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Trinidad And Tobago - Tips

Thu, 8 Jul 2010 00:41:49

Trinidad and Tobago

Flag of Trinidad and Tobago is red with a white-edged black diagonal band
from the upper hoist side to the lower fly side.


Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

Area: 5,128 sq. km. (1,980 sq. mi.), about the size of Delaware.
Trinidad--4,828 sq. km. (1,864 sq. mi). Tobago--300 sq. km. (116 sq. mi).
Cities: Capital--Port of Spain (metropolitan pop. 310,000). Other cities--San
Fernando, Chaguanas, Arima, Scarborough. (Tobago)
Terrain: Plains and low mountains.
Climate: Tropical; principal rainy season is June through December.

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Trinidadian(s) and Tobagonian(s). (NOTE: A
popular combination name for Trinidadians and Tobagonians is Trinbagonians)
Population (2006 est): 1,297,944
Annual growth rate: 0.3%.
Ethnic groups (2000): East Indian 40.0%, African 37.5%, mixed 20.5%, European
0.6%, Chinese 0.3%, other/not stated 1.1%.
Religions (2000): Roman Catholic 26.0%, Hindu 22.5%, Anglican 7.8%,
Pentecostal 6.8%, Baptist 7.2%, other Christian 5.8%, Muslim 5.8%, Seventh
Day Adventist 4%, other 10.8%, unspecified 1.4%, none 1.9%.
Language: English.
Education: Years compulsory--8. Literacy--98.6%.
Health: Infant mortality rate (2005 est.)- 25.81/1,000. Life expectancy (2006
est.)--66 yrs. male; 68 yrs. female.
Work force (628,400 in 2006): Trade and services 41.7%, construction 17.9%,
government 22.9%, manufacturing 8.6%, agriculture/sugar 4.2%, oil/gas 3.2%,
utilities 1.5%.

Type: Parliamentary democracy.
Independence: August 31, 1962.
Present constitution: September 24, 1976.
Branches: Executive--president (chief of state), prime minister (head of
government), cabinet. Legislative--bicameral parliament.
Judicial--independent court system; highest court of appeal is Privy Council
Subdivisions: Nine regional corporations, two city corporations, three
borough corporations, one ward (Trinidad); Tobago House of Assembly.
Political parties: People's National Movement (PNM); United National Congress
(UNC); Congress of the People (COP); other minor parties, including the
much-diminished National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR).
Suffrage: Universal at 18.

Economy (2006 est)
GDP: U.S. $18.14 billion (market prices).
Annual growth rate: 8% (2005), 12% (2006 preliminary).
Per capita income: U.S. $13,978.
Natural resources: Oil and natural gas, timber, fish.
Petroleum (crude oil, natural gas, petrochemicals): 20.6% of GDP.
Financial services: 7.5% of GDP.
Distribution including restaurants: 3.2% of GDP.
Manufacturing (food and beverages, assembly, chemicals, printing): 11.8% of
Construction and Quarrying: 14.5% of GDP.
Transport/storage/communication: 4.0% of GDP.
Government: 1.5% of GDP.
Education, cultural community services: 9.4% of GDP.
Electricity and water: 2.2% of GDP.
Agriculture (sugar, poultry, other meat, vegetables, citrus): 0.6% of GDP.
Hotels and guesthouses: 1.7% of GDP.

Columbus landed on and named Trinidad in 1498, and Spaniards settled the
island a century later. Spanish colonizers largely wiped out the original
inhabitants--Arawak and Carib Indians--and the survivors were gradually
assimilated. Although it attracted French, free black, and other non-Spanish
settlers, Trinidad remained under Spanish rule until the British captured it
in 1797. During the colonial period, Trinidad's economy relied on large sugar
and cocoa plantations. Tobago's development was similar to other plantation
islands in the Lesser Antilles and quite different from Trinidad. During the
colonial period, French, Dutch, and British forces fought over possession of
Tobago, and the island changed hands 22 times--more often than any other West
Indies island. Britain took final possession of Tobago in 1803. The two
islands of Trinidad and Tobago were incorporated into a single colony in
1888. Trinidad and Tobago achieved full independence in 1962 and joined the
British Commonwealth. Trinidad and Tobago became a republic in 1976.

