Exporting guide to Trinidad and Tobago

Overview

The wealthiest country in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) with a GDP of US$ 24.1 billion (World Bank 2019), Trinidad and Tobago has the most active manufacturing sector in the Caribbean and a successful petrochemical industry. The country is the UK’s 100th largest trading partner.

Trade with the UK

Total UK exports to Trinidad and Tobago were £223 million at the end of Q1 2020. UK’s exports of goods increased by 43.3% in the 12 months to August 2020 compared to the same period the previous year (ONS, 2020). There is a growing demand for UK goods in Trinidad and Tobago, which UK businesses looking to export could benefit from.

Digitisation

Digitisation is a key theme for the government. This will affect all sectors and provide opportunities and demand for UK expertise associated with cyber security, business processes, digital marketplaces, among others.

Cultural centre

Trinidad and Tobago: at a glance

Currency

Trinidad and Tobago dollar

Business language

English

GDP per capita

$15,201

The UK is $47,203 (IMF, 2021, projected figures)

Economic growth

-0.1%

(IMF, 2021, projected figure)

Time zone

GMT -4

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Opportunities for exporters

Around 400 multinational companies have physical offices in Trinidad and Tobago, including over 50 British companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, BP, Association of Business Executives, RioMed, Unilever and G4S Secure Solutions.

Check for trade barriers

Trade barriers, such as tariffs or taxes, can raise costs, cause delays, or even stop you from exporting. Check for any issues that may impact your business when exporting.

See current trade barriers

See resolved trade barriers

Check duties and customs

Find information on how to export goods from the UK. View the duties, rules, restrictions, and the documents you need for your products.

See current duties and customs procedures

Doing business in Trinidad and Tobago

Preparing to export

The UK has a double taxation agreement with Trinidad and Tobago, meaning the same income is not taxed twice.


VAT

If you are registered for VAT, it may be possible to zero-rate the goods you export to Trinidad and Tobago, provided certain conditions are met.

VAT is applied to both goods and services in Trinidad and Tobago and is included in the final price of the product. VAT is applied at a rate of 12.5%.

Individuals or businesses that sell goods or services worth $500,000 Trinidad and Tobago dollars or more in a 12 month period must register for VAT.

Regulations

There are several governmental regulation agencies in Trinidad and Tobago including:

Labelling and packaging

Imported goods should show the country of origin and name of the importer. Information should be in English.

The Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards and Chemistry, Food and Drugs Division of the Ministry of Health can provide specific labelling requirements.

Trade barriers

Check for any reported barriers to trading with Trinidad and Tobago.

Report any trade barriers that are affecting your business so we can help fix them.

Operating in Trinidad and Tobago

Intellectual property

Trinidad and Tobago’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) manages intellectual property (IP) rights.

As a first step, we advise you to speak to an intellectual property lawyer if you think you need patent protection when exporting.

Payment terms

30 to 90 day payment terms will be expected. The most common means of payment in Trinidad and Tobago are cash, cheques, credit and debit cards, and electronic transfers.

Investment promotion and protection agreement (IPPA)

The UK has a strong foreign direct investment (FDI) position in Trinidad and Tobago. Both governments have signed an agreement to help protect UK companies' FDI and the interests of associated nationals in Trinidad and Tobago, and vice versa.

Entry requirements

UK visitors can enter Trinidad and Tobago and stay for up to 3 months without a visa.

For work-related activities, you can enter the country for up to 30 days without a work permit, once during any consecutive 12 month period. A work permit is required beyond this.

You can apply for work permits and work permit extensions through TTBizLink. Online applications will be processed within 14 working days.

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.