Guyana has joined a list of CARIFORUM member countries to sign agreements with the United Kingdom (UK) which will govern their trade after the UK leaves the European Union (EU).
The United Kingdom is Guyana’s largest trading partner in Europe and its sixth overall, however, after Britain’s exit from the European Union, commonly known as BREXIT, the current trade arrangement governing Guyana’s exports to the British market will lapse.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the signing is the culmination of an approach agreed between CARIFORUM and the UK in March 2017 to ensure continuity in the existing preferential trading relations, including duty-free quota conditions, among others.
“The partnership accounts for about two per cent of imports and almost nine per cent of all exports,” the Ministry noted.
The agreement was signed by Ambassador David Hales on Friday, March 22.
The signing took place on the margins of the twenty-fifth meeting of the CARIFORUM [the Caribbean Forum] Council of Ministers in St. Lucia.
Furthermore, the United Kingdom is an important market for export of Guyana’s sugar, rice and rum. At the regional level, absorbing about a quarter of exports from the Caribbean, the United Kingdom is the largest trading partner for CARIFORUM, the Foreign Ministry noted.
Eight other CARIFORUM Member States — Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines — signed the Agreement, while others have signalled their intention to do so shortly.
Guyana, along with other CARIFORUM States, and the United Kingdom will now take the necessary domestic procedures that will allow for the Agreement to come into effect as soon as the latter leaves the European Union, the Ministry noted.