October 28, 2020

COTED urges Trinidad to resolve legal issues preventing duck imports from Suriname

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suriname_ducksBy Ivan Cairo From Caribbean News Now

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands — A trade dispute preventing Surinamese duck meat from entering the market in Trinidad and Tobago could be resolved as soon as the Trinidad government amends its Animal Act, a Trinidad official told the CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development () on Friday.

COTED has urged the Trinidad authorities to take the necessary steps to resolve the issue in a timely fashion.

At the conclusion of its meeting at the end of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture 2016 in the Cayman Islands, COTED-chair and agriculture minister of Dominica, Johnson Drigo, noted, however, that since legislative procedures could take some time Trinidad could not offer a timeline when the matter would be resolved definitely.

Drigo said that the matter was discussed by the ministers and that “there was consensus on the undertakings given by both parties to work the situation out”.

Since December 2015, Port-of-Spain has preventing the importation of meat from the duck farm to Trinidad. Initially, Trinidad raised concerns that the processes at the duck facilities were not in conformity with international food safety measures.

Once these issues were addressed to the satisfaction of the Trinidad veterinary authorities, Suriname was informed that legislation needed to be amended to allow Suriname to be included on the schedule of countries that are allowed to export duck meat to Trinidad before De Doksenclub could receive an import licence.

When subsequent bilateral discussions failed to resolve the dispute, Suriname’s agriculture minister dropped the matter on the COTED table in April of this year. Shortly thereafter, on behalf of the Trinidadian authorities, the Caribbean Health and Food Safety Authority (CAHFSA) conducted a re-inspection of the facilities of De Doksenclub.

“In general, from observations and explanations provided by the management of the facility and the Competent Authority of Suriname it can be reasonably stated that the facility has made every effort to comply with and remedy where necessary the requirements listed as non-conformances by Trinidad and Tobago,” the CAHFSA team that conducted the inspections said in its report.

According to chief veterinary officer of Trinidad, David Kangaloo, the two countries “are close to resolving the issues”.

“There is a draft cabinet note that has been prepared that will be taken to parliament. Once that is accepted and approved Suriname will have to be placed on the schedule to allow the legal imports of duck meat from Suriname,” the official said.

He added that he was not able to give a timeline “because the legislative process takes a while”.IMAGE: Suriname duck farm De Doksenclub

For more on this story go to: http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/headline-COTED-urges-Trinidad-to-resolve-legal-issues-preventing-duck-imports-from-Suriname-32356.html

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