Guyana’s catfish ban among trade matters discussed with US reps


For years, Guyana has been working to remove the United States-ban on its exported catfish and this issue was among the trade matters discussed during a recent meeting with US officials.

According to a release from the Office of the Foreign Secretary, a recent stakeholder engagement was hosted at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre at Liliendaal, Georgetown.

Director for the Caribbean at the Office of the United States Trade Representative, Braeden Young and Guyana’s Foreign Secretary, Robert Persaud were among those at the meeting.

“Among the issues discussed were the priorities of the US for engagement with Guyana and CARICOM, the optimization of trade between the two countries under the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA), the restriction on Guyana’s export of Siluriformes (Catfish) to the US and the resuscitation of the Council on Trade and Investment formed under the U.S.-CARICOM Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA),” the release noted.

For context, exporters of catfish were required by the US Food and Safety Inspection Services (FSIS) to provide documentation to verify that their inspection system was equivalent to US standards.

This protocol came into effect in 2016 and exporters were given a transitional period, but failure to do this resulted in the United States imposing a ban on catfish imports from Guyana in September 2017.

In January 2022, Guyana’s Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha said more of the protocols required to remove the catfish ban was completed.

Aside from the focus on the catfish ban, the other agreements are meant to drive strengthened trade and investment ties between CARICOM and the United States as it would serve as a mechanism for the two sides to develop practical strategies on a wide range of trade, investment and economic cooperation issues.

It was previously reported that the TIFA, in particular, is seen as essential to spurring economic development and diversification of the Region, and to contributing to the improvement in the well-being of our citizens.

Meanwhile, the release also noted that officials from the Ministry of Tourism Industry and Commerce, the Ministry of Legal Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture and other Foreign Affairs officials were present.

Private sector representatives from the Private Sector Commission (PSC), the American Chamber of Commerce Guyana (Amcham) and the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) also reportedly participated.

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