By Vishani Ragobeer
Before the discovery of oil and gas offshore Guyana, Canada was Guyana’s largest export partner in the extractive sector. Now, as countries are hounding business opportunities in Guyana, Canada wants to be a bigger partner.
The pitch to strengthen the Guyana/ Canada business relations was made by Mark Berman, the High Commissioner of Canada to Guyana on Thursday during a ‘Cocktails and Conversations’ networking event at his official residence in Georgetown.
According to him, Canada has had a strong presence in Guyana since the country’s independence in 1966. And, he said bilateral relations have yielded fruitful partnerships in numerous sectors.
More recently, however, he said that Canadian stakeholders have been paying attention to Guyana’s developmental plans across all other sectors. And, though his country is renowned for its expertise in natural resources, specifically mining, he said Canada also has the much-needed expertise in other sectors.
“We are experts in infrastructure, the technologies, tourism, agriculture, and more and I know that many of you have had interactions with Canadian businesses, so you also know that we’re trustworthy and reliable partners,” Berman emphasised.
Further making the case for increasing Guyana/ Canada partnerships, the High Commissioner said that Canada’s model of business is one that aids the growth of local (in this case, Guyanese) businesses while facilitating Canadian investments.
And so, he reasoned that Guyanese would benefit even more.
To facilitate increased trade and investment relations between the two countries, Berman said that the one-year-old Canada Guyana Chamber of Commerce plays a crucial role. Further, there is the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) which is a network of more than 1000 trade professionals working in Canadian embassies, high commissions, and consulates globally.
“The TCS has 125 years of experience helping Canadian companies succeed in foreign markets and is looking to promote the various sectors of opportunity that are ripe for investment in Guyana.
“Canada can be a source for many of your procurement needs,” the High Commissioner stated.
Even then, Berman was not finished with making the case for Canada.
In fact, he highlighted that Canada is also open for investments. To this end, he said that the High Commission of Guyana in Ottawa and the Consul General in Toronto can offer some forms of trade facilitation services. These positions have been vacant for some time, however.
He pointed out as well that with Canada’s preferential or free access to the American and some European markets, Guyanese goods can be sent to Canada and then sold elsewhere.
In addition to Canada, several other countries have been seeking increased business relationships in Guyana due to the business opportunities emerging within and from Guyana’s oil and gas industry.