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Trinidad and Tobago: Industry
Country Study > Chapter 4 > Economy > Industry


Trinidad and Tobago possessed an industrial base that was unmatched in the Caribbean in the late 1980s and, for a country of about 1.2 million people, perhaps in the world. As new heavy industries came on-stream in the early 1980s, Trinidad and Tobago was a producer of oil, asphalt, natural gas, ammonia and urea fertilizers, methanol, iron, and steel. Petrochemicals based on natural gas became the center of the industrial strategy envisioned in the 1970s to diversify away from oil and export agriculture. In 1985 the petroleum sector accounted for 24 percent of GDP and nearly 70 percent of export earnings, and it affected most major sectors of the economy. The country also contained a large construction sector. Large industrial projects, asphalt roads, and government housing projects were responsible for the sector's prominence for decades, frequently making it a barometer of the economy's general health. The manufacturing sector was relatively small compared with the rest of the economy. Manufacturing, historically linked to agricultural processing, was very modern by the 1980s and comprised the assembly of automobiles, televisions, and refrigerators and the production of steel. Light manufacturing was less significant, as Trinidad and Tobago tended to import many smaller consumer items.

Data as of November 1987

Last Updated: November 1987

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Trinidad and Tobago was first published in 1987. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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