Up to late on Wednesday the Secretariat charged with rolling out the much anticipated Guyana Trade and Investment Exposition (GUYTIE) was still in the process of finalizing complete lists of ‘buyers and sellers’ expected to gather at the Marriott Hotel for four days beginning next Wednesday though the latest indications are that potential buyers who will travel to Georgetown to ‘check out’ local goods and services available to the international market are likely to be dominated by business houses from the Caribbean.
The standout entity on the most recent updated list of buyers made available to this newspaper by the organizers is the internationally renowned Grace Kennedy Ltd of Jamaica, the region’s leading distributor of food and non-food consumer products with a global market reach that embraces the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, India and Africa.
By yesterday, the list of foreign buyers expected here for the event had also included the Aggressive Export Promotion Services team from India, Serviço Brasileiro de Apoio às Micro e Pequenas Empresas, (SEBRAE) the Brazilian group whose profile is built around its work aimed at fostering the development of micro and small enterprises and stimulating entrepreneurship and the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Commerce. Stabroek Business understands that up to Wednesday the local organizers were still engaging Surinamese officials with a view to determining the extent to which Guyana’s CARICOM neighbour will be represented at GUYTIE.
Last week the Stabroek Business had reported that the initial list of ‘buyers’ made available to this newspaper by the organizers had pointed to indications of a dominant regional presence for the GUYTIE event which is being staged by the Ministry of Business in collaboration with the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) and local private sector support bodies. The organizers have made no secret of their hope that GUYTIE will create a platform for local export-ready businesses to meaningfully engage foreign buyers in discourses that will yield positive results for the country’s export sector.
The organizers have said that a key objective of GUYTIE is to foster investment opportunities for fifty to one hundred export ready local companies.
By Wednesday the list of foreign entities expected here for GUYTIE had grown to more than eighty and while the overseas participants are still primarily from the region the most recent list includes companies from the Republic of Korea as well as additional representation from Canada and the UK.
With several ‘buyers’ having expressed an interest in rice and other agricultural produce as well as timber and wood products next week’s inaugural GUYTIE event is being seen here as perhaps the sternest test yet of Guyana’s ability to meet both the quantitative and qualitative demands necessary to create and sustain a profitable international market. While the authorities here have stopped short of writing off the long-standing GuyExpo as a failure in terms of its track record in cementing ties between local sellers and overseas buyers it has sought, it says, to make organizational adjustments to the GUYTIE event in order to realize more meaningful interface between local sellers and buyers expected here for next week’s four-day event.
With next week’s GUYTIE event taking place against the backdrop of the heightened international attention which Guyana continues to attract in the wake of disclosure of the country’s significant oil resources, some companies due here for the event have simply expressed a broad interest in “investment opportunities” which, presumably, they expect to find in the oil and gas related sector.
GUYTIE, the organizers have said, aim to promote export-ready firms in export markets and local exhibitors in next week’s event will include businesses in both the manufacturing and services sectors including agro-processing, arts and craft, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, construction, food & beverages, food processing, forestry & wood products, information & communications, print & publishing, packaging, tourism and services.