According to Guyana’s Green State Development Strategy: Vision 2040, the expiration of the Caribbean Canada Trade Agreement (CARIBCAN) in 2023 poses a considerable risk to Guyana’s export performance.

The CARIBCAN waiver, which grants duty-free treatment of imports of eligible products into Canada from beneficiary Commonwealth Caribbean countries, has been renewed four times since its establishment in 1986.

The Strategy notes that negotiations to replace CARIBCAN with a free trade agreement launched in 2007 failed to reach a conclusion despite seven rounds. Given the fact that Canadian markets accounted for more than 20% of exports in 2015, the document notes that losing this waiver could have a permanent damaging effect on Guyana’s export performance, especially if an alternative agreement is not reached. While there are currently no plans for further negotiations, the Strategy urged that this remains a priority on Guyana’s international trade agenda.

The last collapse Guyana had for a trade agreement was in relation to the European Union sugar deal. The arrangement allowed Guyana to sell its sugar exports at preferential prices. When it came to an end, Guyana experienced the most significant structural decline in exports in the last 30 years.


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