Businesses will once again be able to import products from Florida using a Certificate of Free Sale issued by the Enterprise Florida Institute, provided that the goods being imported are not subject to an existing distributorship agreement. This decision was reached by Cabinet and takes effect from Saturday, May 1, 2021.
This issue was a major contention among importers of products from Florida in the United States of America. Some businesses expressed concern that the Government Analyst Food Drugs Department was no longer accepting Certificates of Free Sale issued by the Florida Enterprise Inc.
This decision, the importers lamented, significantly affected their ability to source goods in a timely and predictable way. On the contrary, other businesses contended that some local supermarkets and other suppliers are being allowed to import items for which an official distributorship agreement exists.
The matter prompted an urgent discussion among the Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond, Attorney General, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, Advisor to the Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, representatives of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association, the Supermarkets Association, and other importers. The Cabinet decision was based on a consensus arrived at during this meeting.
The decision made it clear that while Certificates of Free Sale from Enterprise Florida Institute will be accepted; all items being imported must comply with the laws of Guyana and acceptable standards for importation as verified by the Government Analyst Food Drugs Department. Importers will be allowed to import versions of products (flavour, size, pattern, etc.) not catered for by local authorized distributorships.
The Ministry is currently in the process of verifying and compiling a list of local sole authorized distributors and their respective product portfolios, to effectively streamline the process.
Minister Walrond expressed satisfaction with the decision, noting that it demonstrates the positive outcomes that can be achieved from frank and respectful discussions in an environment of camaraderie.
“I am happy that we have been able to reach an agreement on this matter. I believe this augurs well for our businesses and consumers. It was great that we were able to bring the two sides together to ventilate this issue properly and, as a result, come up with a position of compromise that benefits both sides,” Minister Walrond noted.
She added that the government remains committed to a fair and competitive environment for businesses and free trade while ensuring Guyanese consumers are provided with quality and safe products. The government, Minister Walrond noted, will closely monitor this process.
A certificate of free sale is issued as a confirmation that the goods being sold have been approved by the regulatory authorities in the country where the goods were manufactured and can be exported without restrictions. (Extracted and modified from the Department of Public Information)