Still no details of foreign companies coming for GUYTIE

Dominic Gaskin

With just over two weeks to go before the staging of the much-talked about Guyana Trade and Investment Exhibition (GUYTIE) the organizers earlier this week released a statement declaring that the event is now completely “sold out” but are still vague on the likely extent of participation in the event by foreign buyers for manufactured products and other locally produced goods.

GUYTIE has been plugged as a public/private sector initiative designed to elevate efforts to find external markets above the level achieved by the long-serving GUYEXPO which the organizers of the current initiative say have brought only limited rewards. However, while this week’s release from the organizers says that the September 19-22 event, billed for the Marriott Hotel will attract participation from “more than sixty exhibitors” it provides rather less specificity on likely overseas participation asserting only that “buyers” for the event have registered from “around the globe, from as far away as India and Korea” as well as from “Trinidad & Tobago, Belize, Haiti, Barbados, Jamaica, Cuba and Brazil.” These foreign companies, the release said, “will be looking for avenues to interact with the business community in Guyana.”

Two days ago Stabroek Business reached out to the organizers of GUYTIE requesting specific information on the companies, which, up to this time, have ‘signed on’ to participate in GUYTIE and their likely interests as far as locally produced goods are concerned. We have been promised but up until yesterday had received no information in this regard.

Last May’s high-profile launch of GUYTIE had been promoted as a landmark public/private sector initiative to outdo GUYEXPO in terms of providing a structured form through which to secure a breakthrough for external markets for locally produced goods. At the May launch of GUYTIE, Business Minister Dominic Gaskin had said that while he had nothing against GUYEXPO it was not his view that the event “was delivering the kind of outcomes that we were looking for.” What was required, Gaskin had said, was a model that was more focused on matching exhibitors with buyers and promoting exports. “GUYEXPO was more of a business-to-consumer event and even though it may have met certain short-term goals it was not addressing the long-term economic agenda of our Government,” Gaskin was quoted as saying.

 Describing the new initiative as “an event that is expected to contribute measurably to increased export earnings in the long-term, Gaskin had said that it was also government’s expectation that it would “become self-sustaining after a few years and we expect it to change from a public sector to a private sector initiative once it becomes well established on the regional calendar and can sustain itself financially.”

GUYTIE has secured the backing of the European Union-funded regional business promotion entity, Caribbean Export as well as the ‘heavy hitters’ in the local manufacturing sector including companies involved in the rum, beverages and agro processing sectors.

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