The Government of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago (GORTT) encourages foreign direct investment in almost all sectors, with specific focus on the non-energy targeted sectors. Generally speaking, there are no restrictions or disincentives to investment.
Fiscal Incentives are benefits granted to large scale manufacturers or processing enterprises under the provisions of the Fiscal IncentivesAct, Chapter 85:01 (as amended).
Other incentives include:
Import Duty Concessions. Locally registered firms engaged in ship building and ship repair are allowed duty free treatment on their machinery, equipment and materials for use in the boat and ship building and repairsindustry. Third Schedule ofthe Customs Act, Chapter 78:01
Free Zones Status. Firms in the Maritime sector can also benefit from Free Zone Status based upon theprovisions of the Free Zones Act, Chapter 81:07; Same as Free Zones Status under the Manufacturing Sector. Free Zones Act, Chapter 81:07
Production Expenditure Rebate Programme
The Tourism Development Act (TDA), 2000 (as amended) provides for benefits to be granted to the owners/operators of various types of tourism projects, once these projects have the potential of contributing substantially to the growth of the tourism sector. The benefits that are offered include
(i) for a single company project - TT $500,000;
(ii) for a business alliance of two or more companies - TT $1,000,000; and
(iii) for patent registration - TT $300,000.
Co-Financing. Companies can enjoy reimbursement, through exporTT, for a portion of the costs associated with entry into selected export markets. A company shall receive financial support on pre-approved investments, purchases, costs or expenses.
Importation of Goods for temporary use. The Comptroller may give permission to any person to import any goods without payment of duty thereon, upon being satisfied that the goods are so imported for temporary use only. Special conditions are applicable. Chapter 78:01 Customs Act
The Free Trade Zones programme is designed to encourage local and foreign investment in export-driven projects that create jobs, develop skills and create external markets for products. The Programme has been seen as an instrument to attract non-energy based projects to Trinidad and Tobago and is administered under the Free Zones Act, 19 of 1988 (as amended)
Free Zone areas are designated by order of the Minister of Trade & Industry on the recommendations of the Trinidad and Tobago Free Zones Company Limited (TTFZ). Sales into the customs territory are treated as extra regional imports.
A free zone can refer to both a cluster space set aside for more than one operator, or to the physical space occupied by a company that has qualified for free zone status. There is no limit on free zone certification. There are 16 free zones now operating presently in Trinidad and Tobago which convey the below benefits.
Import or export licenses
No foreign exchange controls
No Land, building, improvements or machinery tax
100% ownership of locally-registered private companies.
Full repatriation of funds
Exemption from Value Added Tax
Exemption from corporation taxes
Exemption from customs duties on goods, parts and raw materials
Generally, manufacturers who export at least 80% of their products extra regionally and companies that export at least 50% of their services extra regionally may qualify for Free Zone certification.
The following criteria applies:
Company must be incorporated or registered in Trinidad and Tobago
Investment of manufacturing operations cannot exceed US$50Mn
A business plan and all relevant documents appropriate to the circumstances of the particular project must be submitted
Primary petroleum, natural gas andpetrochemical projects are not eligible for free zone status.