Minister Bharrat anticipates maximum benefits for local businesses involved in China’s trade fair

The gains to be secured for the mutual benefit of Guyana and China’s economy were highlighted on Monday at the opening of the 130th Canton Fair. The Canton Fair is China’s import and export fair, primarily organized by China Foreign Trade Centre (CFTC). The fair has been adjusted from three phases to one phase and is now being held both online and offline for five days (October 15 to 19).

At this morning’s ceremony, Chinese Officials touted the need for China and Guyana to work even closer and “vigorously” for the growth of economy of both countries. Echoing that sentiment was Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat who is the acting Minister of Tourism Industry, and Commerce.

Minister Bharrat noted that China and Guyana have shared a very lengthy, fruitful and cordial relationship, dating back to the 1970s.  He pointed out that China is a main importer of bauxite from Guyana and one of the largest importers of Guyanese timber. Further, the Minister noted that the Chinese state-owned company CNOOC owns a considerable share in the Stabroek Block. He also pointed to the interests of several Chinese companies vying to build Guyana’s new Demerara Harbour Bridge.

Noting that events such as the Canton Fair, further build on the good relationship of the two countries, Minister Bharrat commended the coordinators of the fair for their persistence in making it a reality, even during the global pandemic.

Minister Bharrat stressed that given the threats presented by the pandemic, “We have to find ways to co-exist and to spur economic activity and growth. To achieve this, we must engender a resolute approach to business.”

The Minister added that the wheels of industry continue to turn during the pandemic therefore, he welcomed the opportunity for Guyanese businesses to interact directly with Chinese suppliers without having to set foot on an aircraft.

He noted that Guyana’s economic outlook remains excellent and referenced the recently published mid-year report which confirmed economic growth in the first half of this year as 14%.  Minister Bharrat said that given the transformative agenda of the Dr. Irfaan Ali government, this growth trajectory will continue. He projected that as the economy continues to blossom, demand for products will increase commensurately.

The Minister noted government’s commitment to 50,000 house lots for Guyanese over the next five years. This, he posited, will result in greater demand for steel, cement, zinc sheets and other hardware supplies.  He said too that as income increases, there will be greater demand for vehicles and clothing. Therefore, “It is important that we establish a framework for these types of conversations and the birthing of business relationships.”

Minister Bharrat said that during this fair, local businesses will be given opportunities to better understand how to trade with Chinese suppliers as well as learn more about potential business partners. He encouraged all businesses to maximise the opportunity to secure the best possible arrangements. “You have the assurance that this government will continue to work towards facilitating that enabling environment for private sector growth.”

He however cautioned that government continues to place significant emphasis on consumer rights and protection, noting that there are established national standards for goods being imported in Guyana.

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