Trinidad and Tobago and British Business – Challenges and Opportunities

Date: 4 July 2016

Time: 16.00-18.00

Venue: Central London

 

The Caribbean Council hold a round-table meeting looking at the current business environment in Trinidad and Tobago. The event took place on Monday 4 July at 16.00.

The event provided companies with a practical insight into the current political and economic situation in Trinidad and Tobago, opportunities for trade and investment, the challenges the country is currently facing, and the business operating environment in the largest economy in the English-speaking Caribbean.

The participants had the opportunity to hear from a range of expert speakers including:

  • HE Tim Stew, the British High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago,
  • Benat Bilbao Osorio, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Economist Intelligence Unit, and
  • David Berry, Partner at Charles Russell Speechlys.

The meeting was chaired by our President, the Rt Hon Lord Bruce. A round-table discussion and questions followed the presentations with the opportunity for networking before and after the event.

Economic background on Trinidad and Tobago

Last month, the IMF released its latest report on Trinidad and Tobago’s economy indicating that Trinidad and Tobago is currently facing a challenging external environment precipitated by the sharp decline in energy prices. Real GDP is estimated to have declined by 2.1% in 2015 and is expected to fall another 2.7% in 2016. The lower energy prices and weaker growth have contributed to a steep fall in fiscal revenues, raising the deficit to a projected 10.9% of GDP in FY 2015/16.

In spite of these current challenges, Trinidad and Tobago remains the largest economy in the English-speaking Caribbean with a GDP of US$42.23bn and the second largest population size (after Jamaica) of 1.3m.  An upper-middle income country with relatively strong development indicators, Trinidad and Tobago’s strong hydrocarbon base, supported by elevated fuel prices over a decade or more to the second half of 2014, translated into a period of phenomenal growth. Per capita income tripled over the ten-year period from 1999 to 2008 (from US$5,410 to US$18,483).  At the present time, core inflation remains low at 2% and unemployment is low at 3.6%.

With special thanks to our Event Sponsor: Charles Russell Speechlys

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