The European Union Delegation to Egypt

Trinidad and Tobago and the EU

10/05/2016 - 15:18
EU relations with Country

The European Union (EU) recognises Trinidad and Tobago both as a valuable partner and as an influential player in the Caribbean. Relations are based on the Cotonou Partnership Agreement and a wide range of trade and development programmes.

The EU's political relations with Trinidad and Tobago are underpinned by the Cotonou Partnership Agreement. This was signed in 2000 by the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states. It covers a period of 20 years and is revised every 5 years.

Funds are provided through the European Development Fund (EDF); the current 11th EDF National Indicative Programme runs from 2014 to 2020.

The EU is supporting the Government of Trinidad and Tobago in pursuing various economic goals.

Trinidad and Tobago's economy is heavily dependent on its export of crude oil, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and other natural resources. Its economic growth has recently slowed because of low LNG and oil prices. The Government is therefore trying to diversify the economy into such sectors as agriculture, tourism and information and communications technology (ICT).

The Government is also trying to reduce social inequality and remove the main obstacles to increased trade and investment, such as bureaucratic delays and the high crime rate.

A key function of the European Commission is supporting external trade, and in this it is represented by DG Trade.

EU Trade with Trinidad and Tobago

The EU is Trinidad and Tobago's second largest trading partner, after the United States. Trade relations between the EU and Trinidad and Tobago are based on the 2008 CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). The EPA covers all areas of activity, from manufactured goods to services to intellectual property and investment, and aims to ensure that EU businesses can operate fairly. In addition, Trinidad and Tobago has bilateral investment treaties with some individual EU countries, including Spain, France and Germany.

Developing Trinidad and Tobago Trade Relations

While Trinidad and Tobago already exports to Europe, measures are being taken to increase trade in general. The EU provides support to CARIFORUM to ensure that Trinidad and Tobago — and other countries in the region — can take greater advantage of the trading opportunities available under the EPA. For example, training and workshops have been provided in areas such as food safety requirements and technical barriers to trade.

Trinidad and Tobago also engages with the TradeCom Programme through the regional organisation CARICOM. This programme was initiated to provide and coordinate trade-related technical assistance to ACP countries. It aims to facilitate sustainable economic development and poverty reduction through closer regional integration and increased participation in the global economy.

The EU's development cooperation with Trinidad and Tobago has evolved from a traditional aid-based relationship to a partnership of equals which also aims to improve trade.

Since 2007, the EU has given Trinidad and Tobago grant funding worth more than €100 million. The focus of this aid is on boosting economic diversification and promoting competitive business, food security, crime reduction, and environmental protection and sustainability. It is also being used to strengthen local and regional civil society organisations and improve governance.

Bilateral Programmes

EU development cooperation with Trinidad and Tobago currently includes the following programmes.

  • Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability (2013-2018)
  • Building a Competitive and Innovative Economy (2014-2020)
  • Measures in Favour of Civil Society (2014-2020).

Regional Programmes

EU development cooperation in the region includes the following programmes, in which Trinidad and Tobago participates:

  • Crime and Security Cooperation Programme (2014-2020)
  • Participation of CARIFORUM Civil Society in Regional Development and Integration (2014-2020)

In addition, new projects, in the areas of economic integration and cooperation, crime and security and the environment and sustainable energy are under development.

Additional details of the bilateral and regional programmes can be found in the table EU Development Cooperation in Trinidad and Tobago.

Multi-Country Programmes

Trinidad and Tobago has also benefitted from a number of ACP intra-regional programmes, including:

  • ACP Research for Sustainable Development
  • ACP Science and Technology
  • ACP-EU Cooperation in Higher Education
  • ACP Cultures+.


Through its funded programmes and projects, the EU supports Trinidad and Tobago in various important thematic areas, most notably:

  • Environment and climate change: encouraging environmental protection and sustainability through a combination of financial support, dialogue with the Government and information for civil society institutions, businesses and the public.
  • Civil Society and Local Authorities: the EU supports a more open relationship between the Government and society, and increased participation of the public.
  • Human rights: the EU promotes the abolition of the death penalty, gender equality, the prevention of violence against women and children, the promotion of LGBTI rights, and prison reform.
  • Crime and security: the CARIFORUM Crime and Security Cooperation Regional Programme has received €12.2 million to support the region's institutional capacity and response to reduce drug demand, prevent crime and violence, and combat illicit drug trafficking. The Regional Crime and Security Agenda of the CARICOM Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) is being supported. The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) is also being supported.
  • Innovation and Competitiveness: under the 11th EDF, €8 million has been earmarked to support the TT Government's programme to develop an innovative and competitive economy. The Innovation Policy, upon which this programme will be based, has already been finalized and approved by the government.


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