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Guyana, UK sign trade agreement

first_imgWith Brexit expected to legally take place on March 29, Guyana has signed a pact with the United Kingdom (UK) to secure its trading relations with the British country after it leaves the European Union (EU).Guyana’s Ambassador to Belgium, David Hales, and Jamaica’s Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Kamina Johnson-Smith were among those at the signing last FridayGuyana’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium, David Hales, signed the CARIFORUM-United Kingdom Economic Partnership Agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on behalf of the Guyana Government on Friday last. UK’s Minister of State for Trade Policy of the Department of International Trade, George Hollingberry, signed on behalf of his Government.The signing, which took place on the margins of the 25th meeting of the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) Council of Ministers in St Lucia, is of economic importance to Guyana’s Private Sector considering that the United Kingdom is Guyana’s largest trading partner in Europe and its sixth overall.The inking of this agreement is a direct response to the impending exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union as the current trade arrangement governing Guyana’s exports to the British market will lapse once that State leaves the regional body. Additionally, this action is the culmination of an approach agreed between CARIFORUM and the United Kingdom in March 2017 to ensure continuity in the existing preferential trading relations, including duty-free quota conditions, among others.Eight other CARIFORUM Member States – Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Vincent and the Grenadines – have 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 partnership between the United Kingdom and Guyana accounts for about two per cent of imports and almost nine per cent of all exports. 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.On June 23, 51.9 per cent of the UK voted on a referendum to leave the economic bloc and since then, both British and EU officials have given assurances to local stakeholders that Brexit will not affect relations here and in the Caribbean.In fact, only earlier this year, British High Commissioner Gregory Quinn was quoted saying that his country is looking to increase its footprint in this region with a “confident and clear British presence”, especially now as it leaves the EU.With Guyana’s ties to European embedded through its history with the UK, the EU has previously committed to continuing relations with the Government.last_img

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