Tackling regional trade barriers | Local company
Guyana’s PRESIDENT Irfaan Ali called on the Caribbean private sector to work together to remove trade barriers that hamper the development of regional economies. Addressing the President’s dinner and the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association (TTMA) awards ceremony via video conference, he said he would share a document with the association that addresses trade barriers in Caricom , country by country.
“I hope that by sharing this, your association will join forces with associations through Caricom to make your voice heard, calling for a collective effort to remove these barriers to trade,” said Ali.
In his remarks, President Ali said he would have liked to see much more accomplished from the Single Market and the Caricom Economy (CSME), but that various individual trade barriers imposed by member countries were stifling progress.
“Some are absurd … some of these imposed barriers can be lifted overnight if we are serious about building capacity and opening up opportunities,” he said, also referring to a document from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on regional integration which noted that “the absence of a regional body endowed with powers and responsibilities that can help transform community decisions into binding laws in individual jurisdictions is a major obstacle”.
âSo it’s not a lack of decisions. Leaders make decisions. It is the responsibility of each state to take these decisions seriously and to implement them.
âThis is concerning and this is what Prime Minister Mottley has talked about a lot. We cannot move forward regionally as a people, as a collective, if we are not willing to act altruistically, âAli said. The Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, has been commissioned to lead the implementation of the CSME.
The Guyanese president also told the industrialists of the Hyatt Regency hotel in Port of Spain about the relative geographical proximity and strong cultural links between T&T and Guyana. “There are strong economic ties,” with trade valued at over half a billion US dollars in 2020.
He said Guyana imported US $ 514 million worth of goods and services from Port of Spain, while Georgetown exported US $ 35 million.
The Guyanese head of state, who has primary responsibility for agriculture, agricultural diversification and food security at Caricom, said the region imports three times as much as it exports and the number is higher for manufactured products which are on average seven times more than what is exported.
“â¦And [we are] do it when we have countries in the group with natural resources that can match it and be an alternative. We do this when we have energy costs in countries in a region as competitive as any other in the world.
âSo what’s missing? What is causing this discrepancy? Can’t we do this? Ali asked.
At the ceremony, the Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to the late TTMA President Stuart Dalgliesh, who died in September. The award was received by his son.
The following companies have been awarded:
Innovator of the year 2020 Angostura
Green Manufacturer of the Year 2020 Trinidad Cement
2020 Ferreira Optical Service Provider (SoS) Award
New market entrant (exporter of
year) Small / Medium 2020 ABEL Building Solutions
New market entrant (exporter of
year) Grand 2020 Langston Roach Industries
Small 2020 Manufacturer of the Year Vicmol (2007)
Manufacturer of the Year Medium 2020 RHS Marketing
Grand Manufacturer of the Year 2020 NestlÃ© Trinidad and Tobago