DDL seeks CARICOM’s intervention over Trinidad and Tobago’s rejection of milk export

DDL seeks CARICOM’s intervention over Trinidad and Tobago’s rejection of milk export

Demerara Distillers Limited is seeking the intervention of the Government of Guyana and CARICOM over Trinidad and Tobago’s rejection of a shipment of packaged milk and the restriction of the entry of flavoured water exported by the company.

At a late afternoon press conference, DDL’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Komal Samaroo explained that the company exported four 20-foot containers of its packaged milk and flavoured water to Trinidad for a distributor there during the month of March.

He said the US$100,000 packaged milk shipment was completely denied entry and returned to Guyana, while the flavoured water is still to make it onto the Trinidadian market, as it is now facing a number of import hurdles.

Samaroo said the treatment of DDL’s exports to Trinidad is unfair, especially when one takes into account the fact that Guyana imports similar products from Trinidad and Tobago and those products do not face any similar hurdles. He said there should be equal and even access to markets in the region and his company now intends to take the issue far.

Chairman and CEO of DDL, Komal Samaroo

“You cannot develop a common market with different sets of rules where you have ready access to one market and that market has restricted access to your market. The rules have got to be even and leveled so that everybody gets a fair chance, and right now we do not have a fair chance”, the DDL CEO complained.

Samaroo said his company engaged with a team from the Ministry of Trade of Trinidad and Tobago on Monday to discuss the issue. He said the company was advised of an “extremely onerous and stringent process” for the importation of animal and animal based products based on the provisions of Trinidad and Tobago’s Animal Diseae and Importation Act 2020.

“DDL finds these requirements contrary to the spirit of intra-regional trade especially, since we are reliably informed that Guyana has no such reciprocal requirements for the importation of similar products from Trinidad and Tobago. DDL therefore requests that the Government of Guyana takes note of these developments and seek to ensure that there is balance and equity in our trade relations with Trinidad and Tobago”, the CEO stated.

He said what the authorities in Trinidad and Tobago are doing is simply wrong, and the matter must be addressed.

“If you are going to accept as a norm a different set of rules and different standards, then we cant have free trade. It has been on a common basis. The European Union and the North American Free Trade, are all on a common basis, you can’t have a set of rules that an exporter to your market got to go through these hurdles, and then you have ready access to everybody else. It is wrong”, he said.

Mr. Samaroo said the same products rejected by Trinidad and Tobago have been exported to other CARICOM states with no issue. He said all requirements were followed by his company and the rejected products are of the highest quality, even gaining full approval by the US Food and Drugs Administration.

He is hoping that the Guyana Government and CARICOM move quickly to address the concerns of Demerara Distillers Limited.

DDL has been investing heavily in the milk business, with the company nearing completion of a multi-billion dollar modern dairy farm at Moblissa, along the Soesdyke-Linden Highway.

For several years, honey exporters have been facing multiple hurdles to gain access to the Trinidad and Tobago market. Those exporters have complained about the Trinidadian authorities not having a fair system that would allow their products on the market. That particular issue has also engaged CARICOM, but with little movement or buzz.

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