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Guyana, Suriname yielding little from trade accords with Brazil- report

Left to Right: Suriname’s Ambassador to Guyana, Ms. Mehroen Kurban-Baboe, Mr. Ramesh Dookhoo of the Private Sector Commission, Ms. Uchenna Gibson of Goinvest, Mr. Dhaneshwar Deonarine of Ministry of Trade, Industry and Commerce, Mr. Lance Hinds of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Guyana’s Ambassador to Suriname, Keith George and Mr. Clinton Williams of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association.

Guyana and Suriname are unable to take full advantage of Brazil’s market because trade agreements with that economic powerhouse do not cover most of the competitive products by those English and Dutch-speaking countries.

The Private Sector Commission (PSC) says that is one of the findings of a report on enhancing exports from Guyana and Suriname to Brazil and a Troika Trade Assessment Plan that has been detailed in that report.

The report and plan are being discussed in Paramaribo by officials of Guyana, Suriname and Caribbean Export, the regional trade promotion and facilitation agency.
 
“The report noted that Guyana and Suriname are not adequately exploiting trade opportunities either between themselves or with Brazil and finds that the Partial Scope Agreements (PSAs) between Brazil and the two Caricom countries do not cover most of the countries’ most competitive exports,” according to a statement issued by the PSC on Friday.

The report also finds that infrastructural limitations such as the energy costs and road networks also inhibit trade.  It was also found that Brazil’s import demand does not sufficiently match the exports of Guyana and Suriname or the comparative advantages of the two members of the Troika.

With Brazil having become an economic powerhouse in Latin America, Caribbean Export commissioned a study which details an immediate set of actions aimed at addressing the less than stellar performance of firms based in Guyana and Suriname in the Brazilian market.

The report finds that the strategic window for enhance exports to Brazil is the Olympic Games and the World Cup in 2014 and 2016 which can be seen as a market entry period.  The objective of the Troika Trade Assessment Plan (T-TAP) as detailed in the report is to generate some US$13.5m in export sales to the other Troika markets by 2018.  The target for Guyana is US$8.4m due its geographical access to Brazil and the wider coverage of its PSA with Brazil.

Some of the recommendations of the (T-TAP) include the establishment of trade desks in the Suriname Business Forum and the Private Sector Commission of Guyana to provide training for export ready firms; trade and market intelligence and trade show support, including the subsidizing of airfare and accommodation for export ready firms.

The Assessment also recommends initiating a desk exchange programme amongst SEBRAE, the Brazilian private sector organisation, Caribbean Export, the Private Sector Commission and the Suriname Business Forum.