Canada's relations with Trinidad and Tobago are close and long-standing. A full-time Trade Commissioner was first appointed to Port of Spain, in 1938. Official diplomatic relations were established in August 1962, immediately upon Trinidad and Tobago becoming an independent country.
In Trinidad and Tobago, Canada is represented by the High Commission of Canada in Port of Spain, which opened in 1962. The first Canadian High Commissioner was accredited in 1963.
Trinidad and Tobago is represented in Canada by the High Commission of Trinidad and Tobago in Ottawa. Trinidad and Tobago also has Consulates in Toronto and Winnipeg.
Today, the vibrant bilateral relations cover a wide spectrum of sectors including trade, education, science and technology, security, governance, culture, environment, sport and health. Both countries cooperate within the Commonwealth, the United Nations and the Organization of American States. Trinidad and Tobago has signed and ratified the Ottawa Landmines Convention and was a regional leader in ratifying and promoting the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, both initiatives strongly supported by Canada as well.
Trinidad and Tobago has one of the largest Defence Forces in the Caribbean. The Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force has a long history of training with the Canadian Forces in Canada and has been a member of Canada’s Military Training Assistance Program since the 1970s. Cooperation between police forces is also significant.
In the last decade alone, Canada has spent over CAD $1 million to send over 60 officers from Trinidad and Tobago on training. In April 2011, Canada participated in a joint Canada-United States of America-Trinidad and Tobago disaster management exercise entitled FA-HUM.
Canada has provided significant security and logistical assistance in the lead up to the Fifth Summit of the Americas, in April 2009 and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM) in November 2009
Canada is showing its support of the government of Trinidad and Tobago in reforming the justice sector and making crime fighting a priority. The government of Canada, in a collaborative project with the United Kingdom is making an important contribution to the criminal justice reform in Trinidad and Tobago by funding the placement of a prosecutor from the UK within the office of the Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago to guide reforms in several areas, including police investigations, effective use of witnesses and state-of-the-art technologies. Canada has programming in all three areas of rule of law: Cops, Courts and Corrections.
Canada’s program for development assistance in Trinidad and Tobago is managed by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
Canada is also actively engaged in the support of good governance in Trinidad and Tobago, often providing experts for conferences in various areas such as Multiculturalism and Anti-Corruption. Canada also provided experts to help in the training of Trinidad and Tobago’s Police Complaints Authority.
The economy of Trinidad and Tobago is the largest, most diversified and most industrialized in the Caribbean. Its major industries are petroleum and petroleum products, liquefied natural gas, methanol, ammonia, urea and steel products. The energy sector remains the main economic driver for Trinidad and Tobago.
In terms of Canada’s trade relationship with Trinidad and Tobago, bilateral merchandise trade totalled $577.8 million in 2012. Merchandise exports to Trinidad and Tobago totalled $329.6 million and included mineral ores, machinery, paper and paperboard and copper and copper articles. Canada imported $248.2 million worth of merchandise from Trinidad and Tobago in 2012 which included organic chemicals, iron and steel.
Canadian investments are concentrated in the petrochemical, oil, gas and financial sectors. The official stock of Canadian direct investment stock in Trinidad and Tobago in 2012 was estimated at $893 million. A number of Canadian oil and gas companies have made significant investments in the sector between 2010 and 2012 and two Canadian companies are petrochemical world leaders with a long-established presence in T&T's Point Lisas Industrial Estate; between them producing methanol, ammonia and urea.
Canada has a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) with Trinidad and Tobago, as well as a Double Taxation Agreement. In 2012, both a Technical Framework Arrangement (TFA) in the health sector and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the modernization of the public sector was signed between Canada and Trinidad and Tobago. Also in 2012, a MoU between Memorial University (NF) and the T&T Ministry of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education was signed for enhanced collaboration in the field of marine services training. In 2013 the Canadian Commercial Corporation signed a MoU with the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of National Security.
Discussions are ongoing between Canada and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which includes Trinidad and Tobago, aimed at achieving a modern mutually beneficial trade agreement that provides significant economic benefits and takes into account the region's capacity constraints and vulnerabilities.
Academic ties between Trinidad and Tobago are far-reaching and long-standing. Canadian Presbyterian missionaries were responsible for establishing educational institutions in the country some 100 years ago, institutions which still exist today. There are two private secondary schools which use a Canadian (Ontario) curriculum. Many prominent political and business figures, have obtained some, if not all, of their tertiary education at Canadian universities. Today, many Trinidad and Tobago high school students continue to make Canada their country of choice to pursue their tertiary education. The High Commission in Port of Spain issues approximately 250 – 350 study permits to citizens of Trinidad and Tobago every year. In early November 2012, the High Commission hosted 27 Canadian universities and colleges in a Joint Canada/US Education Fair. Some 5,000 students, parents, teachers and other interested parties participated.
Several local tertiary education institutions have signed cooperative agreements with a number of Canadian institutions to facilitate collaborative research projects, degree programmes, as well as staff and student exchanges. The University of New Brunswick has established a partnership with a local Trinidad and Tobago institution to deliver degree programs in collaboration.
Students enrolled in T&T universities are eligible for scholarships to study at Canadian universities, including under the Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP) and Canada-CARICOM Leadership Scholarships. Between 2008 and 2011 a total of 88 students from Trinidad and Tobago were awarded Canada/CARICOM scholarships, an additional 57 received an Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program scholarships and nineteen faculty members from the University of the West Indies and the University of Trinidad and Tobago have conducted research in Canada under the Faculty Leadership Pilot Programme (FLPP).
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