May 19, 2022 News
– GCCI tells govt to demand from T&T removal of non-tariff barriers
Kaieteur News – The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) is urging the government against the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Trinidad and Tobago (TT) until the twin island nation removes its non-tariff embargo that is preventing Guyanese businesses from exporting produce to that country. The GCCI said in a press statement that it is aware of the Government of Guyana’s intent to establish and sign a MoU with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, but is not in support of the move.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley and members of his Cabinet arrived in Guyana on Tuesday for the five-day Agri-Investment Forum and Expo at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre. The conference will see numerous regional Heads of Governments and members of their Cabinets, international agencies, banks and other financial institutions coming together to find ways to invest and develop the region’s agricultural sector to reduce CARICOM’s food import bill by 25 percent by 2025. This sum amounts to the removal of a US$6B food import reduction in the next three years. Many partnerships, MoUs and other collaborative connections are expected to be made.
GCCI said it understands that the target areas for the TT/ Guyana MoU are intended to be in agriculture, energy and national security. The Chamber said it wishes to express its disagreement with this action by the Government of Guyana. Their concern, it was noted, comes in light of the fact that there are still many non-tariff barriers (NTBs) implemented by Trinidad and Tobago against Guyana. “These NTBs prevent exports from Guyanese businesses and, by extension, inhibit the growth of Guyanese enterprises,” the Chamber highlighted.
As such, the organisation reiterated its position for the government to refrain from partnering with the twin island nation, a call they said, was also made in 2018 with a previous MoU of a similar nature. The Chamber said it, “… strongly urges the Government to refrain from signing any MoU with Trinidad and Tobago until these non-tariff barriers are removed. Being the oldest and largest private-sector representation organization in Guyana, it is our mandate to ensure that the concerns of the enterprises that have continuously expressed difficulties as it relates to doing business in and with Trinidad and Tobago are voiced.” “The Chamber of Commerce, therefore, reiterates its disagreement with this action by the Government of Guyana and, once again, urges that these long-standing NTBs be removed.
Trinidadian manufacturers had stated in March that non-tariff barriers were hampering the importation of agricultural produce from Guyana. That country’s Manufacturers Association’s (TTMA), CEO, Dr. Mahindra Ramdeen had said that it was not that Trinidad’s private sector did not want to import from Guyana, but that the political directorate needed to clear the hurdles.
Phytosanitary and sanitary measures were said to be curtailing the pace of the trade. The measures were also said to be in place so that produce could be sourced from other places. The matter has frequently come up at the CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) and at the bilateral level.
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