Oil and gas among untapped markets in Dominican Republic
─ private sector urged to explore opportunity
Members of the local private sector have been urged to explore the huge, untapped market of the Dominican Republic (DR), which was opened to Guyana more than 16 years ago.
Mr. Robert Persaud, Foreign Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, made this call today during the Ministry’s third virtual trade talk titled “CARICOM-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement.”
The discourse sought to delve into the Agreement to ensure the private sector understands the market access provisions, and the opportunities for enhanced trade and investment between Guyana and the DR.
Information from the Ministry reveals that although the Free Trade Agreement between CARICOM and the Dominican Republic was signed in 1998, it has not been exploited.
The Ministry said the DR is a major importer of refined and crude petroleum and petroleum gas and, with Guyana’s budding oil and gas sector, opportunities in this area can be explored.
The Foreign Secretary said Guyana’s trade dependence with the DR stands at less than one per cent, with the majority of export consisting only of coconuts. Trade dependence with agreement holders including Brazil, and third-party agreements with CARICOM-DR, Costa Rica, Cuba, Colombia, and Venezuela averages about seven per cent.
However, he said, there is much more room for Guyana to explore.
“It is clear that Guyana has not been taking advantage of the opportunities that exists under the Agreements it is a signatory to, particularly on the export side. We see that great imbalance in many of these agreements where we have been lacking. I am quite sure that we can all recognise that there is much more that we can do in this regard,” Mr. Persaud said.
The Foreign Secretary noted that the information session seeks to examine the agreements, highlight the goods and services that can be traded preferentially between Guyana and its trading partners. It also seeks to examine the mechanism for facilitating trade under the agreements, and to explore possible opportunities for cross-border collaboration, technical capacity building and market access challenges.
The agreement between Guyana and the Dominican Republic, grants access to over eight million consumers in the DR. Approximately 85 per cent of all commodities traded between the parties are duty free. For Guyana, some commodities of interest eligible for duty-free entry into the DR include pasta, sweetened and unsweetened biscuits, jams and fruit jellies, fruit juices, rum, paper/paperboard boxes and crates, fish (salted/dried/smoked/in brine), honey, condiments/seasonings, aluminium, petroleum oils and gases, pharmaceuticals, and wood, and others.
There is high demand in the DR for Guyana’s rum and coffee. The Ministry said those commodities have productive capacity in Guyana and present another opportunity for businesses here.