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No immediate impact of Britain’s exit from EU expected- Greenidge

Guyana does not forecast any immediate loss of European Union (EU) funds or market access for its products as a result of Britain’s exit from that free trade bloc, Foreign Minister, Carl Greenidge said Friday.

He reasoned that the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of which Guyana is a member was not expected to be adversely affected. He said the Cotonou Agreement between the ACP and EU and the Economic Partnership Agreement between the Caribbean and the EU are all legally binding agreements.

“There is not likely to be any adverse short term consequence by way of a curtailing of resource flows or curtailment of access of let’s say sugar or any other commodity into the European Union whatever may be the case in relation to Britain,” he said, adding that was between now and 2020.

Figures show that 51.9 percent of Britons voted Thursday to leave the EU, while 48.1 percent wanted their country to remain in the trade bloc.

The Guyanese Foreign Minister said it was hard to predict what would happen beyond another four years. “For specific products, you may have some hiccups but that may depend exactly what Britain itself negotiates in terms of the European Union,” he said.

Acknowledging that the impact of Britain’s referendum on Thursday to leave the EU was “complicated” and that he did not immediately understand all of the implications, Greenidge also said he did not expect bilateral agreements with Britain to change by the Brexit decision.

On the question of whether EU would likely reduce the amount of monies being provided to Guyana and other ACP countries through the European Development Fund (EDF), Greenidge virtually ruled out that possibility. “You have legal obligations. They just can’t change the amounts made available to the ACP. It won’t change in two years and I don’t see it changing before 2020,” said Greenidge, a former ACP Deputy Secretary General and Finance Minister of Guyana.

The EU says total financial resources of the 11th EDF amount to €30.5 billion for the period 2014-2020.

The tenth EDF, which covered the period from 2008 to 2013, is scheduled to give out payments of €22.7 billion. Between 2003 and 2007, the ninth EDF provided €13.5 billion to ACP countries, in addition to € 9.9 billion from the previous programming period.