Guyana pushes for the removal of trade barriers affecting exports to CARICOM States

Information Note

The Government of Guyana has signalled to the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) its concern with barriers to trade against exports to some CARICOM markets.

The issue was raised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation during the 89th Special Meeting of the COTED, which was chaired by the Honourable Minister Hugh Todd on Thursday, February 4, 2021.

During the virtual meeting convened by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, Guyana called upon its fellow Member States to engage in bilateral discussions to iron-out trade barriers with a view of expanding intra-regional trade.

Guyana’s position follows on a missive recently issued by President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, in which he called on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to assess and address the hurdles related to exporting food and agricultural products to markets within the region.

The Ministry since 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. They also found several technical and administrative regulations that were all hampering the export of Guyanese products.

Several Member States, including Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia, Jamaica, and Barbados echoed similar sentiments as expressed by Guyana and indicated that they too are looking forward to the bilateral discussions with Guyana to “minimize the occurrences of these measures that frustrate intra-regional trade.”

Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation presided over the Meeting given Guyana’s assumption to the Chairmanship of COTED at the Fifty-first Regular Meeting which was held in November 2020.

Guyana’s delegation also included the Director of Foreign Trade, Dr. Dianna DaSilva-Glasgow, Director of the Department of the Americas, Ambassador George Talbot, and other senior officials from the Department of Foreign Trade and Department of the Americas including the CSME Unit.

Additionally, stakeholders from other Government ministries and agencies, and the private sector were also represented.