By Fareeza Haniff in Beijing
With the trade volume between Guyana and China reaching its highest in 2020, the two countries are seeking to increase their level of cooperation with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the private sector in Guyana and several Chinese companies.
Guyana’s Ambassador to China, Anyin Choo, during an interview with the News Room in Beijing, noted the negotiations started earlier this year to finalise the agreement.
“[This agreement is expected to] facilitate increased engagements and dialogue between the private sector of Guyana and Chinese companies,” Ambassador Choo said.
She noted that the discussions were led by the Chinese Embassy in Guyana, the Private Sector Commission (PSC), the Guyana Office for Investment and the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce. Negotiations are still ongoing and it is not yet clear when the agreement will be signed.
“I think that both sides have done a lot of work in terms of ensuring that the terms and conditions [are favourable and] that enabling environment is in place to facilitate the sort of dialogues that we would want between our two private sectors.”
Cooperation between Guyana and China encompasses many sectors, including infrastructure, agriculture, education, health, information communications technology, private investments, sport, trade, transportation, and culture.
But Ambassador Choo believes that there exists a vast potential to increase trade, especially in the non-traditional sectors. She noted that there is a demand for Guyanese products in China and so, she urged the private sector to position itself accordingly.
“And I will say this to our Guyanese private sector also: we have to understand that China’s market is a little bit different from your traditional North American and European markets.
“The Chinese market is very, very large. And given that we have limited capacity in our ability to produce the large amounts that the Chinese market would demand, I think that it would be in our best interest to work on the positioning of our Guyanese products.”
Ambassador Choo alluded to Guyana’s wholesome food which she noted would be greatly appreciated in China.
“We all know that Guyanese products – especially the Agricultural products – they’re very wholesome because they grow in that pollution-free environment, rich soil and minimum use of fertilisers and chemicals…
“So, I think there is a lot of potential for that in the Chinese market – the wholesome foods that we produced – and I am talking specifically about what we produce…
“In China, there is a great demand for organically grown food…and there is a large middle-income bracket in China and they have the spending power for the products that we can offer the niche market.”
As such, she cautioned the private sector not to focus mainly on supplying large quantities to only the bigger markets.
“And so, I think there is a lot of potential for Guyanese products in China but we have to position our products in such a way that we’re not interested in supplying the large quantities but we’re interested in that niche market that would match our production capabilities and the quality of our products.”
The Guyanese diplomat reiterated that she would be working closely with Guyana’s private sector to facilitate the increased trade in the non-traditional sectors.
Editor’s Note: This story initially stated that the MoU would have been inked in the week beginning August 22 but the News Room has since been informed that negotiations are still taking place. The story has since been amended accordingly.