PRESIDENT Dr. Irfaan Ali has told the President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro that Guyana wants to have a very strong strategic partnership with its Portuguese-speaking neighbours.
The two leaders, who communicated via teleconferencing, also discussed the agenda for the proposed visit of President Bolsonaro to Georgetown later this month.
“We have a number of important issues and opportunities for both Guyana and Brazil that I wanted to highlight, even before our meeting, so our technical teams can start some work,” President Ali said as he listed several areas that are critical for both countries to move their relationship forward, including energy and food security, telecommunication, infrastructure integration and trade.
He also pointed out that due to their geographical locations, the two nations must make strong statements in linking their territories.
The Guyanese Head of State said that in addition to oil and gas, expanding opportunities in the other non-oil natural resources sectors such as bauxite will create an opportunity for a direct link to northern Brazil and further afield that can “create an excellent platform for us to develop an integrated project”.
As it relates to trade, currently, there is an existing Partial Scope Agreement that aims to foster bilateral trade flows by the exchange of tariff preferences between the two countries, cooperation on trade matters, and increased participation of the private sector.
This, President Ali said, is currently under negotiation to be expanded, since Guyana wants to increase its quota, especially as it relates to rice being exported to Brazil.
President Bolsonaro, via an interpreter, said that the agenda for discussion looks “very promising”, and that he will ensure that technical staff from the relevant ministries in Brazil accompany him for the State visit.
Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh; Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd; Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ambassador Elisabeth Harper were also at the teleconference at the Office of the President on Monday. (Office of the President)