US ban on catfish: Expect more protectionist measures IDB warns Caribbean, LAC

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In the wake of the recent steps by the United States (US) Government to ban catfish imports from countries including Guyana, an Inter- American Development Bank (IDB) report is warning the Caribbean and Latin American Countries (LAC) that more protectionist measures from the developed world could be in store.

According to the IDB’s 2018 Macro Economic report on the region, the global situation is a favourable one… for now. It therefore encouraged countries to make much-needed economic reforms while they still could.

“Several risks remain, including the potential for higher inflation and faster monetary normalization, with impacts on global asset prices as well as the possibility of the world turning more protectionist,” the report stated. “If these risks materialize, they could have serious impacts on the region.”

“Igniting the domestic engines of growth can boost underlying potential growth and can be a hedge against these more negative scenarios, making the region’s economies stronger and more resilient”, the report said.

Guyana was among several countries banned recently from the US catfish export sector.

Veterinary Public Health Unit Director, Dr Ozaye Dodson has said the imposition from the US export market was just a temporary technical barrier to trade.

He posited that the country fell short of the US standards in three areas: firstly, on the issue of the presence of inspectors; secondly, there was insufficient documentation detailing verification of each step in the sanitation and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) process and thirdly, there was insufficient documentation specifying how the industry manages adulterated catfish products.

However, the leader of the political Opposition, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, blamed the ban on the incompetence of the incumbent Administration. He noted that they had ample time to effect the changes necessary to prevent the ban from going into effect.

According to Jagdeo “the Coalition Government is fully responsible for the plight of local fishermen, given that they were notified of the USA’s pending changes to export regulations since November 2015. The Coalition Government, despite having received notice of these changes, failed to communicate effectively with the stakeholders of the fisheries sector, many of whom have invested heavily in this area.”

“To make matters worse, the Coalition Government received an extension until February 3, 2018, to bring Guyana into compliance with the new export regulations and failed again” the Opposition leader said.

As such, he made calls for Government to immediately take measures to support compliance with the new regulations and also take measures to support the local fisheries sector in the meantime.

 

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