Visiting UK delegation eyes massive investments in infrastructure, renewable energy in Guyana
– as trade between countries soared to £1.6B in 2022
Trade relations between the United Kingdom and Guyana are scaling new heights as 50 per cent of companies from visiting delegations have already made some investment locally.
This week, The Caribbean Council facilitated a third delegation of companies from the United Kingdom, who are also seeking to make their mark in the investment arena here.
Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh engaged the delegation on Tuesday at the Marriott Hotel, where he outlined that this level of interest from international companies is not surprising and it is a ‘phenomenal’ success rate.
Thus far, previous companies have made investments in real estate, construction, tourism, and cybersecurity among other important sectors.
Dr Singh detailed, “Previous missions like this have recorded an extremely strong success rate. Fifty per cent of the companies that came in the previous trade missions have already concluded at least one transaction and are doing business in Guyana.”
“It reflects the recognition across the world and across companies worldwide of the opportunities that exist in Guyana’s rapidly growing economy. We in Guyana remain open for business. We welcome companies around the world investing and doing business with Guyanese companies.”
Companies involved in the visiting trade mission include Price Forbes, Invest Northern Ireland, Sangfroid Group, Enviro Technology Services, Colibri, Contracta, Dints International and Innovo.
The delegation will not only meet with Government agencies but also facilitate direct business talks with the private sector.
Director of The Caribbean Council, Chris Bennett underscored that the team is interested in infrastructure, renewable energy, agriculture and oil and gas opportunities.
“I think there is a huge infrastructure opportunity where UK companies can really bring their international expertise, ranging from port infrastructure, roads, airport expansion and upgrades. One of the exciting things happening in the UK over the past few years has been the development of our export credit agency UKF… which has very generous cover for Guyana.
Overall, many trade barriers have been reduced to make it easier for both sides to do business in a conducive and effective environment.
Last year, the visa requirement for the UK was waived for Guyanese citizens. Direct flights also now mean direct airfreight and cheaper trade.
The UK had also signed an economic partnership agreement (EPA) with the CARIFORUM trade bloc, which is in effect. It provides for duty-free, quota-free access to goods exported from the CARIFORUM State in exchange they commit to gradual tariff liberalisation of goods.
“Guyanese goods pay little to no duty at all being exported to the UK. Again, there is very little barrier there and a lot of opportunity…There are lots of positive things that happened over the last 18 months which really opened the UK market for Guyanese exporters and with the visa-free access to market, and the Guyanese market to UK suppliers,” Bennett added.
Additionally, during Tuesday’s event, it was revealed that trade between Guyana and the United Kingdom was recorded at £1.6 billion. British High Commissioner Jane Miller reiterated that this makes Guyana the leading trade partner in the Caribbean.
“It’s because we deliver a very strong brand. It’s because we are known for our quality and people know we are trustworthy partners to be working with,” the diplomat explained.
Meanwhile, the President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Kester Hutson, elucidated that their organisation remains open to partnering with foreign companies and new investors.
“Certainly, we welcome this delegation into Guyana now. We will have B2B engagements with our almost 900 member companies. They will have an in-depth knowledge of what the sectors are that we specialise in and how they can best contribute to the development of Guyana’s economy,” he focused.
Just last week, some 23 companies visited Guyana under a European Union trade mission, spanning 10 member states: Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Spain, France, Ireland, Finland and Austria. Among the entities are renowned brands Nokia and Siemens Energy.
The group of companies had a total revenue of €400 billion in 2022 and employed a total of 500,000 persons worldwide. They are already in talks with local businesses on the investment prospects in key industries. (Rupa Seenaraine)