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“There will be reciprocity” – VP warns countries restricting Guyana’s commodities

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Imports from any country which prevents Guyana’s commodities from entering its market will face similar restrictions when its exports are entering Guyana.
This is according to Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, who on Thursday said, “We will insist upon full reciprocity in matters of trade.”
He was at the time addressing the return of bottled water and $20 million worth of milk imports from Guyanese company Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) which was recently blocked by Trinidadian authorities from entry. According to DDL Chairman Komal Samaroo, the import of milk was blocked based on Trinidad’s Animal Disease and Importation Act 2020 while the water was restricted. He disclosed that these products have been exported to other Caricom territories with no such problems.
Jagdeo, during his weekly press conference, said going forward “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. [There will be] full reciprocity on all of the issues, because if they can insist on a phytosanitary test that we don’t implement on their goods, but that they want to conduct on our goods before they enter into their market, then we will have to deal in the same manner as they’re doing.”
He noted that the two countries share a long-standing trade relationship and therefore, the Government was not looking “for a fight” but for fair treatment of its commodities. Jagdeo added that phytosanitary restrictions should not be used to stymie the flow of goods and services across the Caricom Region.
“All we want is for our goods to be treated fairly in their market as their goods are being treated here,” he noted.
“We don’t want to get into a tit-for-tat fight with Trinidad and Tobago, but as I said before we have a good trade relationship and I have seen a statement out of Trinidad and Tobago that they are trying to address the matter; we hope that the matter is addressed through the mechanisms that are available. However, if any country believes that it could treat our goods unfairly when it enters their market or even prevent our goods from entering their market whilst having free access to our market, then we are going to ensure we examine everything and there will be reciprocity,” the Vice President said.
Additionally, he said, “it doesn’t necessarily mean that we are going to put in a repressive phytosanitary regime, but we will ensure that on the balance of things, you can’t have unimpeded access into our market and we will tolerate restricted access into your market. We are sending that signal and I hope it goes out clearly.”
In a statement on Tuesday, Guyana’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ministry slammed Trinidad’s decision to refuse the goods, noting that the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, the implementation of the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) to which both Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana subscribe, requires free movement of goods and services under the regional integration framework.
While it acknowledged that regional products must satisfy sanitary and other rules, the Ministry also noted that the dairy products were in full compliance with these regulations. Moreover, they were accepted in other jurisdictions.
It was pointed out that Guyana has already opened its market to regional producers, hence it is expected that products from Guyana should be guaranteed the full benefits of regional integration.
Subsequently, T&T Trade and Industry Ministry released a statement in which it claimed that there was no prohibition on the importation of animal products into Trinidad and Tobago from any Caricom Member State, including Guyana. However, for these products to be exported to Trinidad and Tobago, countries must be approved by the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries (MALF). This is a one-time approval associated with first-time exports, it stated. Further, it added that for an import permit to be issued for ‘first-time’ imports of milk from any country, a risk analysis is required to be undertaken by the Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO). According to the Trinidad Government, the T&T importer of the products was informed of this requirement.

The post “There will be reciprocity” – VP warns countries restricting Guyana’s commodities appeared first on Guyana Times.

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