Guyana is seeking a “transitional arrangement” for itself, and the Caribbean Community as the United Kingdom (UK) begins the two-year process to leave the European Union (EU).
First Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge recently said that this arrangement was raised by President David Granger when he made a state visit to the United Kingdom in late April.
“That transition has implications for those who supply the United Kingdom with products such as sugar in Guyana, and for those who purchase United Kingdom goods which also applies to Guyana,” Minister Greenidge explained to the Government Information News Agency (GINA).
Those implications referred to by the Minister are tariffs and new regulations which will differ from what are currently being offered by the EU. Minister Greenidge explained that under the EU, the Caribbean, which includes Guyana, had negotiated an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) for exporting goods to the UK.
“Now that Britain is proposing to leave the EPA we have now to deal with Britain as a new arena into which we want to get products and therefore we have to see with them what may be done with the tariffs that had been abolished when Britain was in the EU,” Minister Greenidge said.
Establishing a transitional arrangement will facilitate, “a soft landing as a result of these changes” for Guyana and the Caribbean in a whole Minister Greenidge noted.
Meanwhile, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is also mulling the implications of Britain leaving the EU. Like Guyana, CARICOM too has to reassess trade arrangements with the UK.
At the opening of the 44th regular meeting of Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on May 10, Secretary General of CARICOM, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, noted that Brexit will have an impact on the Region’s external trade relationships.
Britain and the EU are major trade partners of CARICOM. At COTED’s recent meeting, a decision had to be made to ensure CARICOM’s market access to the UK continued after the Brexit process is complete.
“This is important given that the UK market absorbs approximately 22 percent of our overall exports to the European Union,” Ambassador LaRocque pointed out.
Britain voted to leave the EU last June in a referendum that was popularly referred to as Brexit (British exit) . At the end of March, Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, officially triggered the process for leaving the EU. That process, according to the BBC, will take two years.