Trinidad and Tobago

Introduction :: Trinidad and Tobago


First colonized by the Spanish, the islands came under British control in the early 19th century. The islands’ sugar industry was hurt by the emancipation of the slaves in 1834. Manpower was replaced with the importation of contract laborers from India between 1845 and 1917, which boosted sugar production as well as the cocoa industry. The discovery of oil on Trinidad in 1910 added another important export. Independence was attained in 1962. The country is one of the most prosperous in the Caribbean thanks largely to petroleum and natural gas production and processing. Tourism, mostly in Tobago, is targeted for expansion and is growing. The government is struggling to reverse a surge in violent crime.

Geography :: Trinidad and Tobago


Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela

Geographic coordinates

11 00 N, 61 00 W

Map references

Central America and the Caribbean


total: 5,128 sq km

land: 5,128 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Area – comparative

Area comparison map

Land boundaries

0 km


362 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the outer edge of the continental margin

measured from claimed archipelagic baselines


tropical; rainy season (June to December)


mostly plains with some hills and low mountains


mean elevation: 83 m

lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m

highest point: El Cerro del Aripo 940 m

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, asphalt

Land use

agricultural land: 10.6% (2011 est.)

arable land: 4.9% (2011 est.) /** permanent crops:** 4.3% (2011 est.) /** permanent pasture:** 1.4% (2011 est.)

forest: 44% (2011 est.)

other: 45.4% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

70 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

population on Trinidad is concentrated in the western half of the island, on Tobago in the southern half

Natural hazards

outside usual path of hurricanes and other tropical storms

Environment – current issues

water pollution from agricultural chemicals, industrial wastes, and raw sewage; widespread pollution of waterways and coastal areas; illegal dumping; deforestation; soil erosion; fisheries and wildlife depletion

Environment – international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography – note

Pitch Lake, on Trinidad’s southwestern coast, is the world’s largest natural reservoir of asphalt

People and Society :: Trinidad and Tobago


1,208,789 (July 2020 est.)


noun: Trinidadian(s), Tobagonian(s)

adjective: Trinidadian, Tobagonian

note: Trinbagonian is used on occasion to describe a citizen of the country without specifying the island of origin

Ethnic groups

East Indian 35.4%, African descent 34.2%, mixed – other 15.3%, mixed – African/East Indian 7.7%, other 1.3%, unspecified 6.2% (2011 est.)


English (official), Trinidadian Creole English, Tobagonian Creole English, Caribbean Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), Trinidadian Creole French, Spanish, Chinese


Protestant 32.1% (Pentecostal/Evangelical/Full Gospel 12%, Baptist 6.9%, Anglican 5.7%, Seventh-Day Adventist 4.1%, Presbyterian/Congregational 2.5%, other Protestant 0.9%), Roman Catholic 21.6%, Hindu 18.2%, Muslim 5%, Jehovah’s Witness 1.5%, other 8.4%, none 2.2%, unspecified 11.1% (2011 est.)

Age structure

population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 46.1

youth dependency ratio: 29.3

elderly dependency ratio: 16.8

potential support ratio: 7.4 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 37.8 years

male: 37.3 years

female: 38.3 years (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

-0.3% (2020 est.)

Birth rate

11.4 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Death rate

9.1 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Net migration rate

-5.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Population distribution

population on Trinidad is concentrated in the western half of the island, on Tobago in the southern half


urban population: 53.2% of total population (2020)

rate of urbanization: 0.22% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas – population

544,000 PORT-OF-SPAIN (capital) (2020)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.1 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female

total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

67 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 20.1 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 21.3 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 18.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 73.9 years

male: 70.9 years

female: 76.9 years (2020 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.7 children born/woman (2020 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

40.3% (2011)

Drinking water source

improved:** total:** 99.3% of population

unimproved:** total:** 0% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure

7% (2017)

Physicians density

3.36 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

3 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved:** total:** 99.3% of population

unimproved:** total:** 0.7% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate

1.1% (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS

11,000 (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS – deaths

<500 (2017 est.)

Obesity – adult prevalence rate

18.6% (2016)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

4.9% (2011)

Education expenditures



definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 99%

male: 99.2%

female: 98.7% (2015)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 8.7%

male: 8.9%

female: 8.4% (2016 est.)

