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27 April, 2021updated 12 Oct 2021 05:27

The state of play: FDI in Trinidad and Tobago

Although a priority for the two-island nation's government, FDI in Trinidad and Tobago has some obstacles to overcome to attract more investors.

By Marina Leiva


Trinidad and Tobago’s maritime industries form a big part of the country’s appeal to foreign investors. (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Ranking at the bottom for foreign direct investment (FDI) within economies in the Latin America and Caribbean region, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) World Investment Report 2020, Trinidad and Tobago offers a stable political system and an educated workforce, making it a promising destination for foreign investors.

As well as that, the US State Department’s Investment Climate Report 2020 points at the following selling points for FDI in Trinidad and Tobago:

• A well-capitalised and profitable commercial banking system and insurance industry. • An established rule of law. • An independent judicial system that is substantively fair. • In certain sectors, lack of domestic competition. • No foreign ownership limits.

On the other side of the coin, the report points at the following downsides when it comes to locating businesses in the country:

• Foreign exchange shortages that delay payments to foreign companies. • A widespread perception of corruption among public officials. • A lack of transparency in public procurement. • Inefficient and complicated government bureaucracy. • Time-consuming resolution of legal conflicts, such as enforcement of contracts. • High levels of violent crime.

All in all, FDI in Trinidad and Tobago is encouraged by the government, and the country’s investment promotion agency, InvestTT, lists manufacturing, ICT, maritime, tourism and real estate as the main sectors for foreign investors.

In line with this push for FDI in Trinidad and Tobago, the government provides a wide range of incentives to attract investors, from tax incentives for large-scale manufacturers or processing enterprises to free zones and incentives for creative industries, as well as across sectors.


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