Trinidad and Tobago

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 10, 2011
Flag of Trinidad and Tobago
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Location of Trinidad and Tobago
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Introduction

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First colonized by the Spanish, the islands came under British control in the early 19th century. The islands' sugar industry was hurt by the emancipation of the slaves in 1834. Manpower was replaced with the importation of contract laborers from India between 1845 and 1917, which boosted sugar production as well as the cocoa industry. The discovery of oil on Trinidad in 1910 added another important export. Independence was attained in 1962. The country is one of the most prosperous in the Caribbean thanks largely to petroleum and natural gas production and processing. Tourism, mostly in Tobago, is targeted for expansion and is growing. The government is coping with a rise in violent crime.
 
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Geography

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Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela
 
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11 00 N, 61 00 W
 
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total: 5,128 sq km
country comparison to the world: 174
land: 5,128 sq km
water: 0 sq km
 
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slightly smaller than Delaware
 
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0 km
 
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362 km
 
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measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the outer edge of the continental margin
 
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tropical; rainy season (June to December)
 
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mostly plains with some hills and low mountains
 
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lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: El Cerro del Aripo 940 m
 
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petroleum, natural gas, asphalt
 
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arable land: 14.62%
permanent crops: 9.16%
other: 76.22% (2005)
 
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70 sq km (2008)
 
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3.8 cu km (2000)
 
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total: 0.31 cu km/yr (68%/26%/6%)
per capita: 237 cu m/yr (2000)
 
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outside usual path of hurricanes and other tropical storms
 
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water pollution from agricultural chemicals, industrial wastes, and raw sewage; oil pollution of beaches; deforestation; soil erosion
 
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
 
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Pitch Lake, on Trinidad's southwestern coast, is the world's largest natural reservoir of asphalt
 
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People and Society

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noun: Trinidadian(s), Tobagonian(s)
adjective: Trinidadian, Tobagonian
 
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Indian (South Asian) 40%, African 37.5%, mixed 20.5%, other 1.2%, unspecified 0.8% (2000 census)
 
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English (official), Caribbean Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), French, Spanish, Chinese
 
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Roman Catholic 26%, Protestant 25.8% (Anglican 7.8%, Baptist 7.2%, Pentecostal 6.8%, Seventh-Day Adventist 4%), Hindu 22.5%, Muslim 5.8%, other Christian 5.8%, other 10.8%, unspecified 1.4%, none 1.9% (2000 census)
 
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1,227,505 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
 
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0-14 years: 19.5% (male 122,044/female 116,859)
15-64 years: 72.1% (male 455,148/female 429,990)
65 years and over: 8.4% (male 44,439/female 59,025) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 33.1 years
male: 32.6 years
female: 33.6 years (2011 est.)
 
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-0.087% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 205
 
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14.35 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143
 
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8.29 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90
 
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-6.93 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 203
 
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urban population: 14% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 3% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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PORT-OF-SPAIN (capital) 57,000 (2009)
 
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at birth: 1.028 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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55 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 95
 
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total: 27.69 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 73
male: 28.93 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 26.41 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 71.37 years
country comparison to the world: 136
male: 68.51 years
female: 74.3 years (2011 est.)
 
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1.72 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
 
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5.6% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 122
 
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1.175 physicians/1,000 population (2007)
country comparison to the world: 95
 
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2.5 beds/1,000 population (2008)
country comparison to the world: 87
 
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improved:
urban: 98% of population
rural: 93% of population
total: 34% of population
unimproved:
urban: 2% of population
rural: 7% of population
total: 6% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 92% of population
rural: 92% of population
total: 92% of population
unimproved:
urban: 8% of population
rural: 8% of population
total: 8% of population (2008)
 
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1.5% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 35
 
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15,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
 
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fewer than 1,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66
 
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4.4% (2000)
country comparison to the world: 87
 
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NA
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.6%
male: 99.1%
female: 98% (2003 est.)
 
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total: 12 years
male: 11 years
female: 12 years (2007)
 
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total: 10.5%
country comparison to the world: 101
male: 8.8%
female: 12.9% (2008)
 
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in 2007, the government of Trinidad and Tobago estimated the population to be 1.3 million
 
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Government

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conventional long form: Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
conventional short form: Trinidad and Tobago
 
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parliamentary democracy
 
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name: Port of Spain
geographic coordinates: 10 39 N, 61 31 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
 
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9 regional corporations, 2 city corporations, 3 borough corporations, 1 ward
regional corporations: Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo, Diego Martin, Mayaro/Rio Claro, Penal/Debe, Princes Town, Sangre Grande, San Juan/Laventille, Siparia, Tunapuna/Piarco
city corporations: Port of Spain, San Fernando
borough corporations: Arima, Chaguanas, Point Fortin
ward: Tobago
 
