flag Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago: Investing

FDI in Figures

According to the UNCTAD's World Investment Report 2023, for the second consecutive year, Trinidad and Tobago experienced a negative FDI inflow in 2022, amounting to -$0.49 billion (after -USD 1 billion one year earlier). Despite this, there were notable announcements of new projects, particularly the significant unveiling of a solar initiative. Shell Renewables Caribbean (Netherlands) and Lightsource (United Kingdom) joined forces to embark on a USD 180 million venture, aiming to establish a solar project generating 148 MW of DC power, translating to an output of 112 MW of AC power. At the end of the same period, the total stock of FDI was estimated USD 8.3 billion, representing around 30% of GDP. Traditionally, hydrocarbons, petrochemicals, and metals are the sectors that attract most FDI while the main investing countries include the U.S., China, the UK, and Canada.

Trinidad and Tobago sustains an economy reliant on trade, marked by an overall welcoming environment for investment. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago (GoTT) is actively pursuing measures to enhance intellectual property protection, harness new financial technologies for better service delivery, simplify the tax system, and streamline customs procedures. Although it operates as a free market, the GoTT actively participates in economic development through various state enterprises. Formal investment barriers have largely been removed, with foreign investors not mandated to engage in joint ventures or yield management control to local entities. There are no constraints on reinvestment or repatriation of earnings or capital. While the judicial system, inclusive of arbitration and mediation centers, prioritizes contract sanctity, it is known for its sluggishness, affecting both domestic and foreign matters. However, factors that discourage foreign investment include a poorly diversified economy heavily dependent on gas and petrochemical revenues, difficult weather conditions, and the country's heavy dependence on oil prices on the international market. Moreover, since 2021, the country is on the European list of "non-cooperative tax jurisdictions". InvesTT serves as the principal agency facilitating foreign investment in non-energy sectors. According to the Foreign Investment Act of 1990, foreign investors are allowed full ownership of share capital in private companies, subject to licensing requirements for ownership exceeding 30% in public companies. Trinidad and Tobago employs an investment screening mechanism for foreign investment, particularly for projects seeking sector-specific incentives, notably in tourism. The country ranks 76th among the 180 economies on the 2023 Corruption Perception Index and 79th out of 184 on the latest Index of Economic Freedom.


Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors

  Trinidad and Tobago Latin America & Caribbean United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 4.0 4.1 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 9.0 5.2 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 8.0 6.7 9.0 5.0

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action.

Foreign Direct Investment 202020212022
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 1,056-1,008-493
FDI Stock (million USD) 10,398.28,851.18,358.0
Number of Greenfield Investments*
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 1126188

Source: UNCTAD - Latest available data

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.


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Tax Rates

Value Added Tax (VAT)
12.5% (standard rate).
Basic food items, agricultural supplies, crude oil, natural gas, hotel accommodation and yachting services to non-residents, and exported goods and services are zero-rated.
Financial services, medical services, real estate brokerage, residential rentals, imported inputs of highly capital-intensive manufacturers, and educational services are exempt.
Company Tax
Withholding Taxes
Dividends: 0 (residents)/5% (distribution made to a parent company)/10%, Interests: 0 (residents)/15% (non-residents), Royalties: 0 (residents)/15% (non-residents).
Social Security Contributions Paid By Employers
National Insurance contributions vary. The employer's contribution is capped at TTD 276.20 per week.
Other Domestic Resources
Inland Revenue Division of the Ministry of Finance
Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the taxes and mandatory contributions.

Individual Taxes

Personal income tax
Income below TTD 1 million 25%
Income in excess of TTD 1 million 30%

Country Comparison For Corporate Taxation

  Trinidad and Tobago Latin America & Caribbean United States Germany
Number of Payments of Taxes per Year 39.0 28.2 10.6 9.0
Time Taken For Administrative Formalities (Hours) 210.0 327.5 175.0 218.0
Total Share of Taxes (% of Profit) 40.5 46.8 36.6 48.8

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

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Investment Opportunities

Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Inter-American Development Bank, Tenders in South America
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide
Setting Up a Company
Consult Doing Business Website, to know about procedures to start a Business in Trinidad and Tobago.
Useful Resources
Evolving TecKnologies and Enterprise Development Company Limited

Business Setup Procedures

Setting Up a Company Trinidad and Tobago Latin America & Caribbean
Procedures (number) 7.00 8.00
Time (days) 10.50 25.22

Source: Doing Business.


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Latest Update: May 2024