The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for facilitating and coordinating Trinidad and Tobago’s international relations. The country’s foreign policy espouses non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, non-alignment and national self-interest. In 2009 the annual Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting was held in Trinidad and Tobago.
The country has good bilateral relations, maintained through embassies, with many countries including Spain, the United States, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom and others. The Spanish Government, in a state visit in 2009, commented that the development model for the petrochemical sector is exemplary and wants to promote the model throughout Latin America to establish business partnerships in the energy sector. Trinidad and Tobago also entered into a bilateral investment treaty with the United States, as early as 1996. It entered into a Free Trade agreement with Canada in the same year. The country is also part of CARICOM (The Caribbean Community) that seeks to establish all its members as being part as a viable, internationally competitive and sustainable community.
There are approximately 29 foreign embassies and consulates located in the country. Most of the embassies are based in the capital, Port of Spain. The United States has been extremely active in the country and has supported various initiatives; for example, the Congressional Research Service’s (CDC’s) Global AIDS Program (GAP), under the US Department of Health and Human Services, supports research and preventative and care efforts into HIV/AIDS. The Caribbean regional programme supporting the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) is based in Trinidad and Tobago, and the US Department of Labor has also funded HIV/AIDS workplace education and prevention projects. Diplomatic representative or honorary consul in the country can be contacted at their offices. The services provided to the public, are often only on specified days, and so it is better to phone the specific consulate or embassy for the most up-to-date information.
Trinidad and Tobago maintains embassies, high commissions and consulates in about 34 countries around the world. As a member of the United Nations, Trinidad and Tobago works towards international economic development, security and peace, and maintains a permanent mission in New York, USA, and Geneva, Switzerland. Overseas missions of Trinidad and Tobago provide reliable information on local money transfer agencies to nationals who are travelling abroad. Assistance on a range of issues such as visas, passports and travel can be sought from its embassies or high commissions. It is advisable to contact the nearest consulate, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Port of Spain can also be contacted directly.