Oil sales push UK trade with Guyana to over US$1 billion

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 March 2023, 20:19 by Denis Chabrol

Chairman of BritCham Faizal Khan addressing the Chamber’s launch. At right are Deputy British High Commissioner to Guyana Judy Omasan Kpogho , British High Commissioner to Guyana Jane Miller and Britain’s Minister for Caribbean and Latin America, David Rutley.

The United Kingdom’s (UK) trade with Guyana last year reached its highest value of more than 1 billion pounds sterling, largely due to the South American nation’s sale of crude oil to that European country, latest figures show.

Britain’s Department for Business and Trade’s latest fact sheet dated March 28, 2023, exports and imports of goods and services between the two countries were valued at £1.1 billion pounds sterling (approx: US$1.3 billion/GY$285.2 billion).

A breakdown of the UK official figures indicates that up to the third quarter of 2022, oil imports from Guyana totalled £548.8 million or 95.4 percent of all UK goods imported from this country. That was followed by cereals (£6.6 million or 1.2%), beverages (£5.5 million or 0.9%), sugar (£3.4 million or 0.6%) and metal ores & scrap (£2.2 million or 0.4%).

Chairman of the newly-formed Britain-Guyana Chamber of Commerce (BritCham), Faizal Khan boasted that for the first time  trade between the two nations has reached this level. “Last year, trade between the United Kingdom and Guyana surpassed a billion pounds sterling for the first time in history,” he told the launch of that business organisation.

Mr Khan was optimistic that that figure would grow in the coming years. “We are very confident those figures will only continue to grow and BritCham will do everything we can to try and facilitate that,” he told the event which was attended by Britain’s Minister for Caribbean and Latin America, David Rutley.

The official UK government trade data shows that during 2022, UK imports from Guyana amounted to £607 million, in current prices, in the four quarters to the end of the third quarter of 2022- an increase of 1796.9% or £575 million- compared to the four quarters to the end of  the third quarter of 2021.

Guyana’s Prime Minister Mark Phillips and Britain’s Minister for the Caribbean and Latin America David Rutley with members of the Britain-Guyana Chamber of Commerce.

Mr Rutley said the UK and Guyana will “build” on the partnership and momentum in keeping with shared values. “There are growth opportunities but our relationship it’s built on shared values, it’s built in shared history often and on people-to-people relationships,” he said.

UK High Commissioner to Guyana, Jane Miller reflected that idea of BritCham dates back to about two years ago in a conversation with Guyanese Attorney-at-Law Sanjeev Datadin that led to follow up talks with people who have British links. “They convinced me that because of the exciting economic growth in this country, there is space for everybody and a space for a British Chamber specifically to encourage further investment of UK businesses here to Guyana. The British brand is strong and there are huge opportunities,” she said.

The BritCham Chairman said that business organisation would help facilitate Guyanese and UK businesses on both sides of the Atlantic. “We are here to promote and facilitate trade, investment and commerce between the United Kingdom and Guyana. We are for business and business people…BritCham is for serious business people. It’s a forum to meet like-minded individuals; many like myself understanding the culture of the United Kingdom and Guyana,” he said.

Prime Minister Mark Phillips remarked that Guyana “remains wedded to the values of democracy, respect for the rule of law, respect for international law and respect for human rights.” He thanked the UK for its support for free and fair elections in Guyana and the territorial integrity of this former British colony.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is considering Guyana’s request for a declaration that the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award that settled the land boundary with Venezuela is valid.