DDL must undergo risk analysis, obtain import permit for milk exports to Trinidad & Tobago

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 May 2024, 22:10 by Writer

Trinidad and Tobago’s Trade Minister, Paula Gopie-Scoon briefing the media on the outcome of talks with the Private Sector Commission and Demerara Distillers Limited. Also in picture are DDL’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer Vasudeo Singh and DDL Government Affairs Consultant, Wesley Kirton.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Trade Minister, Paula Gopie-Scoon on Wednesday resolved a trade dispute stemming from her country’s prohibition of milk imported from Guyana, saying that the Guyanese manufacturer, Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), would have to undergo a one-tine risk analysis after which there would be no more humbug.

“An import permit is required but based on the fact that this is the first time that any item like milk has been coming in from Guyana, there is a requirement for what is called a risk analysis to be done and we are prepared to work with the Guyana company to ensure that this is done expeditiously and that no such product, as far as is humanly possible, would ever be returned to or a decision would not be taken to return by the private sector,” she told Demerara Waves Online News shortly after a meeting with Guyana’s umbrella Private Sector Commission and the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association as well as DDL.

She did not rule out the possibility of her country’s Chief Veterinary Officer coming to Guyana to inspect the milk plant, but said he would first exchange information with DDL. “We are pleased, from what we hear today, is that this company is of a particular standard and I would like to think that it’s almost world standard and there is no reason why… but we have to go through the formalities. Let’s just try to make sure that we do this expeditiously,” Ms Gopie-Scoon said.

She said the import permit is required for the importation of all animal products and animal-related products. “The reason why it was not allowed in again – I think the importer neglected to ensure it had the right documents in place before the items entered Trinidad and Tobago,” Ms Gopie-Scoon said. The Trade Minister said Trinidad and Tobago welcomes all of DDL’s and other products once they meet the sanitary and phytosanitary standards.

While DDL a day earlier accused Trinidad and Tobago of imposing non-tariff barriers on milk and flavoured water and said that amounted to an unlevel playing field, the Trade Minister rejected reports that the Trinidad and Tobago government had been responsible for returning the US$100,000 worth of milk to Guyana after authorities there blocked it from entering the market. “The milk being returned was a decision of the importer; the importer being a Trinidadian company. That decision was taken by him. I guess that milk being a perishable item and therefore there would have been an expiry date attached to it and I suppose in the meantime, he probably thought it would have taken too long to get the necessary permit and he is the one who made the decision to return the item, not the government of Trinidad and Tobago,” she said.

For his part, DDL’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer Vasudeo Singh described Wednesday’s meeting as “very good” and that allowed the parties to “ventilate the issues at hand” “We are very satisfied with the outcome of the meeting,” he said. Asked whether, due to the difficulties experienced, DDL would be retaining that importer, he said DDL would be “internalising” the matter, even as he was quick to point out that that company was a “very reputable importer”.

President of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA), Ramsay Ali remarked that Wednesday’s meeting was “positive”. “We believe that DDL has invested significant amount of money into this dairy project and most of their products that they are going to produce is for export so they needed to clear the air on this,” he said.