Members of the Guyana-China Business Council (GCBC) are looking forward to working with the new APNU+AFC-led Administration and are eager to continue playing an integral role in creating jobs and contributing to the Guyanese economy, the organisation said in a statement.
Under the current Chairmanship of Clinton Williams, a Founder member of the Council and development enthusiast, GCBC held a special meeting on Thursday, May 28 as a precursor to the impending engagement with His Excellency, President David Granger.
More than 16 companies operating in Guyana were present at the meeting as well as representatives from the Chinese Embassy and the Chinese Association. Of interest to the companies represented at the meeting was the need to engage the new administration on its policies towards investment and trade with China. Companies also expressed several concerns including those related to security, immigration, taxation, dumping, internet fraud and substandard imported products.
While acknowledging some of the challenges that exist, the general consensus was one of optimism that going forward relationships can be strengthened to the mutual benefit of investors and the people of Guyana.
Williams indicated that steps would be taken to establish a security mechanism with the hierarchy of the Guyana Police Force in order to address the security concerns of the Chinese entrepreneurs and businesses. The introduction and implementation of a continuous education campaign to inform Chinese businesses and contractors of their responsibilities with respect to Guyana’s laws and regulations as regards to environmental management issues and regulations, taxation laws and statutory requirements, employment practices and labour laws of Guyana will also be pursued.
The GCBC was established in 2006 and represents the interest of both Chinese and Guyanese entrepreneurs and investors. The Council led a large delegation to the 3rd China–Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum in Trinidad and Tobago back in 2011 where it was established that a strong bilateral relationship with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) was of utmost importance to China and Caribbean.
According to a recent Publication by Political Analyst Sir Ron Saunders, China enjoys a huge trade surplus in its relationship with the Caribbean, in that in 2012, China’s exports to the Caribbean amounted to US$4.2B, more than double its imports valued at US$1.88B that year. On the other hand, the US$3.0B loan pledged by President Xi in 2013 to ten Caribbean Countries was less than China’s trade surplus for the year 2012 alone. This indicates that China recycled its trade surplus within the region for one year to finance its loans to Regional Countries in return for interest payment and possible political influence. It is partly for this reason that both the local body GCBC and its Regional counterpart China-Caribbean Business Council (CCBC) need to develop strategies and programmes to address this imbalance by advocating for non-reciprocal Trade, Market Access and Promotion of Added Value Manufacturing and Services Industries.
Williams has been a strong advocate for business development in Guyana for many years, playing an integral role in entities such as the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) and the Shipping Association of Guyana, among others.