Trinidad and Tobago is the leader in manufacturing in the Caribbean. For the year 2014 it has been projected that the manufacturing sector in this country will have a real output of US$1,242.53 million. This historical leadership has been the result of a combination of several areas of competitive advantage including the cheap cost and ease of availability of energy (electricity and natural gas); the presence of two international ports served by some of the largest shipping lines in the world; the availability of raw materials; the presence of a captive domestic market and the accessibility to numerous regional and international markets through the trade agreements.
Trinidad and Tobago’s manufacturing sector is the country’s 3rd largest contributor to GDP after Energy and Services, and it has grown over the years to include industries across 7 distinct sub sectors.
Food, Beverage and Tobacco Industry is the largest Manufacturing sub-sector contributing to 53% of all manufacturing output and 4.5% of GDP in 2014. This sub-sector includes the production of alcoholic beverages, carbonated beverages, juices, cereals, chocolate, confectionery, canned foods, baked goods and tobacco products. There are over 11,000 persons employed in this sub-sector with approximately 270 registered manufacturers including international brands Nestle, Unilever, Coca-Cola and Glaxo SmithKline.
Reasons to Invest In T&T’s Manufacturing sector:-
Trinidad and Tobago has been ranked 1st for cost effectiveness in Central America and the Caribbean. Electricity rates within Trinidad & Tobago start as low as US$0.03/KWh offering investors access to some of the lowest energy costs in the Western Hemisphere.
Low Operational Costs
Based on a cost comparison by FDI Benchmarks (A service of Financial Times Limited 2015) Trinidad and Tobago is the second cheapest location within the Caribbean and Latin American region when the costs of electricity, water, telecoms and natural gas are compared.
In 2014 Trinidad and Tobago had a workforce of approximately 649,100 persons of whom 56,500 were involved in Manufacturing. This workforce speaks English as a native tongue and there is a high competency of Spanish as the country is only 11kms off the coast of South America.
Trinidad and Tobago has a policy of free tertiary education and this has led to approximately 7,000 tertiary level graduates annually across a wide range of disciplines. The Manufacturing sector benefits from skilled labour trained in Mechanical, Chemical, Instrumentation and Process Engineering, Management Studies and IT related disciplines.
The World Economic Forum in their 2014 – 2015 Global Competitive Index ranked the quality of Management Schools in Trinidad and Tobago as the 33rd best in the world and the quality of the Math and Science education as the 35th best in the world.
Positive Investment climate
The World Bank’s Doing Business 2015 Report listed Trinidad and Tobago as among the top 10 improvers in the world among 21 economies with the most reforms making it easier to do business. This country moved up 12 places overall in the Ease of Doing Business Ranking. Good business practice improvements were recorded in 3 specific doing business indicators –
- Starting a Business increased by 31 percentage points
- Getting Credit by 9 points
- Resolving Insolvency by 54 points.
Investors can also benefit from the existence of fifteen (15) double taxation treaties between Trinidad and Tobago and other countries has as well as the thirteen (13) Bilateral Investment Agreements that are in force.
FDI intelligence 2013
- Free Zones – Manufacturing entities in Trinidad and Tobago can avail themselves of the Free Zones programme that is offered to companies with a significant focus on exports. The Free Zone programme offers significant tax incentives to those companies enrolled in it and the benefits available include Corporation tax exemption, import duties exemption, Value Added Tax exemption, exemption on Withholding Taxes, exemption on Container Examination Fees, exemption on Work Permit fees and exemption on the payment of land and building taxes.
- Fiscal Incentives – Under the Fiscal Incentives Act Chapter 85:01 large scale manufacturing or processing companies established in Trinidad and Tobago can receive an exemption from paying customs duties, Value Added Tax and Withholding Taxes on the costs related to the production of approved products and or services.
- Import Duty Concessions - Manufacturing enterprises are allowed duty free treatment on their raw materials, machinery and equipment and in some cases packaging material based upon the provisions of the country’s Customs Act.
Quick Facts on Trinidad and Tobago’s Manufacturing Sector
Available Raw Materials
With over 100 years of involvement in the energy sector and a four-decade history in the production of downstream natural gas products, Trinidad and Tobago is uniquely positioned as an epicenter of Downstream Energy opportunities within the region. Trinidad and Tobago is one of the largest global exporters of methanol and ammonia from a single site and the largest exporter of methanol and ammonia to the U.S market. Other downstream energy commodities produced in significant quantities include urea, melamine, bitumen and asphalt.
