Exporting to Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago is one of the best performing economies in the Caribbean. It is an English-speaking nation, and offers very favourable conditions to UK businesses.

Regional hub

Trinidad and Tobago has positioned itself as a regional hub for business, finance, energy services, transhipment and investment. The government has removed restrictions on foreign investment, foreign exchange control and provided various business incentives. Trade agreements with North, Central and South American countries offer enhanced access to those markets.

UK investor appeal

The country’s economic policies favour trade liberalisation and foreign direct investment. Around 400 multinational companies have physical offices in Trinidad and Tobago, including over 50 British companies.

Solid economic policies

Trinidad and Tobago is ranked top for foreign direct investment (FDI) cost- effectiveness amongst Caribbean and Central American countries. Energy prices are low. Legislation is based on UK common law. The workforce is educated, skilled and English-speaking.

Ease of doing business

105th

out of 190 countries (World Bank, 2019)

Currency

Trinidad and Tobago dollar

Business language

English

GDP per capita

$16,220

IMF, 2018 (UK is $42,558)

Economic growth

0.3%

IMF, 2018

Time zone

GMT -4

Opportunities for exporters

There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in Trinidad and Tobago have identified particular opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors.

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’re 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.

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

30-90 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.