That dollar amount results from a 21.5% increase compared to the total $10.9 billion in 2018.
Year over year, the value of Trinidad and Tobago’s exported goods accelerated by 54.1% from $8.6 billion during 2021.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2022, the Trinidad/Tobago dollar appreciated by 0.2% against the US dollar since 2018 and went up by 0.1% from 2021 to 2022. Trinidad and Tobago’s modestly stronger local currency makes its exports paid for in weaker US dollars relatively more expensive for international buyers.
Trinidad and Tobago’s top 5 most valuable exported products are ammonia, crude oil, acyclic alcohols, petroleum gases and refined petroleum oils. Added together, that quintet of major goods generated almost three-quarters (73.8%) of the overall value of Trinidad and Tobago’s exports.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Top Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data shows that 78.5% of products exported from Trinidad and Tobago were bought by importers in: United States of America (39.3% of the countries’ total), Belgium (6.3%), Morocco (5.7%), Guyana (4.9%), Spain (4.6%), Mexico (3.5%), Brazil (3.4%), France (2.9%), South Korea (2.2%), Netherlands (2.1%), mainland China (1.9%) and Panama (1.8%).
From a continental perspective, 44.5% of Trinidad and Tobago’s exports by value was delivered to North American countries while 22.3% were sold to importers in Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean. Trinidad and Tobago shipped another 21.7% worth of goods to buyers in Europe.
Smaller percentages went to customers in Africa (5.9%), Asia (5.5%), then Oceania (0.1%) led by Australia.
Given Trinidad and Tobago’s population of 1.414 million people, its total $13.2 billion in 2022 exports translates to about $9,400 for every resident in the Caribbean nation. That dollar metric eclipses the average $6,100 per capita one year earlier during 2021.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Trinidadian/Tobagonian global shipments during 2022. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Trinidad and Tobago.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$4.3 billion (32.2% of total exports)
- Inorganic chemicals: $3.7 billion (28.3%)
- Organic chemicals: $1.9 billion (14.1%)
- Iron, steel: $898.6 million (6.8%)
- Fertilizers: $835 million (6.3%)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: $185.9 million (1.4%)
- Machinery including computers: $182.9 million (1.4%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $145.4 million (1.1%)
- Ships, boats: $133.3 million (1%)
- Cereal/milk preparations: $112.4 million (0.9%)
Trinidad and Tobago’s top 10 export categories accounted for 93.4% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Aircraft and spacecraft represents the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 405.4% from 2021 to 2022.
In second place for improving export sales was inorganic chemicals, via a 119.5% advance.
Trinidad and Tobago’s shipments of mineral fuels including oil posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 82%.
The lone decliner among Trinidad and Tobago’s top 10 export categories was the capital-intensive ships and boats product category, pulled down by a -51% drop versus 2021.
At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level, Trinidad and Tobago’s most valuable export product was ammonia at 28.2% of the country’s total. In second place was crude oil (15.6%) trailed by acyclic alcohols (13.4%), petroleum gases (9.4%), processed petroleum oils (7.2%), iron ore-reduced products (6.4%), nitrogenous fertilizers (6.3%), aircraft and spacecraft (1.1%), cruise or cargo ships and barges (1%), then non-alcoholic drinks excluding water, juice and milk (0.9%).
Products Generating Largest Trade Surpluses for Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago achieved an overall $7 billion trade surplus for 2022. That amount of black ink reflects a 146.7% expansion from the $2.8 billion surplus in 2021.
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 represent 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.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$4.2 billion (Up by 82.7% since 2021)
- Inorganic chemicals: $3.7 billion (Up by 121.4%)
- Organic chemicals: $1.8 billion (Up by 17.6%)
- Fertilizers: $825.7 million (Up by 11.9%)
- Iron, steel: $688.9 million (Down by -4.8%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $71.7 million (Up by 36.3%)
- Ships, boats: $45.8 million (Reversing a -$14.8 million deficit)
- Cereal/milk preparations: $39.1 million (Up by 33.4%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $27.8 million (Up by 14.6%)
- Woodpulp: $13.5 million (Reversing an -$845,000 deficit)
Trinidad and Tobago generated highly positive net exports in the international trade of crude oil, petroleum gases and refined petroleum oils. In turn, these cashflows indicate Trinidad and Tobago’s strong competitive advantages under the mineral fuels including oil product category.
Products Causing Worst Trade Deficits for Trinidad and Tobago
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.
- Machinery including computers: -US$575.6 million (Down by -21.3% since 2021)
- Ores, slag, ash: -$422.3 million (Down by -19.4%)
- Vehicles: -$315.4 million (Up by 26%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$293.4 million (Up by 15.3%)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: -$237 million (Up by 146.2%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$226.7 million (Up by 12.8%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$179.4 million (Down by -59.8%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$172.2 million (Down by -8.7%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: -$145.9 million (Up by 15.8%)
- Other chemical goods: -$139.4 million (Up by 58.8%)
Trinidad and Tobago incurred highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the machinery including computers category.
Trinidadian and Tobagonian Export Companies
Not one Trinidadian/Tobagonian corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
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)
In macroeconomic terms, Trinidad and Tobago’s total exported goods represent 31.1% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2022 ($42.5 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 31.1% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2022 compares to 22.8% for 2021. Those percentages suggest a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Trinidad and Tobago’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Trinidad and Tobago’s unemployment rate averaged 3.982% for 2022, down from an average 4.805% in 2021 according to Trading Economics.
Trinidad and Tobago’s capital city is Port-of-Spain, which also serves as the nation’s largest cargo port.
See also America’s Top Trading Partners, Mexico’s Top Trading Partners, Guyana’s Top 10 Exports, Mexico’s Top Trading Partners and Exported Paintings and Drawings by Country
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on August 31, 2023
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 31, 2023
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on August 31, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 31, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 31, 2023
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Trinidad and Tobago. Accessed on August 31, 2023