Business of Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago possesses an economic capability far beyond that which might be expected from a nation with a population of a mere 1.3 million people. Government, with unstinting resolve, has orchestrated the development of Trinidad and Tobago as the twin gems of the Caribbean, each laden with its own unique set of opportunities. Our people, geographic location, resources and carefully constructed economic policies have all drawn together to put us irrevocably on a trajectory to become the financial center of the Caribbean and the Gateway of the Americas.
The opportunities for investment in Trinidad and Tobago span a wide range of industries. The energy sector with significant proven reserves of both oil and natural gas is the leading economic sector. Petrochemicals, through which our natural gas reserves are being monetized is another lucrative sector. We are home to several multi-national corporations such as Amoco, Arcadian, Cable and Wireless, Citibank, Conoco, Enron, Ferrostaal Aktiengefellfchaft, Fujitsu-ICL, IBM, Nestle, Norsk Hydro, Nucor, Pepsico, Scotiabank and Texaco.
Tobago had its own Legislative Council, Laws and a Governor, appointed by Britain, thus, its political and economic confines were dictated from Britain.
This changed in 1876 the British institutionalised Crown Colony Government in Trinidad and Tobago was made an administrative associate colony then later amalgamated to Trinidad.
The Trinidad and Tobago coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI) is an operational institution as well as a national business support organization that brings together all services sector organizations and associations. Basically, it is an alliance of professional services associations and organizations.
The Tax System
Principal Taxes The principal taxes in Trinidad and Tobago are income tax, corporation tax, business levy, various petroleum taxes, value added tax (VAT), withholding tax and customs and excise duties.
Other taxes include stamp duties, road traffic licence fees, local real estate taxes, and betting and gaming taxes. No inheritance or gift taxes are levied, and there are no death duties.
The Tax System At A Glance
- Investment Regulation - Circumstances Under Which Licences Are Required
- Import and Export Procedures
- Obtaining Commercial Property
- Work Permits, Resident Status, Visas and Passports
- Intellectual Property and Consumer Protection Agency
In recognition of the need to assure investors that their intellectual rights are protected in Trinidad and Tobago, the Government is committed to providing intellectual property laws consistent with international standards. In 1994 and 1995, the country signed a number of multilateral and bilateral intellectual property treaties/ agreements.
- The Uruguay Round Final Act and Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization.
- The Trade Mark Law Treaty.
A wide range of office space is available for rent, both within the central business district of Port of Spain, as well as in areas located around the city. There are several real estate agencies with commercial divisions that can assist a foreign investor in locating office space.
All employees between the ages of sixteen (16) and sixty-five (65) are covered by the National Insurance System, on an earnings-based system of benefits and contributions. Contributions are made, two-thirds by employer and one-third by employee, on a weekly or monthly basis. The employer is responsible for submitting payment of the full amount to the National Insurance Board after deducting the employees’ share from their wages. This contribution is also required of foreign employees.
The total labour force in Trinidad and Tobago comprises approximately 500,000 persons. Approximately 60% of these are male and 40% female. Of those persons employed, approximately 60% are employed in services, 11% in agriculture and about 14% are employed in manufacturing.
Trinidad and Tobago is well poised to become a point for transhipment and trading with South, Central and North America as well as the Caribbean. This is due to its strategic location, air and sea links, its well developed human resource base and the existing as well as new trade agreements with countries in these regions. In particular, the Government is moving fast to establish trading relationships with its South American neighbours.
Most of the amenities that expatriates are used to, are easily available in Trinidad and Tobago. On the debate for WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION AWARD FOR 2012 professor dr. Anton Caragea , President of European Union Council on Tourism and Trade ( ECTT) presented the report titled : TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO : A SUCCESS STORY IN TOURISM proposing TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO as the winner of WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION FOR 2012.
Among the reasons for awarding WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION FOR 2012 to TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO the report outlined: