Non-tariff barriers to trade in Agriculture would be among the issues discussed with the Council for Trade and Development meet in Suriname as part of Caribbean Week of Agriculture. Desiree Field-Ridley, Officer in Charge, Trade and Development, Caricom Secretariat responding to a question disclosed that it on the agenda of the meeting of the regional ministers of government.
“This has been an issue that has been confronting the region for some time now and we are trying to make sure that while we need sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures that they are not used as barriers to trade.” She said
Asked why the issue of non-tariff barriers remains unresolved for so many years, she explained that a number of issues can be cited for that.
“One is the obvious reluctance to trade in goods which might bring new pests into our countries but even apart from that, I think for some countries, the SPS measures have been used to restrict entry of agricultural goods” Field-Ridley added.
The Trade and Development Official pointed out that there is anecdotal information on the issue but with resources from the European Union’s Tenth EDF they are beginning to identify those barriers to be better able to resolve them. Farmers continue to identify red tapes and trade barriers within the region as among their reasons for not exporting produce to their Caribbean counterparts.