Guyanese businessman Alfred Ramsaran yesterday complained that goods he procured from Chinese merchants in Guyana and shipped to Brazil for sale were refused due to the fact that they were below the required quality standards.
He, however, said that goods he procured while in China were accepted when he shipped them to Brazil because they were of a much higher quality. This, he said, is an indication that goods being brought by Chinese merchants for sale in Guyana are inferior, and this seems to be taking place unabated.
The observation was made during a Business Develop-ment Forum hosted by the Guyana Manufacturers and Services Association at the International Conference Centre (ICC) yesterday.
During the Forum, First Secretary in the Chinese Embassy in Guyana Jason Zhang made a presentation about the highs and lows of bilateral trade between China and Guyana, and after the presentation, Ramsaran voiced his concern.
Like many Guyanese, he said that due to prior experiences he was of the opinion that all goods originating from China were inferior. But Ramsaran recalled his surprise of discovering that all of the goods which he procured while in China were of an exceptionally high standard.
This, he said, led him to conclude that the merchants which travel to Guyana with goods to sell on the Guyanese market intentionally bring goods which they know are inferior.
Many Guyanese have expressed their dissatisfaction after purchasing an item from a Chinese merchant only to have it fall apart a few days after the purchase. Addition-ally, many persons, in trying to return their damaged or otherwise inferior goods, have been told by the merchants that the goods were non-returnable.
Zhang himself admitted knowledge of this situation. He noted that on one occasion, soon after arriving in Guyana, he entered into the store of a Chinese merchant but could not identify shoes to buy that he had confidence in.
He expressed regret concerning the situation and said that these products are likely sources from the many manufacturers whose finished products are not of a very high standard. Such items, he told the gathering, are made to cater to the section of the Chinese population who
cannot afford products of a higher standard.
Many have argued that the Guyana National Bureau of Standard (GNBS) ought to do more to mitigate the importation of inferior Chinese goods. However, a representative of the Bureau said that it is not responsible for determining who is or is not allowed to import goods.
According to Evadnie Enniss, Executive Director of the Bureau, the GNBS does not regulate the standards of all goods that come into Guyana. She explained that before the standard of a good can be assessed and regulated, there must be a standard to measure that good against and she disclosed that in many instances there is no standard to measure some of the goods against. In short, Enniss explained, “The Bureau of Standards cannot stop goods from coming in.”
This, however, does not mean that Guyanese shoppers have to be left to the mercy of low-quality goods. Enniss urged consumers to be wise when shopping and desist from the practice of purchasing one good over another just because it is of a lower price. A lower-priced item, she said, usually translates to a lower-quality item, and she added that Guyanese should start looking to buy goods which have been certified by the Bureau.
Zhang also said that the Embassy may also be in a position to render some assistance in this regard.