Government :: Trinidad and Tobago

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

conventional short form: Trinidad and Tobago

etymology: explorer Christopher COLUMBUS named the larger island “La Isla de la Trinidad” (The Island of the Trinity) on 31 July 1498 on his third voyage; the tobacco grown and smoked by the natives of the smaller island or its elongated cigar shape may account for the “tobago” name, which is spelled “tobaco” in Spanish

Government type

parliamentary republic


name: Port of Spain

geographic coordinates: 10 39 N, 61 31 W

time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the name dates to the period of Spanish colonial rule (16th to late 18th centuries) when the city was referred to as “Puerto de Espana”; the name was anglicized following the British capture of Trinidad in 1797

Administrative divisions

9 regions, 3 boroughs, 2 cities, 1 ward

regions: Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo, Diego Martin, Mayaro/Rio Claro, Penal/Debe, Princes Town, Sangre Grande, San Juan/Laventille, Siparia, Tunapuna/Piarco

borough: Arima, Chaguanas, Point Fortin

cities: Port of Spain, San Fernando

ward: Tobago


31 August 1962 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 31 August (1962)


history: previous 1962; latest 1976

amendments: proposed by Parliament; passage of amendments affecting constitutional provisions, such as human rights and freedoms or citizenship, requires at least two-thirds majority vote by the membership of both houses and assent of the president; passage of amendments, such as the powers and authorities of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, and the procedure for amending the constitution, requires at least three-quarters majority vote by the House membership, two-thirds majority vote by the Senate membership, and assent of the president; amended many times, last in 2007

Legal system

English common law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent only: yes

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 8 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Paula-Mae WEEKES (since 19 March 2018)

head of government: Prime Minister Keith ROWLEY (since 9 September 2015)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed from among members of Parliament

elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by an electoral college of selected Senate and House of Representatives members for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 19 January 2018 (next to be held by February 2023); the president usually appoints the leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives as prime minister
election results: Paula-Mae WEEKES (independent) elected president; ran unopposed and was elected without a vote; she is Trinidad and Tabago’s first female head of state

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of:

Senate (31 seats; 16 members appointed by the ruling party, 9 by the president, and 6 by the opposition party; members serve 5-year terms;)
House of Representatives 42 seats; 41 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and the house speaker – usually designated from outside Parliament; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: Senate – last appointments on 23 September 2015 (next in 2020)

House of Representatives – last held on 10 August 2020 (next to be held in 2025)
election results: Senate – percent by party – NA; seats by party – NA; composition – men 21, women 10, percent of women 32.3%

House of Representatives – percent by party – NA; seats by party – PNM 22, UNC 19; composition – NA

note: Tobago has a unicameral House of Assembly (16 seats; 12 assemblymen directly elected by simple majority vote and 4 appointed councillors – 3 on the advice of the chief secretary and 1 on the advice of the minority leader; members serve 4-year terms)

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court of the Judicature (consists of a chief justice for both the Court of Appeal with 12 judges and the High Court with 24 judges); note – Trinidad and Tobago can file appeals beyond its Supreme Court to the Caribbean Court of Justice, with final appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the president after consultation with the prime minister and the parliamentary leader of the opposition; other judges appointed by the Judicial Legal Services Commission, headed by the chief justice and 5 members with judicial experience; all judges serve for life with mandatory retirement normally at age 65

subordinate courts: Courts of Summary Criminal Jurisdiction; Petty Civil Courts; Family Court

Political parties and leaders

Congress of the People or COP [Carolyn SEEPERSAD-BACHAN]
People’s National Movement or PNM [Keith ROWLEY]
Progressive Democratic Patriots (Tobago)
United National Congress or UNC [Kamla PERSAD-BISSESSAR]

International organization participation

ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, CELAC, EITI (compliant country), FAO, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club (associate), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

Ambassador Anthony Wayne Jerome PHILLIPS-SPENCER, Brig. Gen. (Ret.) (since 27 June 2016)
chancery: 1708 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036

telephone: 1 467-6490

FAX: 1 785-3130
consulate(s) general: Miami, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Joseph MONDELLO (since 22 October 2018)

telephone: 1 622-6371 through 6376

embassy: 15 Queen’s Park West, Port of Spain

mailing address: P. O. Box 752, Port of Spain

FAX: 1 822-5905

Flag description

red with a white-edged black diagonal band from the upper hoist side to the lower fly side; the colors represent the elements of earth, water, and fire; black stands for the wealth of the land and the dedication of the people; white symbolizes the sea surrounding the islands, the purity of the country’s aspirations, and equality; red symbolizes the warmth and energy of the sun, the vitality of the land, and the courage and friendliness of its people

National symbol(s)

scarlet ibis (bird of Trinidad), cocrico (bird of Tobago), Chaconia flower; national colors: red, white, black

National anthem


Economy :: Trinidad and Tobago

Economy – overview

Trinidad and Tobago relies on its energy sector for much of its economic activity, and has one of the highest per capita incomes in Latin America. Economic growth between 2000 and 2007 averaged slightly over 8% per year, significantly above the regional average of about 3.7% for that same period; however, GDP has slowed down since then, contracting during 2009-12, making small gains in 2013 and contracting again in 2014-17. Trinidad and Tobago is buffered by considerable foreign reserves and a sovereign wealth fund that equals about one-and-a-half times the national budget, but the country is still in a recession and the government faces the dual challenge of gas shortages and a low price environment. Large-scale energy projects in the last quarter of 2017 are helping to mitigate the gas shortages.

