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Report | The Report: Trinidad & Tobago 2017

After facing headwinds such as depressed international energy prices, and rising debt and fiscal imbalances, Trinidad and Tobago’s economic recession appears to be turning a corner, with GDP growth projected to climb to 0.3% in 2017 and 3.4% in 2018. As one of the largest and most diversified economies in the English-speaking Caribbean, the country is beginning to benefit from the new administration’s process of fiscal adjustment and economic diversification, spurred on by an ambitious public works pipeline.

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Chapter | Industry1 from The Report: Trinidad & Tobago 2017

Trinidad and Tobago’s manufacturing sector is the largest in the English-speaking Caribbean. In 2016 it was expected to represent 7.8% of overall GDP, with total output worth an estimated TT$8.29bn ($1.2bn), according to government estimates. This made it the third-largest sector of the economy after the energy and services industries. Approximately 47,700 people, or 7.3% of the total active labour force, are employed in manufacturing. The country holds several competitive advantages, including cheap electricity and natural gas, two international ports that are well served by shipping lines, good availability of local or imported raw materials, a captive domestic market and relatively easy access to regional markets through trade agreements. This chapter contains an interview with Dominic Hadeed, Managing Director, Blue Waters Products.

Chapter | Banking1 from The Report: Trinidad & Tobago 2017

Following another positive year of continuing profitability and financial strength in the face of challenges related to a wider economic slowdown, in 2017 Trinidad and Tobago’s banking sector is poised to play a key role in supporting new growth. While the demand for credit has slowed somewhat in light of volatility in oil prices, liquidity in the banking system has remained high. Executives in the sector expect the economy to begin rebounding in late 2017 and into 2018. In the meantime, they are seeking to maintain a competitive edge and increase their readiness to deal with the increasing pace of technological change. This chapter contains an interview with Anya Schnoor, Managing Director, Scotiabank; and President, Bankers Association of Trinidad and Tobago.

Chapter | Economy1 from The Report: Trinidad & Tobago 2017

Despite challenges, including depressed international energy prices, as well as rising debt and fiscal imbalances, the recession in Trinidad and Tobago is likely to bottom out in 2017. The IMF forecasts the economy will grow by 0.3% in 2017 and 3.4% in 2018. The recovery is expected to come via a small rise in energy prices, the inauguration of the Juniper gas field in 2017 and an expected rise in public sector construction activity, particularly in the affordable housing sector. Achieving that modest growth rate would depend on the government being proactive in pushing forward with public works and house building. This chapter contains interviews with Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry; Augusto Arosemena Moreno, Minister of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Panama; and Terrence Farrell, Chairman, Economic Development Advisory Board. It also contains a viewpoint from Marla Dukharan, Group Economist, Royal Bank of Canada (Caribbean).

Chapter | Legal Framework from The Report: Trinidad & Tobago 2017

This chapter provides an overview of Trinidad and Tobago’s legal framework, covering a range of topics from civil procedure rules, to the Foreign Investment Act, free zones and public-private partnerships, among others. It also contains a viewpoint from Hadyn John Gadsby, Senior Partner, J.D. Sellier + Co.

Chapter | Tax from The Report: Trinidad & Tobago 2017

This chapter explores aspects of Trinidad and Tobago’s taxation system, examining a wide range of areas of special interest to international investors, such as income and corporate tax, petroleum profit tax, withholding tax, value-added tax and Customs tax, among others. This chapter contains a viewpoint from Angela Lee Loy, Chairman, Aegis Business Solutions.

Chapter | Health & Education from The Report: Trinidad & Tobago 2017

While Trinidad and Tobago’s health care system has displayed strong results when dealing with existing communicable diseases, such as HIV and Zika, work is still urgently needed to develop a long-term strategy to deal with rising non-communicable diseases in the nation. The switch to a national health care insurance system – with increased focus on portability of services, record-keeping and primary care – combined with an expanded role for cost-efficient private sector clinics and surgeries, would provide a strong foundation on which to build health care policy for the future. Meanwhile in education, following years of high oil revenues, a generous system of grants for students studying a wide range of subjects has developed. However, the economic downturn has focused minds on achieving improved performance with slimmer budgets. Tighter restrictions on funding provided by the Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses programme will help cut the fat on the tertiary education system, and the involvement of the private sector should help funnel students towards programmes that are a better fit for the development of the economy long term. This chapter contains an interview with Brian Copeland, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal, The University of the West Indies.