Guyana and Barbados to establish Trade Missions

Guyana and Barbados to establish Trade Missions

Guyana and Barbados on Friday inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aimed at establishing Trade Missions between the two countries. The MOU was signed by Keith Burrowes, Chief Executive Officer, Guyana Office for Investment and Madaline Headley-Woodroffe, Business Development Officer, Barbados Industrial Development Corporation (BIDC) at the Guy Expo Investment Forum held today at the Guyana International Conference Centre (GICC).

Burrowes noted that while the MOU should have been signed years ago, it means Guyana is going into an agreement with Barbados and an examination of having MOUs with other countries as well.  He pointed to the issue of due diligence, which is one area the entity would be examining carefully with overseas investors. Explaining that credit ratings would be examined, whilst a turnover time of one week will be applied, the GoInvest, CEO explained the importance of working with other agencies in this regard.

Agreements will be made with the Guyana Revenue Authority and other agencies, Burrowes noted, stressing the fact that there are new economic requirements coming on board, for which Guyana is not ready. (This was an indirect allusion to the Anti Money Laundering Bill, the absence of which has begun to affect the business community.)

Headley-Woodroffe, observed that the organisation she worked for BIDC, is much similar to GoInvest. She explained that while the main function of the MOU is to facilitate trade between the two countries “for a long time now we have been trading with Guyana and many Caribbean islands.”

The Barbadian business official stated that while she is responsible for the Caribbean and CARICOM trade agreements, BIDC provides incubation services for some investors for three years, until they graduate into full flight manufacturers. “We provide subsidised factory space and also help them with funding through a special technical assistance programme. We try to encourage entrepreneurship from a young age by assisting the youths in our schools, training them in the ways of how to be entrepreneurs and giving them every opportunity to do so through competitions etc.” she added.

Headley-Woodroffe pointed out that while the Barbadian team is attending GuyExpo mainly to share ideas and learn from Guyana in terms of agriculture, they welcomed help and assistance in areas needed by Barbados.

“We have eight companies being represented and they cross the borders of different areas; cabling, some in food, jewellery, printing, solar power agencies, just to give you a sample of some of the areas we are covering,” Headley-Woodroffe stated.

Observing that solar energy was developed in Barbados first she expressed hurt that all of the solar panels are now being provided by China, Australia, Germany and other places.

 “I believe that as a region we should be able to do more to promote the things which we have developed here and in so doing, we are also looking at having geographical indicators (GI) for some of our products in Barbados especially in the rum industry because rum was first made in Barbados,” the Bajan noted.

 She explained that the team is trying to promote GIs in several areas such as black belly sheep farming and husbandry.

The MOU signed today is intended to “lead the way for trade between our countries. It will assist with trade missions etc. from one country to another, it will help with broaden horizons into other areas like Brazil that we can step from Barbados through the CARICOM agreements to Guyana and hopefully into Brazil. We hope you can find avenues as well, back through Barbados to the northern areas of the region,” she stated.

 Headley-Woodroffe noted however, that trading in the Region does have challenges. She pointed to the several challenges in exporting products from each country noting that between Guyana and Barbados, it’s mainly in shipping.

“It is difficult to ship items from Barbados directly to Guyana because of the trade route. I believe that the authorities need to address this from both in Barbados and in Guyana and the region generally, because if we are in a small area, I don’t believe that we should have to go Miami or so far field and spend two weeks to get an item here,” the Barbadian trade officer explained.

She urged that both countries negotiate and discuss with relevant agencies in an effort to improve the situation and trade within the region.  (GINA)

 Filed:  4th October, 2014 

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