British Chamber of Commerce launched to foster stronger economic ties with Guyana
… mutual interest to advance bilateral relations – UK official
The British Chamber of Commerce (BritCham) has been launched in Guyana, continuing a trend of increased collaboration between the two countries only days after British Airways made its inaugural flight to Guyana and months after visa restrictions were removed for Guyanese visitors to the United Kingdom (UK).
The launch of the British Chamber of Commerce occurred on Tuesday evening during a reception at the British High Commissioner’s residence. According to Prime Minister Brigadier (retired) Mark Phillips, the launch of the British Chambers will help foster stronger economic ties with Guyana.
“The establishment of BritCham represents another important development in fostering stronger and closer economic ties between Britain and Guyana. These economic bonds build on the strong ties of history and shared interest between Britain and Guyana. Guyana remains wedded to the values of democracy, respect for the rule of law, respect for international law, and respect for human rights,” the PM said.
“The launch of BritCham solidifies the economic partnership between Great Britain and Guyana. From our perspective, it is also a recognition of our country’s rapidly growing economy and the growing trade and investment between Great Britain and Guyana. We now have a Chamber of Commerce that will allow advantage to be taken of opportunities for the expansion of trade and tourism,” the Prime Minister further said.
Present at the launching of BritCham was the UK’s Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Americas, David Rutley. He noted that there is mutual interest on both Guyana and the UK’s part to advance their bilateral relationship. This is especially since he, Rutley, met with President Dr Irfaan Ali on Tuesday.
“When I met with the President, it was really clear to me that he has really high ambitions, like we do, on how we can take this relationship forward. Of course, there are growth opportunities, but our relationship is built on shared values, shared history, and people-to-people relationships. So, together we can do a huge amount of other things,” he said.
“I’m very proud to be here for many reasons, but particularly to be able to launch this Chamber of Commerce. It’s a key moment in time. It’s a logical time for this to launch. It’s a great day to do it,” the Parliamentary Under-Secretary further said.
The establishment of BritCham Guyana was first announced by British-born Guyanese businessman and Chief Executive Officer of Guysons K+B Industries Inc, Faizal Khan, on the sidelines of the International Energy Conference 2023 at the Marriott Hotel in Georgetown in February.
It was revealed at the time that the Chamber has close to 30 member companies, with some 50 verbal commitments. It was also revealed that BritCham Guyana would be launched in London, England, and Aberdeen, Scotland.
The Chamber will act as a support for other Chambers of Commerce that exist in the countries in which it operates. British and Guyanese companies were also encouraged to sign up as members with BritCham Guyana to enjoy the full benefits of its support in exploring and accessing each market.
The independent, non-profit Chamber will serve as a leading promoter and enabler of trade and investment between the UK and Guyana, one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. BritCham Guyana will also work closely with the British High Commission in Georgetown and UK Government departments to support their advocacy work in Guyana.
In addition to being chaired by Khan, the new Chamber of Commerce would also be supported by a board of leading business executives with close ties to both countries. It will operate out of an office at Pegasus Suites and Corporate Centre in Georgetown.
It was reported that, in 2021, Guyana accounted for 21.6 per cent of all the UK’s trade with the Caribbean, and, to date, there has been a 45.9 per cent increase in trade between the two nations for 2022.
The move to establish the new business Chamber comes on the heels of the announcement of visa-free travel to the UK, direct British Airways’ flights from the end of March, and the signing of a partnership arrangement by Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd, and His Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Latin America and the Caribbean, Jonathan Knott, CMG, in November 2022. (G3)