Guyana is to sign a framework agreement for economic cooperation with Barbados, President David Granger has announced.
The announcement comes on the heels of the country signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday.
Granger, addressing the inaugural, Guyana Trade and Investment Exhibition (GuyTIE 2018) on Thursday, said the decision was taken following attendance at the Ninth Meeting of the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) in Barbados earlier this month.
“We see Guyana’s future in the Caribbean and we see the Caribbean’s future in Guyana,” Granger said, as he highlighted the Caribbean as an important common market amidst trade wars and Brexit.
The combined land space of the countries of the Caribbean Community is almost equivalent to that of Sweden and President Granger pointed out that this has the potential for increased intra-regional trade.
He noted that intra-regional exports, at the end of 2014, stood at a 13.1 per cent of total regional exports of US$22.3 billion. Granger said the region’s estimated US$4.5 billion annual food import bill could be slashed.
However, he noted that there is a need for intensified collaboration between local, regional and international firms to grasp opportunities, which can provide a platform for global market penetration.
“Guyana’s economic development has been constrained, historically, by the small size of its population, small domestic markets and the small range and volume of primary commodity exports. These have made its economy highly vulnerable to exogenous economic shocks.”
He said that CSME, which allows for free movement of goods, skills, labour and services across the 15-member regional integration movement,, as the way to build more resilient economies, not only in the Caribbean but also locally.
Granger said Guyana will continue to pursue regional economic cooperation in order to build greater prosperity and global competitiveness.