FITCE 2019 Participants Show High Interest in Guyana & its Products

GACC Secretary Melinda Gordon and DDL’s Ms. Singh at the tasting of Guyana’s award winning El Dorado rums at Florida International Trade Conference & Expo

GACC Secretary Melinda Gordon and DDL’s Ms. Singh at the tasting of Guyana’s award winning El Dorado rums

SOUTH FLORIDA Participants in the just concluded Florida International Trade Conference & Expo (FITCE 2019) have shown significant interest in the products which the 21 companies from Guyana displayed at the event.

Follow up action will be taken to ensure sustainable markets for these products are materialized.

Additionally, there were also enquiries about other products being sourced from Guyana including lumber, fresh fruits and vegetables, shrimp and gold and diamond jewelry.

While many of the Guyanese exhibitors were able to sell some of their products at the event, the emphasis was on developing arrangements to supply interested companies on an ongoing basis.

Some of the products already meet the standards required for import into the US and other major markets while other products need work done on their packaging and labelling, and in the case of the US certification by the Food and Drug Administration.

There was also interest on the part of potential investors in housing construction, telecommunications, infrastructure development, agribusiness and mining.

A number of companies also expressed interest in identifying distributors in Guyana for a range of products.

Uber, which says it has experienced some challenges entering Caribbean markets says it is open to looking at the Guyana market while the World Trade Center Association has indicated its interest in setting up a WTC in Guyana and will be pursuing discussions in this regard as early as later this month.

Javier Correoso Uber’s public affairs manager with GACC president Wesley at Florida International Trade Conference & Expo (FITCE 2019)

Javier Correoso Uber’s public affairs manager (L) with GACC president Wesley

“The Guyanese American Chamber of Commerce (GACC) will share these business “leads” with Chambers of Commerce, the Guyana Manufacturers and Services Association (GM &SA) and the Private Sector Commission (PSC) as well as relevant private companies and government agencies,” says GACC Secretary Melinda Gordon.

Gordon said Guyana was certainly the country with the highest interest on the part of participants in the event with its range of products displayed as well as the rum tasting reception for its world famous El Dorado rums and the international designs fashion show which featured the work mainly of Guyanese designer Sonia Noel.

One of the major initiatives being followed up is the possible entry into the South African market for Guyana’s El Dorado rum and the import into Guyana of wines from that country.

GACC’s president Wesley Kirton who is also a consultant with Demerara Distillers Limited held discussions with Ms. Llse van Schalkwyk, Chief Director, Economic Sector Support in South Africa.

Llse van Schalkwyk’s office following discussions which are to be held with DDL’s chairman Komal Samaroo, will seek to identify possible distributors of the El Dorado brand.

Among the participants from Guyana was Denmor Garments Manufacturers Inc. which has previously supplied garments to Walmart, Victoria’s Secret, Russell Athletics and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Demor director Serojinee Mudlier-Persaud says she will have follow- up discussions with California based Apparel Textile Sourcing with which she had initial discussions at the expo.

Doing Business With Guyana

An almost full house also heard the presentation by Chamber president Wesley Kirton on “Doing Business With Guyana” in which he gave an overview of the geography of the country, its resources, incentives offered to investors, identified investment opportunities and appealed for help from the international business community to partner with the Guyanese entrepreneurs present, many of whom are women, to meet the required standards where necessary and to access markets continuously on the basis of fair and mutually beneficial arrangements.

During the event several participants enquired about the current political situation in Guyana which Kirton addressed in his final words of his presentation.

“You may have been reading about the current political situation in Guyana. Indeed, we are a very political active country but we are a stable democracy. In inviting you to do business with Guyana I invite you to experience six ethnic groups living in harmony and working together as one People, One Nation, One Destiny.”

At the following day’s opening session John Dickson, president of the World Trade & Development Group highlighted Guyana as a perfect example of a society with the right foundation for businesses to be successful, citing its religious and ethnic harmony.

He explained how all Guyanese celebrate national holidays regardless of whether these are Hindu, Muslim or Christian.

“Some would feel with so many holidays this would negatively impact business. But on the contrary it sets the foundation for businesses to do well especially in today’s world where there is so much division,” Dickson told the audience of some 1,000. He also drew attention to one of the Guyanese exhibitors, Melba Lagadoue of Eco Intricate Creations who exhibited pieces of art made from thrash.

“From thrash to art points to the creativity of the Guyanese mind,” Dickson said. Lagadoue presented a piece of her artwork as a gift to Broward County, Florida on behalf of the visiting Guyanese delegation.

The Guyana delegation also participated in a number of workshop sessions including one which included presenters from the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the US Consumer Safety Commission and the US Customs & Border Protection (CBP).

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