As an upper-middle-income country, Trinidad and Tobago received
only minimal foreign assistance from bilateral and multilateral
agencies and obtained most of its external funds from commercial
banks. The country received only small amounts of bilateral aid
from the United States via regional economic assistance programs.
Likewise, its high income precluded it from receiving funds from
the World Bank's "soft loan" window, the International Development
Association. In fact, no major multilateral institution undertook
a major, sustained, mission to Trinidad and Tobago during the 1970s
or the first half of the 1980s. As a consequence of Trinidad and
Tobago's growing financial difficulties in the late 1980s, however,
some multilateral agencies were considering funding for the nation.
The country actually became an important donor nation during
the energy crisis of the 1970s, when other Caribbean countries
experienced difficult adjustments in their balance of payments. In
1987 Caricom nations, primarily Jamaica and Guyana, still owed
Trinidad and Tobago in excess of US$200 million from earlier
lending. Beyond direct, concessional loans to other Caribbean
nations, Trinidad and Tobago also played an important role in
providing cheap oil sales, generous contributions to Caricom
institutions, and a boost to regional trade in the 1970s because of
its rising import demand.
Data as of November 1987