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Report | The Report: Trinidad & Tobago 2018

Optimism is returning to Trinidad and Tobago after years of recession. With the IMF forecasting GDP expansion of 1% in 2018 and 0.9% in 2019, the government now has the opportunity to shift their focus from tackling short-term economic problems to implementing long-term reforms and policy initiatives.

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Chapter | Industry & Retail from The Report: Trinidad & Tobago 2018

Manufacturing plays a key role in the non-energy economy, of which it is the second-largest component. It is also a significant employer, accounting for 8% of the active workforce as of the third quarter of that year, per the most recent central bank figures. While the outlook for manufacturing remains challenging, performance figures indicate some measure of success in broadening the country’s economic base, using manufacturing as a key driver. Building momentum and sustainable growth will be dependent on the government’s continued focus on diversification. In response to the changing retail landscape, the MoTI launched a new consumer policy in March 2018 to align the market with domestic, regional and international trends and norms, thus allowing consumers and suppliers to participate with confidence. Changes in the sector had created deficiencies in consumer protection in several areas of the old legislation; for example, there was no protection for consumers making digital transactions. The new policy seeks to address the legislative, administrative and enforcement needs of the evolving market, improving the foundation on which to build sustainable retail growth and development. This chapter contains an interview with Mikaeel Mohammed, CEO, SM Jaleel.

Chapter | Construction & Real Estate from The Report: Trinidad & Tobago 2018

The construction sector has the potential to satisfy the housing demands of Trinbagonians, improve the transport infrastructure and support economic growth over the long term. Local professionals have been largely responsible for the built environment of Trinidad and Tobago until recently, and the domestic sector still has strong potential to develop local capabilities outside T&T. However, proper planning is required to ensure that the sector can advance in a way that safeguards the interests of the country’s future generations. In the face of subdued demand and the resulting competition for tenants, developers are adapting to the shifting demographics and rising requirements for improved service delivery and amenities in the office and residential segments. Longer-term growth will be largely dependent on the health of the economy, as this could once again shift the dynamics of real estate in T&T. As the economy rebounds, market demand is expected to gradually catch up to supply. This chapter includes an interview with Meng Yan, Managing Director, China Railway Construction (Caribbean) Company.

Chapter | Energy from The Report: Trinidad & Tobago 2018

The oil and gas industry has long been the driver of Trinidad and Tobago’s economy. In 2017 the petroleum sector accounted for 33.7% of GDP, according to the “Review of the Economy 2017” report by the Ministry of Finance. T&T plays an important role as a gas supplier for the Latin American and the Caribbean market, given that Peru is the only other exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the region. Falling global oil prices and a drop in production have spurred T&T to consider more stable sources of energy to boost its economy. However, despite increasing interest in renewables, the country is still focused on developing its natural gas segment. Upcoming gas projects, including the Dragon gas field deal with Venezula, and recent output figures are encouraging a positive outlook for the sector, with the rebound in gas production levels expected to continue on an upward trajectory. This chapter contains interviews with Franklin Khan, Minister of Energy and Energy Industries; Claire Fitzpatrick, Regional President, BP Trinidad and Tobago; and Mark Loquan, President, National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago.

Chapter | ICT from The Report: Trinidad & Tobago 2018

As Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago continues to expand its 4G LTE network launched under the bmobile brand in 2016, Digicel began the rollout of its 4G LTE network in early 2018, promising eventual island-wide coverage. However, local operations for the company are facing a potential consolidation phase over 2018 and 2019, as the group’s transformation programme mandates a global 25% reduction in its workforce. This trend of consolidation is anticipated to persist in other large companies, as operators introduce measures to advance their long-term strategies in pursuit of digital transformation. With a key sector development strategy already in place, the state aims to increase IT’s contribution to 5% by 2021, and as growth indicators in a number of segments are picking up, prospects for T&T’s ICT sector are positive. This chapter contains an interview with Ronald Walcott, CEO, Telecommunication Services of Trinidad and Tobago.

Chapter | Regional Relations from The Report: Trinidad & Tobago 2018

Trinidad and Tobago has played a crucial role in the integration of the Caribbean, particularly among the Anglophone countries of the region, for decades now. A promoter of the Treaty of Chaguaramas in 1973, the first step towards deeper regional integration after the mixed fortunes of the establishment of the short-lived West Indies Federation between 1958 and 1962, T&T subsequently became a founding member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Between 1998 and 2013 T&T’s share of total intra-CARICOM exports rose from 37% to 70%, with Jamaica being the principal importer of T&T exports over this period. Alongside T&T, the international organisation currently has 14 full members, five associate members and eight observers. This chapter contains an interview with William Warren Smith, President, Caribbean Development Bank.

Chapter | Transport & Logistics from The Report: Trinidad & Tobago 2018

While some areas of transport and logistics have experienced a decline in performance in recent years due to overall sluggish economic performance, a projected turnaround in 2018 will likely have a positive impact on the industry. However, from port and airport, to road construction projects and upgrades, there still is a way to go to bring Trinidad and Tobago’s infrastructure up to speed with economic demands. Beyond financing new projects, finding ways to improve productivity and competitiveness by streamlining processes and modernising systems will be essential to elevate the sector and enable it to better contribute to the country’s diversification strategy, as well as boost overall economic growth. This chapter contains an interview with Garvin Medera, CEO, Caribbean Airlines Limited.