flag Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago: Investing

FDI in Figures

UNCTAD lists Trinidad and Tobago among the five bottom economies in Latin America and the Caribbean region. According to the UNCTAD'S 2021 World Investment Report, FDI inflows fell from USD 184 million in 2019 to USD -439 million in 2020, with a severe impact in the energy industry, which accounts for approximately half of GDP. This decrease was mainly caused by the global economic and health crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike intracompany loans, equity capital and reinvested earnings were down sharply in the country. The total stock of FDI remained high at USD 8 billion in 2020. Traditionally, hydrocarbons, petrochemicals and metals are the sectors that attract most FDI while the main investing countries include the US, China, the UK and Canada.

Trinidad and Tobago ranked 105th out of 190 countries in the World Bank's last Doing Business report, published in 2020, the same as the previous edition. The country benefits from an English-speaking population, a stable political system and access to cheap energy. The relatively flexible labour market facilitates the matching of jobs with available workers. Property rights are well protected. The judiciary is independent but somewhat subject to political pressures. The Foreign Investment Act does not discriminate against foreign investors and does not limit their ownership rights (although a license is required to own more than a 30% of a public company). However, factors that discourage foreign investment include difficult weather conditions and the country's heavy dependence on oil prices on the international market. Aware of the very limited scale of economic diversification, the government seeks to enhance local productive capabilities by attracting in FDI to energy (petrochemicals in particular) and non-energy (tourism, agri-food, finance, etc.) sectors. In fact, the government has created an investment promotion agency, InvesTT. To further promote investment, authorities seek to establish a favourable legal context for the development of public-private partnerships aimed at increasing the quality of the country’s infrastructures. Indeed, there have been some significant investments made in the country in recent years. China, in particular, has been tightening its relations with Trinidad and Tobago, with the two countries signing a Belt and Road memorandum and the Asian giant carrying on several projects in the Caribbean country (like a USD 500 million dry-dock and a USD 102 million industrial park in La Brea).

 

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 201920202021
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 184-103342
FDI Stock (million USD) 8,455.38,352.58,694.1
Number of Greenfield Investments* 3.01.02.0
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 81138

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
30%
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: October 2022