In addition to our own raw materials Trinidad and Tobago’s location offers easy access to mineral rich South American countries including Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and Brazil. Located to the north-east of Venezuela, Trinidad lies 11kms, at its closest point, from the South American mainland and approximately 12 miles off the international shipping lanes to the USA and European Union. Trinidad provides the ideal location for importing raw materials from South American countries for processing and subsequent exportation.
Developed Transport and Logistics links
Trinidad and Tobago is unique amongst Caribbean nations in having the presence of two separate ports capable of handling international containerized cargo as well as other types of cargo such as dry and liquid bulk and RORO carriers. These ports are located in the capital city of Port of Spain and on the Point Lisas Industrial Estate. Apart from the two container ports Trinidad and Tobago has seven (7) other ports and five (5) harbours located throughout the islands to serve the needs of various industrial sectors including an oil refinery, a cement plant and a LNG facility.
In 2013 the Port of Port of Spain was ranked as having the 3rd highest container port throughput in the Caribbean experiencing a 4.2% increase in container traffic from 2012. Shipping lines with regular service to the ports at Port of Spain and Point Lisas include Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), CMA CGM Group, Hapag-Lloyd, Cosco, Zim, Bernuth and Hamburg Sud. Inclusive of these, over 63 shipping lines utilize ports in Trinidad and Tobago transporting containerized cargo to and from the US, Europe, UK and the Far East.
The major export partners with which Trinidad and Tobago trades with include the United States, Chile, Argentina, Spain, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Colombia, Guyana, Jamaica, Netherlands and Suriname
Market Access to consumer market of 947 million persons:
Trinidad and Tobago is a member of the Caricom Customs Union which gives it market access to the 16 million persons located amongst the 15 member nations of Caricom. Caricom has also signed several bilateral trade agreements with various nations and entities and these also offer manufacturers located in Trinidad and Tobago further market access to a global export market of approximately 1.2 billion people. The major trade agreements are:
- Caricom/European Union
- Caricom/Costa Rica
- Caricom/Dominican Republic
Trinidad and Tobago as an individual country has also signed an additional partial scope trade agreement with Panama and there are currently two trade agreements being negotiated between Trinidad and Tobago and Guatemala and El Salvador.
Research and Development
Trinidad and Tobago is home to the main Industrial Research Center in The Caribbean. The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) has been in existence for over 40 years, and through its modern laboratories coupled with highly trained specialist professionals, technologists, technicians, consultants and researchers, provides manufacturers with invaluable services of laboratory and field testing, consulting, research and development and training. Established in 1970 CARIRI is a founding member of the World Association of Industrial and Technological Research Organizations (WAITRO).
Trinidad and Tobago has allocated 8,611 acres of space for industrial and business development. Currently nineteen (19) industrial parks provide ready facilities via 7,203 acres of real estate to the manufacturing industries throughout Trinidad and Tobago.
New real estate options have been established with the Cove Eco Industrial and Business Park in Tobago providing 140 acres of developed land lots and the Tamana InTech Park in Trinidad providing an additional 1,100 acres of real estate. The development of the Piarco Aeropark Park by the Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago would offer 168 acres of prime real estate mere metres from the Piarco International Airport.
Six hundred and seventeen (617) acres have been earmarked for the establishment of an integrated Solar Industrial Park including individual Metallurgical Silicon, Polysilicon, Float Glass and Integrated Photovoltaic manufacturing plants. Privately owned land is also available throughout both islands.
Investment Opportunities exist in the following areas:-
- Pharmaceuticals and other chemicals
- Industrial Gases & Paints
- Glass and Glass Products
- Concrete Products
- Clay bricks and blocks
- Steel Products
- Assembly Type & Related Products
- Textile Garments and Footwear
- Printing and Packaging
- Wood and Related Products
- Medical Device Manufacturing
1] Review of the Economy 2014 – Ministry of Finance, Trinidad and Tobago
 FDI intelligence 2013
 Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago
 IHS Chemical, World Methanol Analysis 2013; FERTECON Ammonia Outlook 2014.
 Infrastructure Services Unit – NRID – ECLAC – United Nations, 2013
 CSAV (Alphaliner-Top 100, Operated fleets as per 05 March 2015
For more information on opportunities in this sector contact:
Ms. Chrystal Bradshaw-Bramble
Tel: 1(868) 675-1989 Ext. 2197