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31 August 1962 (from the UK)
 
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Independence Day, 31 August (1962)
 
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1 August 1976
 
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English common law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court
 
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has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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chief of state: President George Maxwell RICHARDS (since 17 March 2003)
head of government: Prime Minister Kamla PERSAD-BISSESSAR (since 26 May 2010)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed from among the members of Parliament
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elections: president elected by an electoral college, which consists of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives, for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 11 February 2008 (next to be held by February 2013); the president usually appoints as prime minister the leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives
election results: George Maxwell RICHARDS reelected president; percent of electoral college vote - NA
 
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bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (31 seats; 16 members appointed by the ruling party, 9 by the President, 6 by the opposition party to serve a maximum term of five years) and the House of Representatives (41 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: House of Representatives - last held on 24 May 2010 (next to be held in 2015)
election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote - NA; seats by party - UNC 21, PNM 12, COP 6, TOP 2
note: Tobago has a unicameral House of Assembly with 12 members serving four-year terms; last election held in January 2005; seats by party - PNM 11, DAC 1
 
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Supreme Court of Judicature (comprised of the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeals; the chief justice is appointed by the president after consultation with the prime minister and the leader of the opposition; other justices are appointed by the president on the advice of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission); the highest court of appeal is the Privy Council in London; member of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)
 
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Congress of the People or COP [Winston DOOKERAN]; Democratic Action Congress or DAC [Hochoy CHARLES] (only active in Tobago); Democratic National Alliance or DNA [Gerald YETMING] (coalition of NAR, DDPT, MND); Movement for National Development or MND [Garvin NICHOLAS]; National Alliance for Reconstruction or NAR [Dr. Carson CHARLES]; People's National Movement or PNM [Patrick MANNING]; Tobago Organization of the People or TOP [Ashworth JACK]; United National Congress or UNC [Kamla PERSAD-BISSESSAR]
 
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Jamaat-al Muslimeen [Yasin ABU BAKR]
 
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ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-24, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Paris Club (associate), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Neil PARSAN
chancery: 1708 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 467-6490
FAX: [1] (202) 785-3130
consulate(s) general: Miami, New York
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Beatrice W. WELTERS
embassy: 15 Queen's Park West, Port of Spain
mailing address: P. O. Box 752, Port of Spain
telephone: [1] (868) 622-6371 through 6376
FAX: [1] (868) 822-5905
 
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red with a white-edged black diagonal band from the upper hoist side to the lower fly side; the colors represent the elements of earth, water, and fire; black stands for the wealth of the land and the dedication of the people; white symbolizes the sea surrounding the islands, the purity of the country's aspirations, and equality; red symbolizes the warmth and energy of the sun, the vitality of the land, and the courage and friendliness of its people
 
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scarlet ibis (bird of Trinidad); cocrico (bird of Tobago)
 
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name: "Forged From the Love of Liberty"
lyrics/music: Patrick Stanislaus CASTAGNE
note: adopted 1962; the song was originally created to serve as an anthem for the West Indies Federation; it was adopted by Trinidad and Tobago following the Federation's dissolution in 1962
 
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Economy

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Trinidad and Tobago has earned a reputation as an excellent investment site for international businesses and has one of the highest growth rates and per capita incomes in Latin America. Economic growth between 2000 and 2007 averaged slightly over 8%, significantly above the regional average of about 3.7% for that same period; however, GDP has slowed down since then and contracted about 3.5% in 2009, before rising more than 2% in 2010. Growth has been fueled by investments in liquefied natural gas (LNG), petrochemicals, and steel. Additional petrochemical, aluminum, and plastics projects are in various stages of planning. Trinidad and Tobago is the leading Caribbean producer of oil and gas, and its economy is heavily dependent upon these resources but it also supplies manufactured goods, notably food products and beverages, as well as cement to the Caribbean region. Oil and gas account for about 40% of GDP and 80% of exports, but only 5% of employment. The country is also a regional financial center, and tourism is a growing sector, although it is not as important domestically as it is to many other Caribbean islands. The economy benefits from a growing trade surplus. The previous MANNING administration benefited from fiscal surpluses fueled by the dynamic export sector; however, declines in oil and gas prices have reduced government revenues which will challenge the new government's commitment to maintaining high levels of public investment.
 
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$26.1 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
$26.09 billion (2009 est.)
$27.05 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$20.59 billion (2010 est.)
 
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0% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188
-3.5% (2009 est.)
2.4% (2008 est.)
 
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$21,200 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 61
$21,200 (2009 est.)
$22,000 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 0.4%
industry: 58.8%
services: 40.8% (2010 est.)
 