Energy production and downstream industrial use dominate the economy. Oil and gas typically account for about 40% of GDP and 80% of exports but less than 5% of employment. Trinidad and Tobago is home to one of the largest natural gas liquefaction facilities in the Western Hemisphere. The country produces about nine times more natural gas than crude oil on an energy equivalent basis with gas contributing about two-thirds of energy sector government revenue. The US is the countrys largest trading partner, accounting for 28% of its total imports and 48% of its exports.

Economic diversification is a longstanding government talking point, and Trinidad and Tobago has much potential due to its stable, democratic government and its educated, English speaking workforce. The country is also a regional financial center with a well-regulated and stable financial system. Other sectors the Government of Trinidad and Tobago has targeted for increased investment and projected growth include tourism, agriculture, information and communications technology, and shipping. Unfortunately, a host of other factors, including low labor productivity, inefficient government bureaucracy, and corruption, have hampered economic development.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$42.85 billion (2017 est.)
$43.99 billion (2016 est.)
$46.83 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$22.78 billion (2017 est.)

GDP – real growth rate

-2.6% (2017 est.)
-6.1% (2016 est.)
1.7% (2015 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP)

$31,300 (2017 est.)
$32,200 (2016 est.)
$34,400 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

Gross national saving

26.4% of GDP (2017 est.)
16.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
29% of GDP (2015 est.)

GDP – composition, by end use

household consumption: 78.9% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 16.4% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 8.2% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.6% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 45.4% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -48.7% (2017 est.)

GDP – composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 0.4% (2017 est.)

industry: 47.8% (2017 est.)

services: 51.7% (2017 est.)

Agriculture – products

cocoa, dasheen, pumpkin, cassava, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, hot pepper, pommecythere, coconut water, poultry


petroleum and petroleum products, liquefied natural gas, methanol, ammonia, urea, steel products, beverages, food processing, cement, cotton textiles

Industrial production growth rate

-4.3% (2017 est.)

Labor force

629,400 (2017 est.)

Labor force – by occupation

agriculture: 3.1%

industry: 11.5%

services: 85.4% (2016 est.)

Unemployment rate

4.9% (2017 est.)
4% (2016 est.)

Population below poverty line

20% (2014 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA


revenues: 5.581 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 7.446 billion (2017 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

24.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-8.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Public debt

41.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
37% of GDP (2016 est.)

Fiscal year

1 October – 30 September

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.9% (2017 est.)
3.1% (2016 est.)

Current account balance

$2.325 billion (2017 est.)
-$653 million (2016 est.)


$9.927 billion (2017 est.)
$8.714 billion (2016 est.)

Exports – partners

US 34.8%, Argentina 9% (2017)

Exports – commodities

petroleum and petroleum products, liquefied natural gas, methanol, ammonia, urea, steel products, beverages, cereal and cereal products, cocoa, fish, preserved fruits, cosmetics, household cleaners, plastic packaging


$6.105 billion (2017 est.)
$6.858 billion (2016 est.)

Imports – commodities

mineral fuels, lubricants, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods, food, chemicals, live animals

Imports – partners

US 23.8%, Russia 15.3%, Colombia 11.1%, Gabon 10.5%, China 7.3% (2017)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$8.892 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$9.995 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

Debt – external

$8.238 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$8.746 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

Exchange rates

Trinidad and Tobago dollars (TTD) per US dollar –
6.78 (2017 est.)
6.669 (2016 est.)
6.669 (2015 est.)
6.4041 (2014 est.)
6.4041 (2013 est.)

Energy :: Trinidad and Tobago

Electricity access

electrification – total population: 100% (2016)

Electricity – production

10.07 billion kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – consumption

9.867 billion kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – exports

0 kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – imports

0 kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – installed generating capacity

2.608 million kW (2016 est.)

Electricity – from fossil fuels

100% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)

Electricity – from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity – from hydroelectric plants

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity – from other renewable sources

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Crude oil – production

63,000 bbl/day (2018 est.)

Crude oil – exports

31,030 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil – imports

80,860 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil – proved reserves

243 million bbl (1 January 2018 est.)