The people of Trinidad and Tobago are mainly of African or East Indian
descent. Virtually all speak English. Small percentages also speak Hindi,
French patois, and several other dialects. Trinidad has two major folk
traditions: Creole and East Indian. Creole is a mixture of African elements
with Spanish, French, and English colonial culture. Trinidad's East Indian
culture came to the island[INS: :INS]beginning May 30, 1845 with the arrival
of indentured servants brought to fill a labor shortage created by the
emancipation of the African slaves in 1838. Most remained on the land, and
they still dominate the agricultural sector, but many have become prominent
in business and the professions. East Indians have retained much of their own
way of life, including Hindu and Muslim religious festivals and practices.

Trinidad and Tobago is a unitary state, with a parliamentary democracy
modeled after that of Great Britain. Although completely independent,
Trinidad and Tobago acknowledged the British monarch as the figurehead chief
of state from 1962 until 1976. In 1976 the country adopted a republican
Constitution, replacing Queen Elizabeth with a president elected by
Parliament. The general direction and control of the government rests with
the cabinet, led by a prime minister and answerable to the bicameral

The 36 members of the House of Representatives are elected to terms of at
least 5 years. Elections may be called earlier by the president at the
request of the prime minister or after a vote of no confidence in the House
of Representatives. At the next general election, due to take place by the
end of 2007, the number of seats contested in the House of Representatives
will increase from 36 to 41. The Senate's 31 members are appointed by the
president: sixteen on the advice of the prime minister, six on the advice of
the leader of the opposition, and nine independents selected by the president
from among outstanding members of the community. Elected councils administer
the nine regional, two city, and three borough corporations on Trinidad.
Since 1980 the Tobago House of Assembly has governed Tobago with limited
responsibility for local matters.

The country's highest court is the Court of Appeal, whose chief justice is
appointed by the president after consultation with the prime minister and
leader of the opposition. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in
London decides final appeal on some matters. Member states of the Caribbean
Community (CARICOM) selected Trinidad as the headquarters site for the new
Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which is intended eventually to replace the
Privy Council for all CARICOM states. The CCJ heard its first case in August
2005. Despite having its seat in Port of Spain, the CCJ has not yet
supplanted the Privy Council for Trinidad and Tobago due to a legislative
dispute over constitutional reform.

Principal Government Officials
President--George Maxwell Richards
Prime Minister--Patrick Manning
Attorney General--John Jeremie
Chief Justice--Satnarine Sharma

Selected Short List of Key Ministers
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Arnold Piggott
Minister of Energy and Energy Industries and Public Administration--Lenny
Minister of Finance--Patrick Manning
Minister of National Security--Martin Joseph
Minister of Tourism--Howard Chin Lee
Minister of Trade and Industry--Kenneth Valley
Ambassador to the U.S. and to the OAS--Marina Valere
Ambassador to the UN--Phillip Sealey
The embassy of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is located at 1708
Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036 (tel. 202-467-6490; fax.

The first political party in Trinidad and Tobago with a continuing
organization and program--the People's National Movement (PNM)--emerged in
1956 under Dr. Eric Williams, who became Prime Minister upon independence and
remained in that position until his death in 1981. Politics have generally
run along ethnic lines, with Afro-Trinidadians supporting the PNM and
Indo-Trinidadians supporting various Indian-majority parties, such as the
United National Congress (UNC). Most political parties, however, have sought
to broaden their appeal. Most notably, the Congress of the People,
established in September 2006 by Winston Dookeran, then Political Leader of
the UNC, and other defectors from that party, announced as its principal goal
the creation of a non-race-based party which will embrace citizens of all
colors, ethnic groups and creeds.

The PNM remained in power following the death of Dr. Williams, but its
30-year rule ended in 1986 when the National Alliance for Reconstruction
(NAR), a rainbow party aimed at Trinidadians of both African and Indian
descent, won a landslide victory by capturing 33 of 36 seats. Tobago's A.N.R.
Robinson, the NAR political leader, became Prime Minister. The NAR began to
break down when the Indian component withdrew in 1988. Basdeo Panday, leader
of the old United Labor Front (ULF), formed the new opposition with the UNC.

