean countries, although some vessels mainly come to Tobago to benefit from low fuel costs.
Most are tourists from the United States.
FACTS – TOURISM
Number of foreign visitors per year
410 000 (2016)
708,000,000 US dollars (2016)
The share of tourist income from exports
7.7 percent (2016)