By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Private Sector Commission (PSC) in Guyana is demanding that smuggling at the Guyana – Suriname border be reduced to a minimal level as it prepares to welcome a Surinamese delegation for a two day trade conference here.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday morning (January 14), Chairman for Trade and Investment of the PSC, Ramesh Dookhoo said serious discussions surrounding the issue will be held and tough questions will be asked of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) which is expected to make presentations during the working sessions of the engagement.
Dookhoo along with other members of the PSC believes that Guyana is on the losing end of smuggling activities that are taking place.
“Don’t let’s be shy about stating the facts… we are unhappy and our manufacturers especially are unhappy about cross border smuggling. I think one side benefits from the smuggling that takes place more than the other side. We are not interested in buying smuggled goods or selling smuggled goods,” he said.
He subsequently explained that Suriname has more access to concessionary importing from Europe where superior goods are manufactured and is smuggled into Guyana against the backdrop that European goods attract a higher duty unlike Caribbean Community (CARICOM) goods.
He said too that the GRA has addressed the issue on many occasions but there remain issues of control and resource limitations among others.
The PSC in Guyana and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Suriname will hosts its first ever trade conference from January 15 – 17, 2015.
The conference is intended to promote trade between Guyana and Suriname, in particular to increase Guyana exports of goods and services to Suriname and to increase tourism between the two countries.
Dookhoo said collaboration among law enforcement agencies from both countries is definitely needed in order to tackle illegal trade.
The conference will see the participation of close to 40 business executives and government officials from Suriname. Dookhoo said this is the first of a series of other engagements and initiative between Guyana and Suriname to be undertaken to promote trade. He said all steps will be taken to ensure it does not become another talk shop but bears the fruits of a meaningful outcome; adding that the advantages were very obvious with access to Suriname being available by road, water and air.
Among the organizations to coming together to host the Surinamese delegation are: the PSC, the Ministry of Tourism and Foreign Trade, the Surinamese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association, the Georgetown, Upper Corentyne and Berbice Chambers of Commerce, the Guyana Tourism Authority and the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana.
The welcome ceremony will commence at 19:00 hours at the Princess Hotel and the conference will continue the following day from 08:00 hours at the Guyana International Conference Center.
Participants will get the opportunity to liaise with the Surinamese businesspersons on a one – on – one basis.