In July 1990, the Jamaat al Muslimeen, an extremist Black Muslim group with
an unresolved grievance against the government over land claims, tried to
overthrow the NAR government. The group held the prime minister and members
of parliament hostage for 5 days while rioting and looting shook Port of
Spain. After a long standoff with the police and military, Jamaat leader
Yasin Abu Bakr and his followers surrendered to Trinidad and Tobago
authorities. In 1992 the Court of Appeal upheld the validity of a government
amnesty given to the Jamaat members during the hostage crisis. Abu Bakr and
113 other Jamaat members were jailed for two years while other courts debated
the amnesty's validity. All 114 members were eventually released after a
ruling by the U.K. Privy Council.

In 1991 elections, the NAR lost control of the government to the PNM, led by
Patrick Manning who became prime minister. The Panday-led UNC finished second
and replaced the NAR as chief opposition party. In 1995 Manning called for
elections, in which the PNM and UNC both won 17 seats and the NAR won two
seats. The UNC allied with the NAR and formed the new government, with Panday
becoming prime minister--the first prime minister of East Indian descent.
Although elections held in 2000 returned the UNC to power, the UNC government
fell in 2001 with the defection of three of its parliamentarians, and the
subsequent elections resulted in an even 18-18 split between the UNC and the
PNM. President A.N.R. Robinson ironically bypassed his former party colleague
Panday by inviting PNM leader Manning to form a government, but the inability
to break the tie delayed Parliament from meeting. Manning called elections in
2002, following which the PNM formed the next government with a 20-16
majority. The next elections must be held by the end of 2007, and both the
PNM and the UNC, as well as the COP have been preparing for those polls.
Manning shows every indication of intending to continue in office. Panday was
forced to step down as leader of the opposition in 2006 after his conviction
for failing to file a complete declaration of assets to the Integrity
Committee. However, in 2007 his conviction was quashed, and despite the fact
that a retrial was ordered, he returned to lead the UNC into the next

All three major parties are committed to free market economic policies and
increased foreign investment. Trinidad and Tobago has remained cooperative
with the United States in the regional fight against narcotics trafficking
and on other issues.

The twin-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago continues to experience real
GDP growth as a result of economic reforms, tight monetary policy, fiscal
responsibility, and high oil prices. In 2006 the country experienced a real
GDP growth rate of 12%, which followed 8% growth in 2005. The PNM-led
government continues its sound macroeconomic policies. Long-term growth looks
promising, as Trinidad and Tobago further develops its oil and gas resources
and the industries dependent on natural gas, including petrochemicals,
fertilizers, iron/steel and aluminum. Additional growth potential also exists
in financial services, telecommunications and transport. Strong growth in
Trinidad and Tobago over the past few years has led to trade surpluses, even
with high import levels due to industrial expansion and increased consumer
demand. The debt service ratio, was a moderate 4.7% in 2004, and fell to 2.5%
in 2005. In 2006, unemployment fell to 5% down from 6.7% in 2005. Headline
inflation peaked at 10% (year-on-yar) in October 2006, then moderating to
8.0% as of March 2007. Food price inflation slowed to 18.8% (year-on-year) in
March 2007, down from 22% in October 2006. During 2006, the Central Bank has
raised interest rates eight times for the year. However, since September
2006, the Bank has maintained the rate at 8.0%. There are no currency or
capital controls and the central bank maintains the TT dollar in a lightly
managed, stable float against the U.S. dollar. The exchange rate as of May
10, 2007, was TT $6.31 to U.S. $1.

