Shipment of Guyanese milk & flavour water blocked from entering T&T

Shipment of Guyanese milk & flavour water blocked from entering T&T

Guyana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said a decision by Trinidad and Tobago customs officials to prevent a shipment of Guyanese dairy products and flavoured water from entering the twin-island state “is an affront to the spirit of Caribbean integration agenda and must not be accepted.”

The ministry’s comment last evening came after Chairman of Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), Komal Samaroo, expressed frustration about products from his company having difficulties entering the T&T market.

At a press conference yesterday, Samaroo revealed four 20-foot shipping containers of packaged milk and flavoured bottled water, which were ordered by a Trinidadian company, were stopped at the port for testing after officials raised concerns about the products’ safety.

The products, which remain in the custody of customs, has a combined value of over US$130,000.

DDL officials met with Trinidad and Tobago government officials on May 13 and Samaroo said they were told that the milk is set to go through a long certification process which is outlined in the country’s Animal Disease and Importation Act 2020.

“We were advised of an extremely onerous and stringent process for the importation of animals and animal-based products,” he told reporters.

“DDL finds these requirements contrary to the spirit of intra-regional trade especially since we are reliably informed that Guyana has no such reciprocal requirement for the importation of similar products from Trinidad and Tobago.”

He added that he thinks the matter should get attention from CARICOM as it goes against the policy of creating a level playing field for regional manufacturers.

“You cannot be promoting trade on an uneven playing field where you have ready access but nobody has access to your market. That cannot work,” he said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs echoed Samaroo’s comments saying T&T is bound by the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas to allow regionally produced goods and services to enter its market without hinderance once they meet necessary sanitary and phytosanitary rules.

“Available information indicates that the dairy products from Guyana destined into Trinidad and Tobago were in full compliance with these requirements,” the ministry said.

“While some details about the transaction and what led to the incident are still being discussed, the Guyana Livestock Development Agency (GLDA) remains in close contact with its counterparts in Trinidad and Tobago, the exporter and the importer to resolve this matter within the shortest possible time.”

The ministry added it is working with regional counterparts to ensure that Guyanese products are treated fairly when exported.

  • PublishedMay 15, 2024

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