Refined petroleum products – production

134,700 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products – consumption

51,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)

Refined petroleum products – exports

106,100 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products – imports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Natural gas – production

36.73 billion cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – consumption

21.24 billion cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – exports

15.49 billion cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – imports

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – proved reserves

447.4 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

48.92 million Mt (2017 est.)

Communications :: Trinidad and Tobago

Telephones – fixed lines

total subscriptions: 321,434

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 26 (2018 est.)

Telephones – mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 1,972,595

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 162 (2018 est.)

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: excellent international service; good local service; broadband access; expanded FttP (Fiber to the Home) markets; LTE launch; regulatory development; major growth in mobile telephony and data segments which attacks operation investment in fiber infrastructure; moves to end roaming charges (2020)

domestic: fixed-line 26 per 100 persons and mobile-cellular teledensity 162 per 100 persons (2018)

international: country code – 1-868; landing points for the EC Link, ECFS, Southern Caribbean Fiber, SG-SCS and Americas II submarine cable systems provide connectivity to US, parts of the Caribbean and South America; satellite earth station – 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); tropospheric scatter to Barbados and Guyana (2020)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic’s effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry – mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite – has moderated

Broadcast media

6 free-to-air TV networks, 2 of which are state-owned; 24 subscription providers (cable and satellite); over 36 radio frequencies (2019)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 939,967

percent of population: 77.33% (July 2018 est.)

Broadband – fixed subscriptions

total: 341,045

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 28 (2018 est.)

Military and Security :: Trinidad and Tobago

Military and security forces

Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force (TTDF): Trinidad and Tobago Regiment (Land Forces), Coast Guard, Air Guard, Defense Force Reserves (2019)

Military expenditures

0.7% of GDP (2019)
0.78% of GDP (2018)
0.95% of GDP (2017)
1.02% of GDP (2016)
0.86% of GDP (2015)

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force (TTDF) has approximately 4,000 active troops, including Army, Coast Guard, and Air Guard personnel (2019 est.)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the TTDF’s ground force inventory includes only light weapons; the Coast Guard and Air Guard field mostly second-hand equipment from a mix of countries, including Australia, China, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US (2019 est.)

Military service age and obligation

18-25 years of age for voluntary military service (some age variations between services, reserves); no conscription (2019)

Transportation :: Trinidad and Tobago

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1 (2015)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 17 (2015)

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 2,617,842 (2015)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 43,198,176 mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

9Y (2016)


4 (2013)

Airports – with paved runways

total: 2 (2019)

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

Airports – with unpaved runways

total: 2 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)

under 914 m: 1 (2013)


257 km condensate, 11 km condensate/gas, 1567 km gas, 587 km oil (2013)

Merchant marine

total: 105

by type: general cargo 1, other 104 (2019)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Point Fortin, Point Lisas, Port of Spain, Scarborough

oil terminal(s): Galeota Point terminal

LNG terminal(s) (export): Port Fortin

Transnational Issues :: Trinidad and Tobago

Disputes – international

Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago abide by the April 2006 Permanent Court of Arbitration decision delimiting a maritime boundary and limiting catches of flying fish in Trinidad and Tobago’s EEZ; in 2005, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago agreed to compulsory international arbitration under UN Convention on the Law of the Sea challenging whether the northern limit of Trinidad and Tobago’s and Venezuela’s maritime boundary extends into Barbadian waters; Guyana has expressed its intention to include itself in the arbitration, as the Trinidad and Tobago-Venezuela maritime boundary may also extend into its waters

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 18,587 (Venezuela) (economic and political crisis; includes Venezuelans who have claimed asylum, are recognized as refugees, or have received alternative legal stay) (2020)

Trafficking in persons

current situation: Trinidad and Tobago is a destination, transit, and possible source country for adults and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor; women and girls from Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, and Colombia have been subjected to sex trafficking in Trinidad and Tobagos brothels and clubs; some economic migrants from the Caribbean region and Asia are vulnerable to forced labor in domestic service and the retail sector; the steady flow of vessels transiting Trinidad and Tobagos territorial waters may also increase opportunities for forced labor for fishing; international crime organizations are increasingly involved in trafficking, and boys are coerced to sell drugs and guns; corruption among police and immigration officials impedes anti-trafficking efforts

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List Trinidad and Tobago does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts decreased from the initiation of 12 prosecutions in 2013 to 1 in 2014; the government has yet to convict anyone under its 2011 anti-trafficking law, and all prosecutions from previous years remain pending; the government sustained efforts to identify victims and to refer them for care at NGO facilities, which it provided with funding; the government failed to draft a national action plan as mandated under the 2011 anti-trafficking law and did not launch a sufficiently robust awareness campaign to educate the public and officials (2015)

Illicit drugs

transshipment point for South American drugs destined for the US and Europe; producer of cannabis


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