Trinidad and Tobago has made a transition from an oil-based economy to one
based on natural gas. In 2006, natural gas production averaged 4 million
standard cubit feet per day (mmscf/d), compared with 3.2 mmscf/d in 2005. The
petrochemical sector, including plants producing methanol, ammonia, urea, and
natural gas liquids, has continued to grow in line with natural gas
production, which continues to expand and should meet the needs of new
industrial plants coming on stream in the next few years, including iron,
aluminum, and ethylene. In December 2005, the Atlantic LNG fourth production
module or "train" for liquefied natural gas (LNG) began production. Train 4
has increased Atlantic LNG's overall output capacity by almost 50% and is
among the largest LNG trains in the world at 5.2 million tons/year of LNG.
Trinidad and Tobago is the fifth-largest exporter of LNG in the world and the
single largest supplier of LNG to the U.S., supplying 70% of all LNG imported
into the U.S. The energy sector experienced strong growth in 2006, estimated
at 20.6%, and accounted for 41.5% of GDP at that year's end.

Growth across the non-energy sector in 2006 slowed to 6.5%, down from 8.7% in
2005. Manufacturing was the most dynamic, with 11.8% growth in 2006, led for
the third consecutive year by food, beverages and tobacco (19%), and
assembly-type industries (11.1%). The services sector grew by 5.9%, led by
construction sector growth resulting from Trinidad and Tobago Government
investment in housing and infrastructure, and ongoing projects in the energy
sector. Performance in the agriculture sector has been erratic and weak, with
a 0.6% decline in output resulting largely from the shrinking and
restructuring of the sugar industry. The government is seeking to diversify
the economy to reduce dependence on the energy sector and to achieve
self-sustaining growth. The diversification strategy focuses on seven key
industries: yachting; fish and fish processing; merchant marine; music and
entertainment; film; food and beverage; and printing and packaging. A
National Research and Development Fund will be established to stimulate
innovation and investment in a technology park, to be constructed.

Trinidad and Tobago has an open investment climate. Since 1992, almost all
investment barriers have been eliminated. The government continues to welcome
foreign investors. The government has a double taxation agreement, a
bilateral investment treaty and an intellectual property rights agreement
with the United States. The stock of U.S. direct investment in Trinidad and
Tobago was $1.98 billion as of 2005. Total foreign direct investment inflows
average $700 million annually over the last decade. Among recent and ongoing
investment projects are several involving U.S. firms: ISG Trinidad started
operations in November 2004 in a plant that has the capacity to produce
500,000 metric tons annually of hot briquetted iron. In December 2006 Nucor
began producing direct reduced iron for shipment to the U.S. at its plant in
Trinidad, which has a production capacity of 2.0 million tons per year. Two
aluminum smelter plants are also planned, one of them to be owned by Alcoa.
The first major business-class hotel to be opened in several years bears the
Marriott Courtyard brand. A Hyatt-managed hotel is scheduled to open in late
2007, part of a multimillion-dollar port development project in Port of

Trinidad and Tobago's infrastructure is adequate by regional standards.
Expansion of the Crown Point airport on Tobago is being planned, which
follows opening of the Piarco terminal on Trinidad in 2000. There is an
extensive network of paved roads. Traffic is a worsening problem throughout
Trinidad, as the road network is not well suited to the volume of vehicles
and only a rudimentary mass transport system exists as an alternative.
Utilities are fairly reliable in cities, but some rural areas suffer from
power failures, water shortages in the dry season, and flooding in the rainy
season due to inadequate drainage. Infrastructure improvement is one of the
government's budget priorities, especially rehabilitating rural roads and
bridges, rural electrification, flood control, and improved drainage and
sewerage. The government is evaluating bids to construct a light rail system
and is expected to award a contract for the design and planning phase of the
project in mid-2007.

Telephone service is modern and fairly reliable, although significantly more
costly to consumers than comparable U.S. service, including for wireline,
wireless, and broadband services. Change began in the wireless market when
the new Telecommunications Authority invited two firms to offer competition
to state-owned monopoly incumbent TSTT (co-owned by Cable & Wireless). Two
wireless providers, Bmobile and Digicel are already operational, while a
third licensee, Laqtel, had not launched service as of May 2007. Long
distance, cable, and Internet services have not yet been deregulated, but the
government has indicated that it will do so in those markets as well,
beginning with cable TV. Internet has come into widespread use, with
broadband access available in upscale business and residential areas, along
with a number of wireless "hot spots." Improvements in service and price are
likely as TSTT prepares itself to meet competition for Internet services in
coming years.

