T&T to engage Guyana to resolve trade impasse

T&T to engage Guyana to resolve trade impasse

Trinidad and Tobago’s Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon is set to meet with Guyanese officials later today to discuss a trade impasse that resulted in a shipment of dairy products and flavoured water being prevented from entering the twin-island country.

Gopee-Scoon provided the update to Loop News in a WhatsApp message after we requested a comment on the matter.

The T&T minister is in Guyana leading a delegation at the 58 Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED).

Yesterday, Chairman of Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), Komal Samaroo, expressed frustration that products from his company were having difficulties entering the T&T market.

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

The products have a combined value of over US$130,000.

Samaroo told reporters that DDL met with Trinidad and Tobago government officials on May 13, and 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.”

Guyanese President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali shared a similar view as Samaroo regarding the trade barrier posed by the T&T law.

Ali, who is the chairman of the Caribbean Community and leader in charge of food production and security, told the Caribbean News Desk that T&T’s policy is contrary to efforts of regional leaders.

“We are now working in the region on dismantling trade barriers and dealing with these exact situations. We are trying to integrate trade, expand our regional economies and create more opportunities for regional businesses, and this is a prime example of a scenario that does not help the 25 by 25 plan,” he said, adding “also it does not help the agenda of all our regional leaders.”

  • PublishedMay 15, 2024

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