About Us Trade Relations

High Commission of India Port of Spain

Economic Relations between India and Trinidad and Tobago

1. Relations between India and Trinidad and Tobago date back to 30th May, 1845 when the first ship ‘Fatel Razak’ carrying 225 Indentured Immigrants from India reached Trinidad shores. Trinidad and Tobago with its oil and gas resources has a high GDP of USD 24.46 billion and a Per Capita income of USD$16,032 as for the period 2022-23. Based on its economically influential role in the region and supported by regional and bilateral preferential trade agreements, Trinidad and Tobago provides good opportunities to exporters from India to access the Caribbean region and beyond.

 

  1. Two-way bilateral trade during 2022-23 between India and Trinidad include petroleum- crude products, iron and steel, pharmaceutical products, ceramic products, plastic and articles thereof, miscellaneous chemical products, leather goods, aluminium and articles thereof etc. The top five commodities of India’s exports to Trinidad and Tobago are: pharmaceutical products, vehicles other than railway or tramway rolling stock and parts and accessories thereof, iron and steel, plastic and articles thereof, and articles of iron and Top five commodities India’s import from Trinidad and Tobago include minerals fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation; bituminous substances; mineral waxes, pulp of wood or of other fibrous cellulosic material, aluminium and articles thereof, lead and articles thereof, and electrical machinery and equipment.
  2. India and Trinidad and Tobago Bilateral Trade for a five year period:

Year

Total Trade US$Million

India’s Exports to Trinidad and Tobago US$Million

India’s Imports from Trinidad and Tobago US$Million

Percentage Change (Exports)

Percentage Change (Imports)

2022-23

196.19

104.93

91.26

12.50%

-18.66%

2021-22

205.47

93.27

112.20

24.71%

-40.75%

2020-21

264.15

74.79

189.36

-12.12%

124.30%

2019-20

169.53

85.11

84.42

1.62%

-56.79%

2018-19

279.13

83.75

195.37

-5.57%

359.93%

 

Source: Department of Commerce, New Delhi

https://www.hcipos.gov.in/page/trade/

Investment Relations between India and Trinidad and Tobago

  1. Trinidad and Tobago has continued to deepen its ties with India through the signature of two (2) investment treaties, namely;
  • The Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments Agreement, also referred to as the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) which was signed and entered into force in 2007 for an initial duration of 10 years; Both countries have expressed interest in entering into a new bilateral Treaty, Cabinet approval has been obtained and negotiations are expected to commence within the upcoming This renewed Bilateral Investment Treaty will be a useful instrument to assure investors of Government’s commitment to promoting a stable, transparent and predictable domestic legislative environment.
  • The other treaty is the Double Taxation Agreement which is currently in place and allows for the removal of tax barriers to facilitate cross border trade and
  1. The focus sectors for promotion of bilateral trade between India and Trinidad and Tobago presently identified by the Mission are as follows: (i) Information Technology & Information Technology Enabled Services, (ii) Pharmaceuticals, (iii) Agriculture & Agro- Biotechnology, (iv) New Energy (Wind & Solar), (v) Tourism including Medical Tourism, (vi) Textiles and Garments, (vii) Higher Education, (viii) Automobiles, (ix) Ayurveda and Wellness and (x) Films, Music & Entertainment.

3.  India and Trinidad and Tobago Bilateral Trade

As it relates to trade, India was ranked among the top ten import sources for Trinidad and Tobago in 2021-22. The latest available figures for 2022-23 (April-March) indicate that India’s export of commodities to Trinidad and Tobago is US$104.93 while India’s import from Trinidad and Tobago for the period 2022-23 (April-March) is US$91.26. Exports from Trinidad and Tobago to India reveal that energy-related products are still dominant, and this presents an opportunity for non-energy exports. According to the International Trade Centre, there remains significant untapped potential for Trinidad and Tobago’ exports to India in the areas of Chemicals, Food products, and Plastic and Paper products. Additionally, Trinidad and Tobago has the opportunity to target niche areas through distinctive offerings such as cocoa and pepper products, music and craft, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages just to name a few. Given the cost and volatility of transportation, especially in recent times, both countries can work together in opening up avenues of increasing bilateral trade as well as facilitate ease of doing business between India and Trinidad and Tobago. This is beneficial not only for the obvious benefit of generating foreign exchange, but also provides the opportunity for small and medium, enterprises businesses that offer specialty services to more easily enter new markets.

https://www.hcipos.gov.in/page/trade-relations/

 

4. The Trade Agreement signed between India and T&T in January 1997 accords Most Favored Nation (MFN) status to each other. There is also Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) in place (signed in February, 1999) for which amendment has been sought from the Government of Trinidad & Tobago. The Inter-Governmental Joint Commission Agreement signed in February 2003 provides for a cooperation framework in various sectors. Bilateral Investment Promotion & Protection Agreement (BIPPA) with Government of India was negotiated and signed during the visit of Minister of Trade and Industry Kenneth Valley to India in March 2007. The 1st meeting of the Joint Commission was held in November 2011 in Delhi led by Foreign Ministers from both sides.

5. T&T Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar led a high-level delegation including 7 Cabinet Ministers and 160-member business representatives consisted of both private and public sector on the state visit to India from 5-14 January 2012. She was the Chief Guest at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Jaipur and was conferred with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award in recognition of her contribution to the development of relationships between India and Trinidad and Tobago. 5 MOUs and Agreements were signed which inter alia included the bilateral (i) Air Services Agreement; (ii) Technical Cooperation Agreement in the field of Education; (iii) Programme of Cultural Exchanges between 2012 - 2014; (iv) MOU on co-operation in the field of Traditional Medicine and (v) MOU for setting up of a Chair on Ayurveda.

