The PPP/C Government today reiterated its commitment to addressing trade issues between Guyana and its Caribbean Community (CARICOM) counterparts. The most recent declaration on this front was made by Foreign Secretary, Robert Persaud during an interview with Guyana Standard.
According to Persaud, non-tariff barriers to trade have been a “historical issue” for Guyana, but he was keen to note that President Irfaan Ali is determined to bring about meaningful change. As such, he has been continuously engaging heads of the CARICOM nations, especially those with non-tariff barriers against Guyana.
The Foreign Secretary further noted that through bilateral arrangements with these countries, thus far, Guyana has seen significant progress in having some barriers removed. “We have seen significant progress through those bilateral arrangements to have the non-tariff barrier matters resolved. It’s a work in progress but it is progress,” Persaud expressed.
As for the private sector’s participation, he indicated that they are being kept in the loop and, there are mechanisms in place for them to present those issues to the government to be remedied. “There is a mechanism where we update the private sector and certainly, if the private sector runs into any issues, they know that there’s a mechanism where they can bring it to our attention,” Persaud articulated. He followed by noting it may be a transaction or a trading activity that may present challenges. However, once reported, the government then utilises the bilateral channels established to have the matters addressed.
Following last year’s outcries from the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) regarding Trinidad’s non-tariff barriers against Guyana, Persaud reassured the private sector body that the government is working assiduously towards their removals to the free movement of goods and services within CARICOM.
Subsequent to the announcement of a pending signing of an Memorandum of Understanding between Guyana and Trinidad, the GCCI had issued a statement noting that the barriers prevent exports from Guyanese businesses and, by extension inhibit the growth of Guyanese enterprises.
With Guyana deemed the “bread basket” of the Caribbean, the Chamber felt it important for there to be free movement of goods within the community.