Business editorial blurred distinction between discrete policy issues
Inasmuch as it may be inadvertent, your Business editorial (‘Dumping, unfair competition and effective private sector representation‘ SN, August17) generalizes and blurs the distinction between discrete policy issues.
1. Dumping requires an assessment of home country prices versus export prices, ergo, low cost exports in the retail clothing sector (or other areas where Guyanese producers are facing overwhelming competitive pressures) are not necessarily a result of dumping. Dumping is unfair competition. Low-cost manufacturing does not fall within that framework.
2. Intertwining concepts of low-cost manufactured goods with sub-standard products is also confusing. The latter requires enforcement and expansion of consumer protection regulations, but to the extent only that the consumer may be unaware of quality and safety deliberations.
The market supplies what the consumer wants. The former is a function of import and trade policy which requires different approaches, informed by the national economic and development objectives.
3. The concern about the unbridled expansion of non-Guyanese distributors and retailers (as distinct from imports of manufactured goods) is a legitimate trade, employment and migration policy concern that ought to be properly articulated by those in authority.
As a small developing country imports, distribution and retail trade are essential. It is not clear what makes the retail sector a policy darling requiring special protection. Additionally, one may ask whether there isn’t some amount of xenophobia directed to newly expanding and more visible groups. Otherwise, the same amount of scrutiny should also be directed to those large multinational conglomerates which operate behind a corporate wall of local employees and agents, but take far larger bite of the retail and distribution sector.
Ronald G Burch-Smith