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Gov’t calls for fair treatment of goods

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following T&T trade issue

In light of the recent denial of entry of milk products from Demerara Distiller’s Limited (DDL) into Trinidad and Tobago, General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, has emphasised the government’s longstanding position that phytosanitary restrictions must not be used to stifle the transport of goods. 

During his weekly press conference at Freedom House on Thursday, the GS reminded that the government has been a constant advocate for the reduction of trade barriers in the Caribbean. 

General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

“We believe it is essential to the promotion of wealth, and the growth of trade across CARICOM,” he told reporters. 

For context, during March, Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) exported to T&T four shipping containers of milk and bottled flavored water products, with the indication that there was a demand for these products in the Trinidadian market. 

However, the two containers of packaged milk products were denied entry and returned to Guyana, while the bottled water products have been restricted from sale, pending examination. 

On May 13, DDL engaged with a team from Trinidad’s Ministry of Trade to discuss the rejection of the milk products, and were informed of a particularly stringent process for the importation of Animal and Animal based products.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, DDL said that these requirements are contrary to the spirit of intra-regional trade, especially since Guyana has no such reciprocal requirements for the importation of similar products from Trinidad and Tobago.

Regarding this, Dr Jagdeo said that the government will insist on full reciprocity in matters of trade with the fellow member states. 

“The way our goods and our exports are treated across the region, but in this particular case in Trinidad and Tobago, the same way their goods entering the Guyanese market will be treated. Full reciprocity on all of the issues,” he said. 

The GS further explained, “Because if they can insist on phytosanitary tests that we don’t implement for their goods but they want to conduct on our goods before they enter into their market then we will have to deal with their items in the same manner.” 

He was adamant that Guyana has a healthy and cordial trade relationship with Trinidad and Tobago.  

“We have a great relationship with Trinidad and Tobago…and we don’t want to sound as though we are spoiling for a fight,” he assured.  However, the government wants to ensure that Guyana’s exports are treated fairly in their market, as goods procured from T&T are treated in the Guyana market. 

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