6. T&T has very good potential for investment and establishment of joint ventures by Indian companies in the field of energy, SMEs, ICT, Pharmaceuticals & Medical equipment and consumables, Health, Wellness Tourism, Ayurveda. However, investments have been few particularly due to lack of facilitation and cumbersome procedures. While Government of T&T has shown some degree of willingness at reforming the whole system to allow for foreign firms to do business in T&T investors have been advised not to consider just a 1.3 million market but encouraged to look at the eight million CARICOM market and the extended market of Americas (doorway to 600 million people).

7. High Commission made a constant pitch with the T&T Government to facilitate the `India Brand` by allowing imports of quality Indian products into the T&T market. India had entered into quality control MOUs with 90 countries recognizing certification of the Export Inspection Council (EIC) for exports from India and efforts were on to include Trinidad and Tobago in the same. The `round-the-year` Indian Trade Fairs, selling sub-standard cheap Indian goods do not in any way help towards promoting bilateral trade, on the other hand have been giving a bad name to India and Indian products.

8. The interest shown by both the countries to encourage the participation in each other`s trade fairs, business seminars and conclaves and exchange of business had not materialized so far. Trade & Industry Chambers such as CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, FIEO, EEPC etc from Indian side and TTCIC are supposed to bear the responsibility to encourage their members to participate in each other`s trade fairs etc (e.g. IITF in Delhi during November every year).

9. Bilateral cooperation between two countries in the field of energy have not yielded desired results despite this matter being discussed at the highest levels during PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar`s State visit. High Commission has been making efforts to revive T&T`s moribund agriculture sector and in this context have provided a rice expert under ITEC. As per the MoU on cooperation in agriculture signed in October 2011. Furthermore, MoUs have been nearly finalized in areas of Renewable Energy – Solar and MSMEs.

10. Health cooperation both traditional as well as allopathic have gained salience over time. As a follow up on the two MOUs signed in January 2012, namely, (i) Cooperation in the field of Traditional Medicine and (ii) Setting up of a Chair on Ayurveda in the University of the West Indies (UWI), Shri S. Gandhiselvan, Minister of State - in charge of Traditional Medicine (AYUSH - Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) - in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India led a 5 member AYUSH delegation to Trinidad and Tobago from 16 - 21 October 2012 to facilitate the Government of Trinidad and Tobago in bringing legislation for practice of Ayurveda in the country. The delegation held bilateral meetings with Dr. Fuad Khan, Health Minister, Mr. Stephen Cadiz, Minister of Tourism and Mr. Orville London, Chief Secretary, Tobago House of Assembly. During this period the Ministry of Health, initiated by the High Commission, organized a Seminar on `The Future of Herbal Medicine` with attendance of more than 200 persons.

Economic and Commercial Relations between India and T & T

The Trade Agreement signed between India and T & T in January 1997 accords Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to each other. During 2021-22 bilateral trade was US$205.47 million (India’s exports to T & T were US$93.27 million and T & T’s exports to India were US$112.20 million). The trade figures for Indian exports to T & T do not reflect the imports of Indian products from the USA and Canada. Due to high shipping costs from India, most mercantile trade is sourced from USA and Canada ports.

Trinidad & Tobago Bilateral Trade with India for a six-year period:

YEAR

TOTAL TRADE

INDIA’S EXPORT TO T & T (US$ MILLION)

INDIA’S IMPORT FROM T & T (US$ MILLION)

2021-22

205.47

93.27

112.20

2020-21

264.15

74.79

189.36

2019-20

169.53

85.11

84.42

2018-19

279.13

83.75

195.37

2017-18

131.17

88.69

42.48

2016-17

258.07

84.53

173.54

(Source: Department of Commerce, Government of India)

Top 5 items of Export from India to T & T: i) Pharmaceuticals [US$13 mn, ii) Auto Parts [US&10 mn, iii) Plastic and Articles Thereof [US$9 mn], iv) Electrical Machinery and Equipment [US$5 mn and v) Articles of Iron and Steel [US$5 mn].

Top 5 items of India’s import from T & T: i) Mineral Fuels and Bituminous Substances [US$175 mn], ii) Iron and Steel [US$2 mn], iii) Electrical Machinery and Equipment [US$0.47 mn], iv) Copper and Articles Thereof [US$0.46 mn] and v) Aluminium and Articles Thereof [US$0.36 mn].

Focus Sectors for potential growth between India and T & T:

There is potential for growth of bilateral trade in the following focus sectors: (1) Information Technology & Information Technology Enabled Services, (2) Pharmaceuticals, (3) Agriculture & Agro-Biotechnology, (4) New Energy (Wind & Solar), (5) Tourism including Medical Tourism, (6) Textiles and Garments, (7) Higher Education, (8) Automobiles, (9) Ayurveda and Wellness and (10) Films, Music & Entertainment.

Opportunities and Challenges for India in promotion of bilateral trade:

i) Presently there are no specific non-tariff barriers for imports/exports of goods of Indian origin into the country. However, they do have a strict approval criterion for import of the pharmaceuticals.

ii) Investments have been few particularly due to lack of facilitation and cumbersome procedures. Potential Indian investors are advised not to consider T & T as just a 1.3 mn market but encouraged to look at the eight million CARICOM market and the extended market of Americas (doorway to 600 million people).

iii) Trade bodies of both countries are advised to encourage the participation in each other`s trade fairs, business seminars and conclaves and exchange of business which has not materialized so far. e.g., IITF in Delhi during November every year and TTMA Trade and Investment Convention annually).