Foreign Secretary sees untapped trade, investment opportunities between Guyana/Canada

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Although Canada is a key trade and development partner for Guyana, there is untapped potential in trade and investment opportunities, Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud said Wednesday at the Annual General Meeting of the Canada- Guyana Chamber of Commerce.

“Our business entities have not optimally exploited these relations to enhance trade and investment flows between the two countries. Additionally, Guyana continues to export limited products to Canada, despite the duty-free market access that is available under the 1985 CARIBCAN unilateral preferential trade arrangement,” Persaud said.

He called for more diversification in the exports to Guyana and for there to be a balance in trade.

“The time is now for such shift in focus. For instance, Guyana’s positive trade balance with Canada is largely due to gold exports whose value is consistently much more that the value of all other Guyana export products to Canada combined,” Persaud explained.

Similarly, Persaud said more investments are needed in the agriculture and manufacturing services.

“In this regard, the Canada- Guyana Chamber of Commerce can serve as a useful conduit in linking Canadian investors with Guyanese businesses in the industries highlighted.”

Further, “the Chamber should seek to arrange more trade missions between the two countries with a strategic focus on export diversification, strengthening of productivity capabilities, technological transfer, nearshoring opportunities, economic integration and market research.”

The Guyanese diaspora in Canada is a valuable asset, offering expertise, skills, and resources for economic development, Persaud highlighted. There are an estimated 85,000 Guyanese living in Canada.

“To maximize the full potential of the diaspora, further engagement is needed to move beyond remittances and explore opportunities for trade, investment, entrepreneur development and skills transfer. To this end, the government of Guyana has embarked on a rigorous engagement programme with the diaspora and is pleased with the positive responses, including some tangible investments,” Persaud said.

The Foreign Secretary further highlighted the government’s “One Guyana” initiative which focuses on energy, food, and climate security. These areas also offer many investment opportunities, including renewable energy, green technologies, and smart agriculture.

“The private sector is key to the development of these sectors which require urgent investments. With the necessary financing, expertise and technology that the private sector possesses, there are opportunities for greater public-private partnerships which can be fostered and harnessed to create jobs and a better standard of living for all,” Persaud said.

He said the government is open to receiving proposals from Canadian companies for possible partnerships that will seek to explore and develop initiatives aimed at ensuring that Guyana achieves its energy, food and climate security goals.

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