GCCI calls for removal of NTB following T&T’s refusal to import milk, water from Guyana

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

Full statement below:

The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce & Industry (GCCI) notes, with strong consternation, the attempts by Trinidad & Tobago (T&T) to frustrate the Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL’s) export of milk and water.

This attempt and outright blockage of goods is yet another addition to a notoriously long list of ongoing issues on which the GCCI has been on public record. Thus, this latest incident only bolsters the case that the GCCI has highlighted in the past regarding the attitude and disposition of Trinidad & Tobago to Guyana.

To adumbrate some long-standing issues at this juncture becomes necessary to remind the public of the flagrant mistreatment of the Guyanese private sector. Some of these issues include the rejection of containers of pineapples to T&T because the crowns were not removed; the rejection of containers of peppers because the stems were not removed; instituting of a ban on poultry meat from Guyana though no trade is done between the two countries in poultry; the requirement of agricultural products to be fumigated with methyl bromide – a substance banned under the Montreal Protocol; the requirement to apply hypochlorous acid on eddoes; the denial, rejection, and discarding of honey to be transshipped through T&T and the denial of importation of items already approved for importation.

The GCCI can furnish the public with at least one dozen more of these specific types of issues.

The continued existence of these Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs), notably concentrated within the agriculture sub-sector, flies in the face of CARICOM’s commitment to reducing the regional food import bill by 25% by 2025.

Further, the GCCI sees this as an attempt to undermine the efforts of H.E. Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, who leads this initiative on behalf of CARICOM and has personally led a high-level delegation to T&T with the specific intention of removing these NTBs. The continuation of these constitutes flagrant violations of the ironically titled Treaty of Chaguaramas and an utter disrespect of the Council of Trade and Economic Development (COTED), which has, on several occasions, instructed T&T to remove many of these NTBs.

The GCCI would like to place on public record that many of these items which have been rejected by Trinidad & Tobago, have been readily accepted into sister CARICOM territories, which are keen on operating within the spirit and construct of the Caricom Single Market & Economy (CSME).

It is with the above-mentioned in mind that the GCCI calls on the Government of Guyana to consider the strict application of the Principle of Reciprocity as it relates to trade with T&T until these NTBs are removed and the behaviour of the Twin Island Republic demonstrates that of good faith.