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‘We will deal with their goods the same way’ – Jagdeo says after DDL milk blocked in Trinidad

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Weighing in on the challenges faced by Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) in exporting its milk and water to Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo Thursday said Guyana will now treat other countries’ imports with the same scrutiny Guyanese exports come under.

“Going forward we will insist on full reciprocity in matters of trade.

“… 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 in the same manner as they are doing with our goods,” the Vice President said.

DDL Chairman Komal Samaroo on Tuesday flagged challenges relating to the export of the company’s products-packaged milk and bottled sparkling water- to Trinidad and Tobago. Two containers of milk were rejected while two containers of bottled water have been subject to extreme scrutiny.

Following much outrage locally, Trinidadian authorities, in a statement, concluded that a “misunderstanding” led to the challenges faced but the country has certain requirements for imports, particularly first-time imports.

It was, however, noted that the country’s Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon gave the commitment to DDL that upon receipt of the relevant information, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago would expeditiously process the regulatory requirements for DDL.

Still, Jagdeo said Guyana has maintained that certain restrictions such as phytosanitary restrictions, should not hinder intra-regional trade. This is particularly important since both Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana subscribe to free trade provisions under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) arrangement.

Phytosanitary measures are quarantine and biosecurity measures implemented by countries to help safeguard against the spread of pests or diseases that may be in agricultural products.

At his press conference, Jagdeo said Guyana isn’t looking for a fight but wants fair treatment.

“We have a long-standing, healthy trade relationship with Trinidad and Tobago… All we want is that our exports be treated fairly in their market as their goods are treated here,” he said.

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