As the most industrialized and second-largest country in the English-speaking
Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago has taken a leading role in the Caribbean
Community and Common Market (CARICOM), and strongly supports CARICOM economic
integration efforts and has advocated for a greater measure of political
security and integration. CARICOM members are working to establish a Single
Market and Economy (CSME). In early 2006, Trinidad and Tobago, in conjunction
with the larger CARICOM nations, inaugurated the CARICOM Single Market, a
precursor to the full CSME. As a first step toward greater security
integration, Trinidad and Tobago and the other members of CARICOM
collaborated with the US on an Advance Passenger Information System in
preparation for the 2007 Cricket World Cup tournament, which took place in
nine Caribbean venues in March and April of 2007.

Trinidad and Tobago is active in the Summit of the Americas (SOA) process of
the Organization of American States (OAS). It recently hosted hemisphere-wide
ministerial meetings on energy (2004) and education (2005), as well as an OAS
meeting on terrorism and security (also 2005). It also hosted a negotiating
session in 2003 for the OAS Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), and
aspires to hosting an eventual FTAA secretariat. It will host the SOA summit
in 2009.

Trinidad and Tobago is a democracy that maintains close relations with its
Caribbean neighbors and major North American and European trading partners.
After its 1962 independence, Trinidad and Tobago joined the UN and the
Commonwealth. In 1967, it became the first Commonwealth country to join the
OAS. In 1995, Trinidad played host to the inaugural meeting of the
Association of Caribbean States and has become the headquarters location for
this 25-member grouping, which seeks to further economic progress and
cooperation among its members.

The United States and Trinidad and Tobago enjoy cordial relations. U.S.
interests here and throughout the hemisphere focus on increasing investment
and trade, and securing more stable supplies of energy. They also include
enhancing Trinidad and Tobago's political and social stability and positive
regional role through assistance in drug interdiction, health issues, and
legal affairs. The U.S. embassy was established in Port of Spain in 1962,
replacing the former consulate general.

International Military Education and Training (IMET) and Foreign Military
Financing (FMF) programs were suspended in 2003 under the terms of the
American Service Members Protection Act (ASPA), because Trinidad and Tobago,
a member of the International Criminal Court, had not concluded a bilateral
non-surrender or "Article 98" agreement with the United States. However, when
the Congress de-linked IMET funding from the Article 98 sanctions, a nominal
allocation of $45,000 in IMET was reinstated for late 2007. Currently, the
main source of financial assistance provided to the defense force is through
State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement
funds, Traditional Commander's Activities funds, the State Partnership
Program (with Delaware), and IMET. Assistance to Trinidad and Tobago from
U.S. military, law enforcement authorities, and in the area of health issues
remains important to the bilateral relationship and to accomplishing U.S.
policy objectives.
The U.S. Government also provides technical assistance to the Government of
Trinidad and Tobago through a number of existing agreements. The Department
of Homeland Security has a Customs Advisory Team working with the Ministry of
Finance to update its procedures. Similarly, the Treasury Department has an
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) advising team that works with the Board of
Inland Revenue modernizing its tax administration. The U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a part of the Department of Health and
Human Services, has a regional office here that collaborates with the
Caribbean Epidemiology Center (CAREC) and other regional partners to provide
technical assistance and financial support for HIV/AIDS-related epidemiology
surveillance and public health training in the region.

U.S. commercial ties with Trinidad and Tobago have always been strong and
have grown substantially in the last several years due to economic
liberalization. U.S. firms have invested more than a billion dollars in
recent years--mostly in the petrochemical, oil/gas, and iron/steel sectors.
Many of America's largest corporations have commercial links with Trinidad
and Tobago, and more than 30 U.S. firms have offices and operations in the
country. Trinidad and Tobago is a beneficiary of the U.S. Caribbean Basin
Initiative (CBI). The U.S. embassy actively fosters bilateral business ties
and provides a number of commercial services to potential investors and
traders. A double-taxation agreement has existed since the early 1970s. A tax
information exchange agreement was signed in 1989, and a Bilateral Investment
Treaty (BIT) and an Intellectual Property Rights agreement were signed in
1994. The BIT entered into force in 1996. Other agreements include
Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance treaties, which have been in force
since 1999. An agreement on Maritime Cooperation was signed in 1996.

