Commonwealth Examines Guyana’s Trade Agreements

Commonwealth Examines Guyana’s Trade Agreements

The Hub and Spokes Programme, a joint project between the European Union, Commonwealth Secretariat, ACP Group Secretariat and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, released a paper examining why Guyana’s trade treaties have not produced the desired results.

The report discussed prominent trade and investment agreements between Guyana and international partners, as well as the country’s legal instruments on investment and international trade.

It also provided insight into the performance of these agreements and why Guyana’s international trade has not always improved in line with countries with which it signed the deals.

In addition, it probed why there was no evidence that increased investments had flowed into Guyana due to bilateral investment treaties, despite signing diverse investment and trade agreements and implementing conducive legislation.

Edmund Paul Kalekyezi, the National Trade Adviser to Guyana, presented the `Legal Aspects of Guyana’s Trade Agreements (A Trade and Investment Relationship and Perspective)’ paper at a workshop in November 2017.

The five-day workshop on Economic Diplomacy and Bilateral Trade was organised by Guyana’s Foreign Service Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Canadian Executive service Organisation.

Participants included representatives from the private sector and government agencies involved in international and domestic trade and investment promotion, and the workshop focused on best practices for successful trade negotiations.

The report was analysed as part of an overview of Guyana’s existing trade and investment agreements and raised awareness of the importance of its preferential agreements within trade policy.

Kalekyezi highlighted a multitude of factors affecting investment flows and international trade in Guyana, including a lack of infrastructure to facilitate trade, socio-political issues, high production costs, regulatory issues, and the mindset of local investors.

The current inadequacy of communication networks, financial services market, laboratory and testing services, for example, were all factors, he said, as was the lack of political agreement on economic matters in relation to skills and labor supply.

Furthermore, high production costs in areas such as the energy sector made final products less competitively priced in international markets.

Finally, various technical barriers to trade measures were restricting access to export markets, whilst local investors remained reluctant to venture into new markets.

Discussion during the workshop focused on how to use trade agreements to expand Guyana’s export products and markets, as well as ensuring provisions were included in bilateral investment agreements to boost investment confidence.

The Hub and Spokes Programme sends trade experts to national ministries and regional trade organisations to enhance capacity for trade in the regions of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

Read More: The Commonwealth Secretariat released a statement on February 14, 2018 regarding the long-standing border controversy between Guyana and Venezuela