Trinidad and Tobago’s Top 10 Exports

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A twin island country near South America’s northern coast, the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago shipped US$7.1 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2016. That dollar amount results from a -22.3% drop since 2009 when the Great Recession kicked in and a larger -42.4% drop from 2015 to 2016.

Trinidad and Tobago’s top 10 exports are highly concentrated, accounting for 96.2% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, Trinidad and Tobago’s total Gross Domestic Product amounted to $44.6 billion in May 2017 (on a purchasing power parity basis).Therefore, exports represent an estimated 15.9% of total Trinidadian/Tobagonian economic output.

Given Trinidad and Tobago’s population of 1.2 million people, its total $7.1 billion in 2016 exports translates to roughly $5,800 for every resident in that country.

Trading Economics estimates Trinidad and Tobago’s unemployment rate to be 3.9% for second quarter 2017.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Trinidadian/Tobagonian global shipments during 2016. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Trinidad and Tobago.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$3.6 billion (51.1% of total exports)
  2. Inorganic chemicals: $1.3 billion (17.8%)
  3. Organic chemicals: $1 billion (14.7%)
  4. Iron, steel: $356.2 million (5%)
  5. Fertilizers: $332.4 million (4.7%)
  6. Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $75 million (1.1%)
  7. Fish: $63.6 million (0.9%)
  8. Miscellaneous food preparations: $28 million (0.4%)
  9. Cereal/milk preparations: $17.9 million (0.3%)
  10. Paper, paper items: $17.2 million (0.2%)

Fish was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 530.5% for the 7-year period starting in 2009.

In second place for improving export sales was inorganic chemicals which rose by 271.1%.

Trinidadian/Tobagonian organic chemicals posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 246.7%.

The leading decliner among the top 10 Trinidadian/Tobagonian export categories was paper and paper items, a category down by -72.1%.

Advantages

Overall, Trinidad and Tobago achieved a $1.6 billion trade surplus for 2016 down by -27.8% from $2.2 billion in 2009.

The following types of Trinidadian/Tobagonian product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports is the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$2.8 billion (Down by -40.1% since 2009)
  2. Inorganic chemicals: $1.2 billion (Up by 308.3%)
  3. Organic chemicals: $1 billion (Up by 260.9%)
  4. Fertilizers: $328.1 million (Up by 127.8%)
  5. Iron, steel: $261.9 million (Up by 16.2%)
  6. Fish: $41.9 million (Down by -586.5%)
  7. Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $12.4 million (Down by -24.5%)
  8. Collector items, art, antiques: $1.7 million (Down by -45%)
  9. Nickel: $803,000 (Down by -503.5%)
  10. Tin: $97,000 (Down by -320.5%)

Trinidad and Tobago has highly positive net exports in the international trade of petroleum gases and, to a lesser degree, refined petroleum oils. In turn, these cashflows indicate Trinidad and Tobago’s strong competitive advantages under the mineral fuels including oil product category.

Opportunities

Below are exports from Trinidad and Tobago that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Trinidad and Tobago’s goods trail Trinidadian/Tobagonian importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Machinery including computers: -US$857.5 million (Down by -21.3% since 2009)
  2. Vehicles : -$420.6 million (Up by 54.9%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$372.5 million (Up by 15.6%)
  4. Ships, boats: -$265.4 million (Down by -414.5%)
  5. Articles of iron or steel: -$208.1 million (Down by -46.3%)
  6. Plastics, plastic articles: -$161.9 million (Up by 21.4%)
  7. Ores, slag, ash: -$119 million (Down by -222.7%)
  8. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$113.9 million (Up by 40.8%)
  9. Dairy, eggs, honey: -$91.9 million (Up by 25.2%)
  10. Meat: -$82.5 million (Up by 67.1%)

Trinidad and Tobago has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the machinery including computers category.

Companies

Trinidadian/Tobagonian Export Companies

Not one Trinidadian/Tobagonian corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000 for 2016.

Wikipedia lists exports-related companies from Trinidad and Tobago. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Atlantic LNG (natural gas)
  • Atlas Engineering Limited (construction materials)
  • Bermudez Biscuit Company (confectionary foods)
  • Carib Brewery (alcoholic beverages)
  • Flavorite Ice Cream (dairy products)
  • Kiss Baking Company Limited (baked goods)
  • National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago (natural gas)
  • Petrotrin (oil, gas)
  • S. M. Jaleel and Company (beverages)
  • Solo Beverage Company (soft drinks)

Trinidad and Tobago’s capital city is Port-of-Spain.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See also Exported Paintings and Drawings by Country, Chile’s Top Trading Partners and Capital Facts for Port-of-Spain

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on May 4, 2017

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on May 4, 2017

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on May 4, 2017

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 4, 2017

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Trinidad and Tobago. Accessed on May 4, 2017

Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 4, 2017