Guyana must put mechanisms in place to enhance competitiveness in global markets – Minister Greenidge
DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, October 11, 2017
As the two-day Guyana Business Summit 2017 got underway today at the Georgetown Marriott Hotel, 2nd Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, in his presentation, said a strong business and trade policy must take into consideration the changing trends in the international markets.
Minister Greenidge highlighted the need to have products that adhere strictly to the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) standards in order to maintain not only the traditional markets but to gain access to others, such as the European Union (EU) market.
“Unless we can put in place the mechanisms, often skill-intensive mechanisms, and expensive equipment for testing, ensuring traceability of products and the like, we are not going to be able to take advantage of those markets,” the Minister said.
He noted that great opportunities lie in the area of organic production and research, among others, therefore, Guyana and the region must explore ways to enhance competitiveness in the context of these types of markets and the changes that are taking place.
Importantly, the Foreign Affairs Minister said that productivity plays a significant role in the process, given its impact on prices, pointing to the numerous challenges faced by Guyana, in relation to transport and trans-shipping costs both at the export and import ends.
He said that, “it is in that context that we try to fashion our foreign policy by pursuing agreements with countries [that are] pursuing agreements with regions that try to give opportunities to exporters, traditional as well as new exporters and in which we also try to ensure where we have partners, such as in the EPA [Economic Partnership Agreement] arrangement, part of the agreement does make provisions …for us to take advantage of the markets and to learn some of the requirements, processes [or] procedures.”
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ambassador, Gail Mathurin, also emphasised the need for improvements at the regional level in the areas of standards and certification.
With respect to the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), Ambassador Mathurin urged that focus be placed on developing a more comprehensive strategy of adequately tapping into regional and international markets. She said the advancement of the regional private sector would be unlikely if the focus is solely on internal markets.
Meanwhile, Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes highlighted the crucial role Information and Communication Technology (ICT) plays in the development of human capital and how this ultimately leads to economic growth and social advancement.
“It is important to apply ICT to development and the way we have done that is to start to ensure that we can provide internet access to build human capacity and we have done that by connecting currently 90 schools … The thinking is once we put internet access into schools and educational institutions, then automatically the capacity to building e-learning, e-commerce …can then be realised,” Minister Hughes told those gathered.
The Telecommunications Minister said Government envisions that this approach will lend to the process of moving businesses forward in an effective way.
The Guyana Business Summit was organised by the Private Sector Commission (PSC) in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and is being held under the theme, “Challenges and Opportunities for Business Growth and Expansion.”
By: Stacy Carmichael