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─ exporters urged to take advantage of EPA
DPI – Guyana’s sugar and wood species are in high demand in the United Kingdom, the Department of Foreign Trade has revealed while urging local exporters to explore value-added production to take advantage of that demand and capitalise on Guyana’s preferential access under the CARIFORUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
Dr. Diana Glasgow, Director of the Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, during the second trade talk between the Ministry and the Private Sector Commission (PSC) called on local exporters to step up to the challenge.
The virtual discussion focused on the CARIFORUM-UK EPA and provided the private sector with crucial trading features with the UK and assess its implications for continued trade with that country.
Dr. Glasgow said the United Kingdom is one of Guyana’s key trading partners, accounting for about four per cent of this country’s export. Guyana exported about US$13 million worth of goods to the UK during the third quarter of last year.
The main exports included rice, sugar, molasses and honey, alcoholic beverages, wood and gold. These five products accounted for 98.7 per cent of Guyana’s total exports to the UK. Sugar led at 32 per cent, alcoholic beverages at 25. 5 per cent, rice 24. 2 per cent, gold 9.38 per cent and wood at 7.4 per cent.
However, Dr Glasgow said there are several areas which Guyana could take advantage of in the UK market, given their demands.
“Some of the products they are currently demanding from Guyana include wood, rum, sugar. There is scope for us to examine value-added activities in these areas and further exploit the preferential access that has been afforded to us under the agreement,” she said.
The European Union and CARIFORUM countries signed the EPA in 2008. The comprehensive agreement provided the basis for trade with the United Kingdom and other European countries.
Following the UK’s referendum to exit the EU, the UK and CARIFORUM embarked on rolling over the CARIFORUM/EU agreement’s terms into the CARIFORUM-UK EPA, signed by Guyana in March 2019 and ratified by Ministerial Order in December 2020.
Dr Glasgow said other mechanisms allow Guyana and the UK to co-operate and support each other economically. The UK-Caribbean forum is a mechanism that promotes dialogue and interaction between the Caribbean and the United Kingdom.
The UK Caribbean Co-operation is an investment of £300 million in vital new infrastructure in the Caribbean, including roads, bridges, and ports to help drive economic growth and development.