Trade relations between Canada & Trinidad and Tobago: Consistency and Stability
Year after year, overall trade figures between Canada and Trinidad and Tobago remain on a positive growth trend. In 2011, after a spectacular 30 per cent increase the year before, bilateral trade topped C$731million.
Ever wondered what makes the two-way trade between Canada and Trinidad and Tobago so dynamic?
To illustrate, in October last year, US business magazine Forbes ranked Canada as the best country for business. The Economic Intelligence Unit confirms that assessment, placing Canada ahead of all G7 countries in its global business ranking for 2010-2014,and rating it the #1 place in the world to invest and do business.
For its part, Trinidad and Tobago is Canada's largest merchandise export market, and second largest import partner, in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) region. With the most advanced economy in the English-speaking Caribbean, this country is viewed by Canada as offering great opportunities to do business.
It all began back in the early 1900s, when Newfoundland codfish and New Brunswick sardines were the principal exports from Canada. Boats going the other direction carried sugar, molasses, rum, cocoa, and asphalt from Trinidad and Tobago.
With the first decade of the 21st century behind us, trade linkages continue to evolve in ever more sophisticated ways. Goods shipped from Canada to the twin-island republic in 2011 totalled C$341.7 million and included mineral ores, machinery, paper and paperboard, copper, electrical and electronic equipment and vegetables. Meanwhile, Trinidad and Tobago sent Canada's way C$389.7 million worth of mineral fuel, organic chemicals, iron and steel, fish and seafood, beverages and other goods.
Canadian investment in Trinidad and Tobago continues to be strong and demonstrates the beneficial nature of the Canadian corporate presence in this country. For the year 2011, even the most conservative estimates put the total amount of Canadian investment in the country at C$1.23 billion.
Canada is rated #1 internationally for the stability of its banking system (Global Competitiveness Report, 2010-11). Forbes praises the Canadian banks for skirting the financial crisis that began in 2007 and emerging as among the strongest in the world. As recently as May of this year, Canada's financial sector was again recognised as one of the world's safest by Bloomberg Markets. Indeed, four of Canada's banks placed in the top 10 of Bloomberg's strongest banks ranking, with another two in the top 25.
These sound banking principles and practices have been replicated here in Trinidad and Tobago through the dynamic presence of RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank, and CIBC–First Caribbean. With this strength and stability behind them, both of our countries weathered the recent global economic crisis better than most.
The energy sector in Trinidad and Tobago also continues to be influenced and strengthened by Canadian involvement. Many Canadian companies, including Methanex, PCS Nitrogen (Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan), Parex Resources, Touchstone Exploration and Niko Resources, have made significant investments in the oil and gas and petrochemical sectors. And as a world leader in the development of oil sands, carbon capture and storage, and renewable energies, Canadian investment in the energy sector is expected to keep growing over the coming years.
Canada's world-renowned expertise in the area of information technology has led to an excellent level of collaboration, including the recent signature of an agreement for the modernization of T&T's public sector. Other great examples of Trinidad and Tobago choosing Canadian know-how include the renewed confidence in Canadian machine-readable passport technology, the development of a state-of-the-art traffic management system and more recently the signing of an agreement for co-operation in the healthcare and hospital construction sector.
In sum, trade and investment relations between Canada and Trinidad and Tobago are already very vibrant, and can only continue to grow and evolve as we look forward to the successful conclusion of a mutually beneficial CARICOM-Canada trade agreement.