Special Caricom Heads meeting imminent for decision on removing trade barriers
…proposals to be presented when meeting convened in 3rd quarter of 2022
…regional transportation barriers on agenda for July meeting
The removal of trade barriers in the Region, a pressing issue that Guyana is leading efforts in addressing, is expected to be considered when a special Caribbean Community (Caricom) Heads of Government meeting is held in the third quarter of this year.
This is one of the outcomes of the Agri-Investment Forum and Expo held in Guyana from May 19 to 21, 2022, at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC). High-level representatives from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Montserrat and Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas, Grenada, Jamaica, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname, as well as regional and international institutions, participated in the forum.
According to a statement on these outcomes, it was recommended that a special committee be convened to immediately prepare proposals on the removal of trade barriers, particularly those of a non-tariff variety.
“In considering that the biggest inhibitors to the development of agri-food systems within the region are trade barriers, particularly non-tariff barriers, and that this issue requires political consensus and determination to prevent it, the Group recommends that a Special Committee immediately prepare proposals, with time-bound deadlines, for eliminating such trade barriers.”
“The Special Committee should be convened by the Minister in the quasi-Cabinet responsible for the Caribbean Single Market and Economy, and its proposals for implementation should be presented at a Special Meeting of Heads of Government in the third quarter of 2022,” the outcome statement also said.
Meanwhile, the outcome statement also spoke of the inadequacy of regional transportation by sea and air. This, according to them, hampers trade and the transport of food within the region. Accordingly, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, together with the Heads of Government in the quasi-Cabinet responsible for Transport (Maritime and Aviation) and Agriculture, were tasked with preparing a proposal to address the issue.
This proposal, according to the outcome statement, will be prepared after Mottley and the other Heads of State have consulted with the Caribbean private sector, the international donor community and multilateral development agencies, for consideration by Heads of Government in July 2022.
“In making this recommendation, the Group was heartened by the advice of the Caribbean Development Bank that it is willing to use its best efforts to mobilise resources in this effort,” the outcome statement also said.
The removal of trade barriers will be integral to Guyana’s push, in consort with other Caricom countries, to reduce the region’s food importation bill by 25 per cent by the year 2025. Guyana currently holds lead responsibility for agriculture, agricultural diversification and food security in Caricom and is spearheading the regional body’s quest to reduce its US$5 billion food import bill.
Earlier this year, there was widespread public outrage among Guyanese Private Sector stakeholders over comments made by the Head of the Caricom Private Sector Organisation (CPSO), who in a leaked email claimed that Guyana’s local content law, which makes provisions for Guyanese persons and Guyanese businesses to benefit from the oil and gas sector at specified percentages, violates certain provisions of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.
The issue had also sparked calls for Guyana to consider exiting the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME), with GCCI President Timothy Tucker pointing out that Guyana has always been short-changed within the regional bloc when it comes to trade.
Months after assuming office, President Dr Irfaan Ali had charged the Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ministry to assess and address the hurdles related to exporting food and agricultural products to markets within the Region. As such, concerns about https://hotcanadianpharmacy.com barriers to trade in some Caricom markets were raised with the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) earlier this year.
The Ministry subsequently formed a National Working Group on Barriers to Trade against Exports from Guyana. According to the assessment on market access by the working group, most of the challenges found were related to technical measures including sanitary and phytosanitary measures. It also found several technical and administrative regulations that were all hampering the export of Guyanese products.