Chinese residents and investors in Guyana are later this week expected to discuss a range of burning issues with President David Granger at meeting of the Guyana-China Business Council, according to that businessn organisation’s Chairman, Clinton Williams.
“The GCBC expects that a wide cross section of Chinese entrepreneurs will seize this opportunity to discuss the hot-button trade and social issues they face with the recently sworn-in Executive President and their country’s Ambassador to Guyana,” he said in a statement.
The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 28, 2015 at the Arthur Chung International Conference Center, Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown.
The meetings follows the just concluded general elections when there was some uncertainty about the posture of the Granger-led coalition of A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) to mainly Chinese and Russian businesses after he had repeatedly raised concerns on the campaign trail about the export of large numbers of raw logs and bauxite. He had subsequently assured that he was not opposed to foreign private investment, but was interested in Guyanese reaping greater benefits particularly from the extractive industries. There have been also concerns in some quarters that Chinese importers benefit from tax breaks negotiated by and processed through the Chinese embassy.During the latter months of the then People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) administration, concerns had been raised about the operations of the Chinese company, Bai Shan Lin, particularly in the area of logging.
The President’s interaction with the Chinese entrepreneurs will cooincide with the GCBC’s first meeting for this year.
According to current Chairman of the GCBC, Clinton Williams, invitations have been sent to members, affiliates and non-members of the Council. He intimated that the primary purpose of this special meeting is to facilitate the exchange of ideas that will craft a way forward, as well as to discuss issues specific to the conduct of business in the various sectors of the economy in which Chinese investors and immigrants are involved.
Mr. Zhang Limin, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, has also been invited to the special meeting. He is expected to speak about the bilateral trade relations and social contracts between Guyana and China which he recently said have been maintained on a sound and stable developmental footing since diplomatic ties were established between our two countries several decades ago.
The Guyana-China Business Council has been operating under the umbrella of the Private Sector Commission for more than 10 years. It went into abeyance for a while and was revived in 2012 when Williams was elected to head this Business Support Organization (BSO).
The Council played a not insignificant role in the GuyExpo 2013 Business Forum which had been co-ordinated by the Guyana Manufacturing & Services Association (GMSA) as part of its 50th Anniversary observances.