There are large numbers of U.S. citizens and permanent residents of
Trinidadian origin living in the United States (mostly in New York and
Florida), which keeps cultural ties strong. About 20,000 U.S. citizens visit
Trinidad and Tobago on vacation or for business every year, and more than
4,600 American citizens are residents.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials
Ambassador--Roy L. Austin
Deputy Chief of Mission--Eugene P. Sweeney
Economic/Commercial Chief--John Ries
Political/INL Chief--Avraham Rabby
Consular Chief--Armando Armendariz
Management Officer--Terrence R. Flynn
Regional Security Officer--Mark Lewis
Public Affairs Officer--Michelle L. Jones

The U.S. Embassy is located at 15 Queen's Park West, Port of Spain (tel. 868
622-6371, fax: 868 822-5905).

Other Contact Information
U.S. Department of Commerce
International Trade Administration
Trade Information Center
14th and Constitution, NW
Washington, DC 20230
Tel: 1-800-USA-TRADE
American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago
62 Maraval Road, Woodbrook
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Tel: (868) 622-4466, 622-0340 and 628-2508
Fax: (868) 628-9428
E-mail: [email protected]

The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program advises Americans
traveling and residing abroad through Consular Information Sheets, Public
Announcements, and Travel Warnings. Consular Information Sheets exist for all
countries and include information on entry and exit requirements, currency
regulations, health conditions, safety and security, crime, political
disturbances, and the addresses of the U.S. embassies and consulates abroad.
Public Announcements are issued to disseminate information quickly about
terrorist threats and other relatively short-term conditions overseas that
pose significant risks to the security of American travelers. Travel Warnings
are issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel
to a certain country because the situation is dangerous or unstable.

For the latest security information, Americans living and traveling abroad
should regularly monitor the Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet
web site at http://www.travel.state.gov, where the current Worldwide Caution,
Public Announcements, and Travel Warnings can be found. Consular Affairs
Publications, which contain information on obtaining passports and planning a
safe trip abroad, are also available at http://www.travel.state.gov. For
additional information on international travel, see http://www.usa.gov/

The Department of State encourages all U.S citizens who traveling or residing
abroad to register via the State Department's travel registration website or
at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Registration will make your
presence and whereabouts known in case it is necessary to contact you in an
emergency and will enable you to receive up-to-date information on security

Emergency information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be obtained
by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada or the regular
toll line 1-202-501-4444 for callers outside the U.S. and Canada.

The National Passport Information Center (NPIC) is the U.S. Department of
State's single, centralized public contact center for U.S. passport
information. Telephone: 1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778). Customer service
representatives and operators for TDD/TTY are available Monday-Friday, 7:00
a.m. to 12:00 midnight, Eastern Time, excluding federal holidays.

Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at 877-FYI-TRIP
(877-394-8747) and a web site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/index.htm give the
most recent health advisories, immunization recommendations or requirements,
and advice on food and drinking water safety for regions and countries. A
booklet entitled "Health Information for International Travel" (HHS
publication number CDC-95-8280) is available from the U.S. Government
Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, tel. (202) 512-1800.

Further Electronic Information
Department of State Web Site. Available on the Internet at http://
www.state.gov, the Department of State web site provides timely, global
access to official U.S. foreign policy information, including Background
Notes and daily press briefings along with the directory of key officers of
Foreign Service posts and more. The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC)
provides security information and regional news that impact U.S. companies
working abroad through its website http://www.osac.gov

Export.gov provides a portal to all export-related assistance and market
information offered by the federal government and provides trade leads, free
export counseling, help with the export process, and more.
STAT-USA/Internet, a service of the U.S. Department of Commerce, provides
authoritative economic, business, and international trade information from
the Federal government. The site includes current and historical
trade-related releases, international market research, trade opportunities,
and country analysis and provides access to the National Trade Data Bank. ***********************************************************
See http://www.state.gov/r/pa/bgn/ for all Background notes
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