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Trinidad and Tobago: Doing business and staying in touch

Doing Business in Trinidad and Tobago

Lightweight suits or 'shirt jacks' should be worn. It is normal to shake hands and exchange business cards. The country has some of the best and newest conference facilities in the Caribbean, and hosted both the 5th Summit of the Americas (SOTA) meeting and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2009.

Office Hours

Mon-Fri 0800-1630.

Economy

The oil and gas industry has been the most important in Trinidad and Tobago for some time. In the summer of 2003, Trinidad signed a landmark agreement with nearby Venezuela, one of the world's largest producers, to collaborate in all aspects of the oil and gas industries. Oil and gas stability, along with ties with Venezuela look to be lucrative for the country in the long-term future. Apart from oil and gas, Trinidad has the world's largest deposits of asphalt. The non-oil industrial sector is concentrated in relatively new industries established with oil and gas revenues, such as plastics and electronics. The agricultural sector is small, with sugar cane, coffee, cocoa and citrus fruits as the main commodities. The government has also sought to address historic under-investment in the tourism industry, a promising part of the economy which has undergone steady growth. The islands now cater to about 400,000 visitors annually; the industry is worth about US$275 million to the Trinidadian economy. Ecotourism is a sector which has seen a big lift, especially after Tobago was voted best ecotourism destination at the 2009 World Travel Awards. External debt has been substantially reduced. The economy grew by around 12% in 2006, while unemployment fell to a record low of 5.9%. Despite being hard-hit by the global financial crisis of 2009, the country had the diversity of economic resources in place to see it well on the road to recovery. A member of the Caribbean trading bloc, CARICOM, Trinidad & Tobago is the most prosperous of the Caribbean nations and sees itself is a leading financial light in the region.

GDP

US$21.2 billion (2009).

Main exports

Petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas, asphalt, manufactured goods, food and beverages.

Main imports

Machinery, mineral fuels, manufactured goods, food and live animals.

Main trading partners

USA, Venezuela, Brazil, Jamaica, Spain, and Germany.

Keeping in Touch in Trinidad and Tobago

Telephone

The international dialling code is +868. There are no area codes. In Tobago, international telephone calls can be made from the national communications provider, TSTT. Many public phone booths take phonecards which can be bought from local shops and TSTT.

Mobile Phone

Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Coverage is available in most of Trinidad and Tobago. Main networks are Telecommunications Services of Trinidad & Tobago (TSTT) AND Digicel.

Internet

There are numerous internet cafés on the islands. Piarco International Airport, as well as Rituals Coffee Shops across the country, have Wi-Fi access, as well as an increasing number of other locations. Rates in internet cafes start at around TT$6; access in libraries is free.

Media

The government generally respects press freedom, which is enshrined in the constitution. There are five free-to-air TV channels (NCC, CCN TV6 (privately run and dominating the national ratings), Gayelle, CNC3 and C-TV. Another seven stations are available by cable. There are 39 radio stations (37 FM; 2 AM). Three leading daily newspapers are published: the Expres, the Guardian and Newsday.

Post

The main post office is on Wrightson Road, Port of Spain. Airmail to Western Europe takes up to two weeks; incoming mail can take much longer. The main post office in Tobago is in Market Square, Scarborough.

Post Office hours

Mon-Fri 0800-1200 and 1300-1630.