In an effort to foster and improve trade between Guyana and international countries, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) on Monday announced the launching of three Trade Facilitation Councils between Guyana and India, Cuba and Canada, respectively.
GCCI President, Deodat Indar told media operatives in a press conference on Monday that the three Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) were signed between the Private Sector and the High Commissioners of the respective countries.
He explained, however, that initially, while there were MOUs, there were no mechanisms in place to implement measures which aim at increasing trade- which is an important part of economic expansion.
As such, three councils –namely Guyana-India, Guyana-Cuba, and Guyana-Canada- are expected to be established soon.
The Councils will consist of representatives from GCCI, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Business and Go-Invest, the Guyana BAR Association, Representatives from the respective country’s High Commission to Guyana, and officials from the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA).
“They will operate in their own rights, have their own meetings, have their own Terms of Reference that they agree on and they will deal with that, they will approve that, change that as they fit and they will run it independently but there will also be some form of reporting mechanisms…so that we know that work is being done,” Indar explained.
Moreover, he posited that the Chairperson of each Trade Facilitation Council is expected to report to the Statutory meeting held at the Chambers once a month, on activities that they are involved in, where they are going, what help they need, among other issues, so as to facilitate trade bilaterally.
Also a part of the conference was Business Minister, Dominic Gaskin who expressed eagerness to support the endeavour while noting that facilitating trade is not just the work of the Government, or Private Sector, but both, as a collective body.
He further highlighted that his Ministry is “willing to participate” in any way that will ensure the success of the initiative between Guyana and the three countries.
The Cuban Ambassador to Guyana, Narciso Reinaldo Armador Soeorro indicated that this launch and signing of the MOUs is an important step to improving bi-lateral relations.
In addition, the Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Mahalingam Venkatachalam, told media operatives that the launch of the Council is one of the most anticipated steps towards fulfilling the mandate of the MOU.
The Canadian Ambassador to Guyana, Lilian Chatterjee said “the Councils are only going to help things in a more organised way to ensure that both parties can realise the full potential of our countries and counterpart private sectors.”
Following observations made by the Private Sector in Guyana last year, it was noted that there were several “downturns and upswings in different sectors.”
As such, the GCCI sought to build on export market.
“So we took the initiative and we first went to Cuba, and the Cubans are very aggressive…they actually drafted the MOU between the Chamber of Commerce and the Cuban Chamber of Commerce…We signed an MOU in good faith to strengthen ties bi-laterally in Guyana,” Indar said.
A short while later, he noted that the Chamber met with the Ministry of Commerce in India, who decided that they too wanted to come on board. As such, another MOU was signed.
Not more than a month after, following a visit to Canada to review the oil and gas operations, Indar explained that the GCCI met with counterparts in the country who expressed their willingness to sign the MOU with Guyana too. (Ramona Luthi)