Trinidad and Tobago

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France and Trinidad and Tobago

Political relations

Bilateral agreements

  • 18 April 1978: Economic and technical cooperation agreement
  • 5 August 1987: Agreement on double taxation and prevention of income tax evasion
  • 28 October 1993: Reciprocal Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA, entry into force in April 1996)

French presence

The consulate closed following conversion of post to a diplomatic presence post (PPD) in 2014. Consular activities have been transferred to Saint Lucia.
French community: 330 on consular register (2020), half of whom have dual nationality

Visits

Main French visits

  • 27 November 2009: the President of the French Republic attended the Commonwealth Heads of State and Government Meeting with the aim of giving new impetus to negotiations on climate change, two weeks ahead of the Copenhagen Conference.
  • May 1998 (Barbados): Meeting between Mr Josselin, French Minister Delegate for Cooperation and Francophonie, and Mr Maraj, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago.
  • December 2014 (Lima): Meeting between Ms Annick Girardin, French Minister of State for Development and Francophonie, and Mr Winston Dookeran, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago.

Main visits to France:

  • September 2006: visit by Mr Valley, Minister of Trade; Meeting with Ms Lagarde, French Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade.

Ambassadors

  • French Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago: Mr Serge Lavroff
  • Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago to France (in residence in Brussels): Mr Colin Michael Connelly
  • Honorary Consul of Trinidad and Tobago in France: Mr Alain Majani d’Inguimbert (45, rue de Babylone - 75007 Paris - telephone: +33 (0)1.45.67.09.98, fax: +33 (0)1.47.53.85.85).

Economic relations

We have a large trade deficit with Trinidad and Tobago, although the volume of our trade remains limited (we are the country’s 17th-largest supplier, with market share of 1.2%). A large share of this trade involves Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana, which represented 52% of our total exports and 23% of purchases in 2014. In 2016, our total exports stood at €30 million and our imports at €180 million.

French products exported to Trinidad and Tobago mainly consist of distilled alcoholic beverages, the volume of which rose slightly in 2018 ( +3.2% to €5.7 million); vehicle body parts; trailers and semi-trailers, demand for which greatly increased (+133.3% to €3.8 million) and which are now the second-most exported product, up from fourth place in 2017.

Despite a 21.4% drop, imports of Trinidadian products remain high at a value of €209 million. Basic organic chemicals remain the most-imported product (€84 million), followed by refined petroleum products (second-most imported item, despite another decrease (6.5%, down to €59 million).

Large French corporations Bouygues (major public and private buildings) and Vinci (road junctions and the capital’s bypass) have a long-standing presence, although Vinci has pulled out of the country since 2016 as the projects it relied on failed to come to fruition. Bouygues has fulfilled two major contracts in Trinidad and Tobago, one for the development of the capital’s sea front and another for the construction of a 26-floor office tower. Air Liquide is building a natural gas liquefaction plant. Other major groups present include Schlumberger, Perenco and ATR. The net flow of French foreign direct investments into the country was estimated at €91 million by the Bank of France in 2015.

There are two main obstacles encountered by French companies that wish to develop in Trinidad and Tobago: firstly, financing is difficult and even impossible to obtain because the country is not eligible for official development assistance (Development Assistance Committee list) and the potential financing solutions identified can be subject to significant restrictions due to current regulations in the countries listed (NCCT, OECD, AML/CFT, etc.) and secondly, French businesses increasingly encounter growing Chinese competition, which is particularly the case in the building and civil engineering sector.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Our bilateral cooperation is focused on the teaching of French. The Port of Spain Alliance Française branch has a little over 300 learners. Cooperation with French communities in the Americas is growing, such as in the field of tropical agronomy with the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD, on the use of sugar cane in animal feed) and fisheries with the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (IFREMER, Pargo project). A CIRAD expert in the cultivation of cacao has been seconded for several years to the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), a member of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) attached to the University of the West Indies (UWI).

For more information, please consult the website of the French embassy in Trinidad and Tobago

Updated: June 2020