Guyanese exporters have been subjected to unfair treatment by T&T for decades – GOGEC

  • say latest development is blatant violation of free trade embodied in the Treaty of Chaguaramas

The Guyana Oil and Gas Energy Chamber (GOGEC) has noted with concern reports in the media by one of Guyana’s largest conglomerates, Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), where the company’s Executive Chairman reported that “two containers of packaged milk products were denied entry and returned to Guyana, while the bottled water products have been restricted from sale pending the completion of an unconventionally exhaustive examination of these bottled water products”.

GOGEC stands resolutely in solidarity with DDL in the condemnation of this latest development, which is tantamount to a blatant violation of the spirit of the free trade agreement embodied in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, that both Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago are signatories of.

Unfortunately, Guyanese exporters have been subjected to this type of unfair treatment by Trinidad and Tobago for decades. Yet, despite the commitment to resolve these issues, they remain unresolved such that these barriers have been weaponized into shields of a trade protectionism agenda.

It is worth noting that Trinidad and Tobago is Guyana’s second-largest trading partner for imported commodities, accounting for over 20% of total imports (2023), to the tune of US$1.4 billion as of 2023.

Whereas exports to Trinidad and Tobago from Guyana are in the region of under US$200 million, thus, giving rise to a trade deficit position with Trinidad and Tobago of approximately US$1.2 billion.

Moreover, exports from Trinidad and Tobago to Guyana account for 11% of Trinidad’s total exports (2023) and 53% of Trinidad’s total non-energy exports. It therefore means that should Guyana respond reciprocally to Trinidad by temporarily suspending imports from Trinidad into Guyana, then Trinidad stands to lose more than 50% of its non-energy export earnings.

Furthermore, this is outside of the hundreds of Trinidadian nationals and firms that are in Guyana operating freely, without any barriers of such, and are all profiting handsomely.

Considering the above dynamics, GOGEC urges the Trinidadian authorities to remedy this unacceptable violation of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.