Last week’s official announcement that Chinese will occupy almost a third of the booths earmarked for international exhibitors at this year’s GuyExpo has elicited a muted response from local private sector bodies.
Both the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA)
have asserted that while local manufacturers are expected to play a dominant role in the annual trade exposition that does not preclude significant participation by international exporters.
During an interview with Stabroek Business last week GuyExpo official Indranath Haralsingh disclosed that Chinese exhibitors will occupy 25 of the 86 exhibition booths earmarked for foreign exhibitors.
A well-placed manufacturing sector official told this newspaper that the seeming dominance of the international exhibition booths by Chinese exhibitors reflected their enthusiasm when compared with the other potential exhibitors. “Several countries were invited to participate in GuyExpo through their diplomatic missions based in Guyana. It seems from the responses that the Chinese have been the most enthusiastic. In some areas there was a poor response,” the official said.
Asked to comment on exhibitor participation in this year’s 15th GuyExpo, GCCI President Clinton Urling said that it was not a question of drawing attention to the extent of Chinese participation but of seeking to determine the reasons for the limited participation by local manufacturers. “What is clear is that our local manufacturing sector needs to expand several times over if we are to make an impact at GuyExpo,” Urling said. “We need to arrive at a position where international participants at GuyExpo come here not only to display their goods but to see what there is in Guyana in terms of value-added manufactured products,” Urling said.
Urling told Stabroek Business that the limited participation by local manufacturers at GuyExpo was a function of long-standing limitations in the manufacturing sector that had to do with, among other things, scarce skills, high electricity costs and too few incentives. ‘If you look at even the local exhibitors who show up at GuyExpo many of them are exhibiting and promoting goods which are imported from abroad,” Urling added.