By Svetlana Marshall
The Managing Director of the London-based, Caribbean Council, Chris Bennet believes “immense” progress has been made in reducing barriers to trade between Guyana and the United Kingdom (UK).
The Caribbean Council has been working to build trade and investment between international companies and their Caribbean partners.
“I think that there has been an immense amount of progress already made in reducing trade barriers between the UK and Guyana, not least in the UK-CARIFORUM trade agreement that has been signed, which puts in place the liberalization of tariff schedules, which means that there are reducing duties for Guyanese companies, who want to buy goods from the UK. So, it has never been better value to buy British, and so, that’s an existing opportunity in terms of the two-way trade links,” Bennet said.
Bennett forms part of a UK Trade Mission that is currently in Guyana.
He said commodities from Guyana attract little to no duty when being exported to the UK.
Noting that there are very little barriers to trade, and plenty of opportunities, Bennett said visa free travel and direct flights to the UK from Guyana have significantly improved the ease of doing business between the two sides.
“There are now direct flights, which means there is direct air freight, which means that the cost has come down, and it is easier to trade directly and there is now a regular, weekly service, coming directly from the UK, making it very easy to do business,” Bennett said.
British High Commissioner to Guyana, Jane Miller said total trade in goods and services (imports and exports) between the UK and Guyana was £1.6 billion in 2023, making Guyana, UK’s leading trade partner in the Caribbean.
“We have some great businesses investing here in many different sectors, whether we are looking at construction, whether we are looking at food and drink, whether we are looking at services, the list could go on and on, and its’ because we deliver a very strong brand, it’s because we are known for our quality, it’s because people know we are trust worthy partners to be working with,” the British High Commissioner said.
The UK trade delegation includes 11 representatives from seven companies in the mining, insurance, construction, defence, security and environment sectors.
This morning, the group met with Minister of Finance, Dr Ashni Singh; the President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Kester Hutson; and Head of the British Chamber of Commerce, Faizal Khan.
Minister Singh told the Corporate leaders that it is no secret that Guyana is open for business.
“We in Guyana remain open for business, we welcome companies from around the world investing in Guyana and doing business in Guyana and with Guyanese companies,” the Finance Minister said.
Minister Singh said Guyana is ripe with investment and business opportunities He said previous trade missions from the UK have recorded tremendous success with 50% of the companies already doing business in Guyana.
The trade mission is being conducted in partnership with the Caribbean Council, GCCI, and the British Chamber of Commerce.