–in first half of 2022, Ambassador Lynch says
–advises Guyanese to focus on building export competitiveness
By Cassandra Khan
TRADE between Guyana and the United States of America (US) amounted to US$1.4 billion in the first half of 2022, according to US Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch.
“We are certainly committed to improving prosperity here in Guyana and a big part of that is the bilateral trade and partnerships. The United States is proud to be Guyana’s largest bilateral trading partner with bilateral trade eclipsing $1.4 billion US in the first half of this year alone,” Ambassador Lynch said during her address at a forum on effective strategies for exporting to the US, on Monday.
According to the US Department of State, US policy toward Guyana seeks to develop robust and sustainable democratic institutions, laws, and political practices; support economic growth and development; promote an active, organised, and empowered civil society, and promote stability and security.
In the area of bilateral trade, according to the Bank of Guyana, Guyana exported $1.7 billion to the US in 2021, contributing 39 per cent to Guyana’s exports by country. Guyana’s imports from the United States amounted to $565 million in 2021, or 12 per cent of Guyana’s imports.
Guyana’s major exports to the United States in 2021 continued to be non-monetary gold, fish and shellfish, bauxite, lumber and wood, apparel, and household goods, while the major imports were iron and steel, machinery, foodstuff, animal feed, petroleum products, chemicals, computers and computer accessories, passenger vehicles, telecommunication equipment, and pharmaceuticals.
Ambassador Lunch said trade between the two nations will continue to grow, especially since Guyana’s economy is on an upward trajectory.
At the forum organised by the Guyanese American Chamber of Commerce (GACC), she advised locals to position themselves in order to become successful exporters.
“Whether you are American, Guyanese, or Guyanese-American, my advice remains the same, do your research, have a plan, and develop strong local partners and strong relationships in your target market,
“For example, if you are seeking to export agricultural products, transportation networks, cold storage and streamlined approval processes will be very key,” she said.
Ambassador Lynch related that getting products approved for export, especially to the US, could be a lengthy and difficult process, which is why research, a plan and partnerships are important.
“Export competitiveness is important for Guyana’s economy because it can help to diversify this economy and grow the non-oil sector which is very important to avoid what is known as the oil curse,” US Ambassador said.
She added: “Guyana could make a lasting impression on the world right now with so many opportunities available to all of you. I would say now is the time to invest in yourself, in your company, in your innovative skills and develop your people and your product. Keep in mind that the US market is very large and very protective of intellectual property rights… this makes it a highly valuable market to target but you need to take the time to understand how to enter the US market.”
Ambassador Lynch related that the process could be a bit simpler if local find partners in the US to help navigate the environment, conduct market research and ensure that the company meets the relevant legal requirements.
As it is now, information is available online and persons could also access help by visiting the US embassy.
“Don’t forget to research the requirements for various approvals and certifications on the Guyanese side as well. Develop your plan, including who your first buyer will be and what your distribution network will look like,” Ambassador Lynch said.
The US Ambassador said that the US embassy has a “small but strong economic and commercial team” which offers market insights or advice.
“We continue to collaborate with the Guyanese and American Private sectors offering extensive entrepreneurship training as well as mentorship and connecting folks to potential partners,” she said.
Director of Business at the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, John Edghill, speaking on behalf of the Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond, related that the time to invest is now, especially since Guyana’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown by 36 per cent in the first half of 2022 and is projected to grow 56 per cent overall for this year.