Along with its business opportunities, Trinidad and Tobago has committed to an open, market-driven economy, fuelled by trade liberalisation and both local and foreign investment. Its strategic location makes it a gateway to the Americas; and natural resources, a highly-educated labour force, excellent infrastructure developments and a pro-investment climate continue to attract business.
The country boasts no foreign exchange controls and 100 percent ownership of locally-registered private companies, with legislation supporting a drive towards an enabling business environment. Trinidad and Tobago is focusing strongly on specific priority areas for investment, including information and communication technology, tourism, and the creative industries.
Tamana Intech Park
The flagship IT project of Trinidad and Tobago's Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Tamana Intech Park is a truly exciting investment opportunity. The park is situated on 1,100 acres on the former Wallerfield airbase, 30 percent of which is green space, offering a quality of work-life environment second-to-none in the world. Just 45 minutes from the Port of Spain and 10 minutes from Piarco International Airport, Tamana also offers investors flexibility in accommodation, including a build-to-suit option and a tenant building with state-of-the-art customisable ICT infrastructure and security systems, high-capacity, flexible and cost effective data management and storage, with added assistance of disaster recovery in the rare event of a disruption.
The country's tourism product is not typical of most island nations. The unique double experience offered by Trinidad and Tobago, which is the result of a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic social structure, is thought by many to be unmatched anywhere else. There are significant opportunities in resort development and conference tourism, with the recent inauguration of the Trinidad and Tobago Conference Bureau.
Along with its strong tourism focus, the sister island of Tobago is also involved in the process of economic diversification. The Tobago House of Assembly has established an eco-industrial and business park at the Cove estate in the south-western peninsular of the island where would-be investors can move good business ideas from conceptualisation to profitable commercialisation and established investors can expand and grow their businesses with the enhanced access to foreign markets and appropriate technology.
Activities at the Cove will include light eco-industrial production – industries targeted for the site include organic and greenhouse agriculture, agro-processing, food and beverage production, IT and other professional services, light manufacturing, intermediate goods processing and natural gas-intensive operations.
At the heart of the Cove's ability to bring investors' ideas to realisation and to grow businesses is the suite of support services it will provide through two business incubators, an innovation centre, a business centre and six factory shell complexes.
Cultural and creative industries
The islands' strong creative sector is receiving renewed focus, and the Trinidad and Tobago Entertainment Company Limited was formed to spearhead the development of entertainment products and talented artistes, who are growing in international brand recognition. At the same time the Film Company Limited is pushing the development of the local film industry, ensuring that Trinidad and Tobago becomes known as both a location venue and a site for high quality pre and post-production facilities.
In terms of FDI in Trinidad and Tobago's economy, the major investors have been the USA, the UK, Canada, Germany and Japan. The country welcomes investment from all nations – particularly in the form of joint ventures and other strategic business alliances between local firms and their foreign counterparts.
Trinidad and Tobago's private sector enterprises received varying amounts of direct investment capital, which represent the changes occurring in the economy: there is an emphasis is on diversifying away from dependence on energy revenues, and towards creating globally competitive products.
The nation is establishing new frontiers in terms of economic growth sectors, and has maintained extremely high levels of political stability amid recent electoral transitions. Business opportunities exist in Trinidad and Tobago in a wide range of sectors such as:
– Maritime – Merchant Marine and Yachting
– Financial Services
– Creative Industries – Film, Music, Fashion, Animation
Trinidad and Tobago investment advantages
Steady economic growth
Trinidad and Tobago is one of the world's fastest growing nations and is developing into the business, commercial and investment hub of the region. The country has experienced 16 consecutive years of economic growth, with a GDP growth rate of 12 percent in 2006.
Strong economic base and diverse economy
Trinidad and Tobago's economy is energy based and also diversified enough into business and services to support any range of financial interests and industrial requirements.
Highly developed air and sea transport
Trinidad and Tobago has two of the largest and most well-developed ports in the Caribbean, at Port of Spain and Point Lisas, handling dry and general cargo, industrial bulk and containers. The two airports, Piarco and Crown Point International, service some of the largest airlines in the world, including American Airlines, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Continental Airlines and Delta Airlines.
Enhanced market access
Trinidad and Tobago, as members of CARICOM, has embarked on a drive to secure greater market access for its manufacturers and service providers through bilateral trade agreements with its Latin neighbours. So far it has arrangements in place with Colombia, Cuba, Costa Rica, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.
Trinidad and Tobago has one of the highest literacy rates in the English speaking Caribbean, and the government provides a range of educational benefits, in particular for tertiary level and technical education.
Lower cost of living
Due to currency value and economies of scale, the cost of living in Trinidad and Tobago compares favourably with other Eastern Caribbean territories.
Diverse range of social activities
Trinidad and Tobago has more to offer than most other Caribbean islands in terms of social activities, nightlife, restaurants, cultural events and festivals, all of which enhance the overall quality of life for the country's citizens.
Ethnically and culturally diverse
Due to its history, Trinidad and Tobago has become famous for its ethnic mix and tolerance of diversity, which ensure that all people are welcomed to live and work on the islands. The solid educational system includes schools which follow both the American and Canadian systems.
Highest concentration of foreign missions in the Caribbean
Along with the United States, the UK and Canada, the presence here of representatives from several major European and Commonwealth countries is testament to the long-standing positive relationships which the international community has enjoyed with Trinidad and Tobago. Essentially, visitors will have immediate contact to their home territories whenever necessary.