Ian K Ramdhanie, MSc,
T&T received the sixth largest inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) in 2013, according to a UN ECLAC Briefing Paper released late May. On the flip side (outward FDI), T&T was the largest foreign investor in the Caribbean, registering US$603 million in the first three quarters.
St Vincent and the Grenadines topped the list (see chart) of recipients of FDI as a percentage of GDP, followed by St Kitts and Nevis, Panama, Antigua & Barbuda and Grenada.
In 2013, the paper said, T&T was in receipt of US$1.922 billion in FDI for the first three quarters of the year. The figure could have been higher than the previous year's US$2.453 billion, but the Central Statistical Office (CSO) did not provide updated data - a problem only two countries in LAC had - Venezuela & T&T.
“A third of FDI flowing into the region comes to Brazil, and 80 per cent of flows are concentrated in the six largest economies, but the impact of transnational corporations is larger in smaller economies,” ECLAC said. To put the numbers in perspective, therefore, the ratio of FDI inflows to GDP is what ECLAC used to show the relevance of FDI across the region in 2013.
“The ratio is, generally speaking, much higher in smaller economies, but there are some medium-size economies, such as Panama, Chile or the Plurinational State of Bolivia, where FDI inflows were very significant last year— in excess of 6 per cent of GDP,” the paper said.