[www.inewsguyana.com] – President Donald Ramotar has welcomed the high-level Suriname Trade Mission to Guyana, describing it as an important step, not only for business, but for the integration of the two nations.
Addressing members of the local and Surinamese private sectors, at a welcoming reception at the Princess Hotel on Thursday evening (January 15), the President said that some have often expressed disappointment with the pace of integration, but stated that it not just the job of governments, rather it will be achieved when real links are forged in the economy.
The development of the two Caricom neighbours which share a border, he added is important to “developing the quality of life for our people”.
The President expressed the hope that more initiatives such as the trade mission could occur across the region. The fact that both countries have large expanses of land and natural resources and have achieved a measure of food security could be used to their advantage, he explained.
It was noted that Caricom’s annual estimated food import bill of US$4 billion is one area that could see mutual cooperation. He said that during his recent trip to Cuba for the Caricom -Cuba Summit, this estimate was mentioned to President Raul Castro.
“I mentioned that if you add Cuba it would be US$5 billion and President Raul Castro said ‘No, put two’ making it US$6 billion that we import in food”.
A suggestion was also made by President Ramotar for some of the trade regimes to be unified, for example to cut down on smuggling and maximise the benefits for the people of both countries. This, he said, could be done for resources such as gold which is non- renewable.
In closing, he indicated that the initiative was indeed welcomed by government and expressed the hope that it would grow from strength to strength. [Extracted and modified from GINA]