US dairy deal
BARBADOS IS OPENING the door and the United States (US) is ready to bolt through it with increased dairy exports.
The US exported dairy products worth an estimated US$10.6 million to Barbados last year.
However, the likelihood is that this number will increase now that Barbados veterinary authorities have “agreed” to three US Department of Agriculture protocols to govern the entry of dairy products, ornamental feathers and products made of animal skins from the US and “US market present third countries”.
BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY’s research into the matter revealed that from around mid-2013 Barbados has either been detaining or rejecting animal-based products originating in the US, based on questions about the authenticity of certification.
“Confusion over certification authority for multiple products sourced from the [US] had resulted in growing frequency of border detentions in Barbados, specifically on consolidated shipments containing US origin and third-country origin products. The protocols, nearly two years under negotiation, remove more opaqueness from the trade regime between the US and Barbados,” a new US government report on the matter stated.
The development was confirmed by an official in Barbados, who said that under the new regime the US Agricultural Marketing Service would now be the only certifier of dairy products from the US, while the US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) would do likewise for dairy products from third countries.
APHIS is also responsible for certifying the export of feathers from the US and products made from animal skins. Establishment of the feathers and animal skin protocols is also expected to make it easier – procedure wise – for these items to be imported for use during the Crop Over Festival.
And having got what they called “clearer entry requirements”, American officials are now hoping to increase dairy exports to Barbados.
“In 2014, the [US] exported US$5.3 million in dairy exports to Barbados, making Barbados the fifth largest market for US dairy products in the [Caribbean] region. US dairy exports to the . . . region as a whole grew by a robust ten per cent in 2014, reaching a record high US$98.6 million,” a notice announcing the Barbados-US protocols outlined.
“Dairy also represents the third largest US export category to the region after forest products and poultry. The vast majority of US food supplied to the Caribbean islands, inclusive of dairy products, is supplied by small to medium sized businesses that consolidate shipments of various case lots mixed products when filling orders.
“Clarification of certifying authorities and product eligibilities should ensure these entities can expand services to US market interests in this important Caribbean market,” it added.
Barbados and the US are still negotiating “export protocols” for live animals and bovine semen.