May 23, 2022 News
— looking for greater trade relations with their Trinidadian counterparts
Kaieteur News – The local Private Sector Commission (PSC) is looking for greater trade relations with their Trinidadian counterparts as the Caribbean moves to enhance its food security capabilities through the removal of barriers and other constraints.
The PSC lauded the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the governments of Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana, but highlighted the need for the countries’ private sector bodies to have closer ties. In a statement the PSC said it recognises the commitment made by the leaders of both Guyana and Trinidad to collaborate in areas of trade and investment, agriculture and food security, security, energy, and infrastructure.
Through its Council which represents the interest of 23 Business Services Organisations (BSOs), the PSC will be taking steps to engage the Private Sector in Trinidad and Tobago as well as the Governments of both countries to establish a roadmap to move these commitments forward. “We therefore call on the Trinidad and Tobago Private Sector to work towards enhanced trade and economic relations and fully collaborate with Guyana’s Private Sector and the Government in a manner that will allow for a higher level of efficiency in areas of interest to both sides.”
The commission said it anticipates the establishment of the High-Level Bilateral Commission and looks forward to actively participating in the process towards execution of this historic MOU. President Irfaan Ali said at the signing of the MoU, that within three months, stakeholders will begin to see the work of the upcoming Commission. The PSC said it commends the Government of Guyana on its initiative to engage the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states, through the just concluded Agri-Investment Forum, not just on matters regarding trade barriers but those affecting women & youth, regional transportation and food security. The PSC said it welcomes the signing of the MOU on Renewed and Enhanced Cooperation between Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.
For its part the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) also welcomes the public commitment by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to work with the Government of Guyana to remove trade barriers between the two territories. The Chamber notes that it is intended for a Commission, as well as a timeline, to be established for the removal of these barriers.
“The GCCI views this as a step in the right direction. The Chamber would like to encourage its private sector colleagues in Trinidad & Tobago to support its Government in the work to remove trade barriers. Such support would engender a relationship based on mutual respect and usher in a spirit of cooperation between the territories for advancement of the regional agenda and private sector development.”
“The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry would like to reiterate its role as a partner in the development of Guyana and its continued commitment to supporting private sector growth. The Chamber also reaffirms its willingness to serve Guyana and the wider Caribbean, remaining disposed to offer support in the work to remove trade barriers in the region,” the statement added.
CARICOM is seeking to reduce its food importation bill from US$6billion by 25 percent by 2025, the next three and half years. As such, a recently concluded Agri-Investment Forum and Expo was held here to merge key players within the economic and production aspects of food security to develop mechanisms on how they can become self- sufficient by looking at the constraints to achieving the 2025 goal.
Trade barriers, was one of the severe humbugs to the movement of goods across the region. Outside of transportation difficulties, nontariff trade barriers were highlighted where it was said that there were deliberate moves by those with influence to keep non-local products out of their countries. Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo had said during his address at the forum that Guyana was well aware of the blockages and aware of those putting them up. He noted that there is a need for government offices to help cut through local retail trade monopolies that have strong political influence by their sheer presence and period within a country.
These monopolies have deep connections within governments and regulatory agencies and they push the regulatory agencies toward restrictive measures such as those involving phytosanitary standards as protectionist tools to maintain dominance. Jagdeo had said that these same persons are the ones wanting to visit Guyanese ice-cream factories, but would not make the same request of a US company.
On the arrival of Prime Minister Keith Rowley ahead of the Agri-Forum, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) warned the government against signing any MoU with the twin island nation until it removed non-tariff barriers (NTB) on Guyanese goods. Guyana and Trinidad have agreed to work on the trade barriers and supporting each other in building capacity in other areas.
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