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634,300 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
 
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agriculture: 3.8%
manufacturing, mining, and quarrying: 12.8%
construction and utilities: 20.4%
services: 62.9% (2007 est.)
 
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6.4% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 59
5.8% (2009 est.)
 
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17% (2007 est.)
 
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lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
 
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11.6% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 180
 
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revenues: $6.6 billion
expenditures: $7.199 billion (2010 est.)
 
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32.1% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 86
 
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-2.9% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 95
 
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29.8% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91
26.2% of GDP (2009 est.)
 
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10.5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 204
7% (2009 est.)
 
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4.25% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 44
7.25% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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9.3% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
11.9% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$4.577 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91
$4.182 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$13.94 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 92
$12.7 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$5.75 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110
$5.557 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$12.16 billion (31 December 2010)
country comparison to the world: 67
$11.15 billion (31 December 2009)
$12.16 billion (31 December 2008)
 
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cocoa, rice, citrus, coffee, vegetables; poultry
 
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petroleum and petroleum products, liquefied natural gas (LNG), methanol, ammonia, urea, steel products, beverages, food processing, cement, cotton textiles
 
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2.5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123
 
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7.419 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100
 
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7.246 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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144,900 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 47
 
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41,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
 
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242,600 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48
 
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95,240 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66
 
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728.3 million bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 42
 
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42.38 billion cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 21
 
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21.97 billion cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
 
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20.41 billion cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
 
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0 cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131
 
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408.2 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
 
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$3.944 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 38
$1.614 billion (2009 est.)
 
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$12.72 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 78
$9.175 billion (2009 est.)
 
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petroleum and petroleum products, liquefied natural gas (LNG), methanol, ammonia, urea, steel products, beverages, cereal and cereal products, sugar, cocoa, coffee, citrus fruit, vegetables, flowers
 
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US 44.2%, Spain 6.1%, Jamaica 5.1% (2010)
 
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$8.187 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100
$6.973 billion (2009 est.)
 
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mineral fuels, lubricants, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods, food, chemicals, live animals
 
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US 27.8%, Russia 11.5%, Brazil 7.8%, Colombia 6.9%, Gabon 4.3%, China 4.2%, Canada 4.2% (2010)
 
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$9.659 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 72
$9.246 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$4.289 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120
$3.857 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$102 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33
$12.44 billion (2007)
 
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$3.829 billion (2007)
country comparison to the world: 63
 
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Trinidad and Tobago dollars (TTD) per US dollar -
6.3337 (2010)
6.3099 (2009)
6.2896 (2008)
6.3275 (2007)
6.3107 (2006)
 
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Communications

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293,300 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 117
 
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1.894 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 139
 
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general assessment: excellent international service; good local service
domestic: mobile-cellular teledensity roughly 185 telephones per 100 persons
international: country code - 1-868; submarine cable systems provide connectivity to US and parts of the Caribbean and South America; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); tropospheric scatter to Barbados and Guyana
 
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5 TV networks each broadcasting on multiple stations; one of the networks is state-owned; multiple cable TV subscription service providers; multiple radio networks, one state-owned, broadcast over about 35 stations (2007)
 
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.tt
 
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168,876 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 68
 
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593,000 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 115
 
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Transportation

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6 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 172
 
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total: 3
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2010)
 
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total: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2010)
 
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gas 671 km; oil 334 km (2010)
 
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total: 8,320 km
country comparison to the world: 140
paved: 4,252 km
unpaved: 4,068 km (2001)
 
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total: 6
country comparison to the world: 128
by type: passenger 1, passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 1
registered in other countries: 2 (Bahamas 1, unknown 1) (2010)
 
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Point Fortin, Point Lisas, Port of Spain, Scarborough
oil terminals: Galeota Point terminal
 
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Military

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Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force (TTDF): Trinidad and Tobago Army, Coast Guard, Air Guard, Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (2010)
 
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18 years of age for voluntary military service (16 years of age with parental consent); no conscription (2010)
 
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males age 16-49: 341,764
females age 16-49: 317,899 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 269,824
females age 16-49: 261,735 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 8,164
female: 7,503 (2010 est.)
 
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0.3% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 167
 
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Transnational Issues

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Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago abide by the April 2006 Permanent Court of Arbitration decision delimiting a maritime boundary and limiting catches of flying fish in Trinidad and Tobago's exclusive economic zone; in 2005, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago agreed to compulsory international arbitration under UNCLOS challenging whether the northern limit of Trinidad and Tobago's and Venezuela's maritime boundary extends into Barbadian waters; Guyana has also expressed its intention to include itself in the arbitration as the Trinidad and Tobago-Venezuela maritime boundary may extend into its waters as well
 
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transshipment point for South American drugs destined for the US and Europe; producer of cannabis
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