Guyana’s Foreign Trade Policy and Challenges: Some Thoughts

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Trade

Guyana agent to the ICJ and border advisor

introduction

I have been asked to stress the importance of trade for the Caribbean and to comment on the implications of this issue for the prospects for improved cooperation between the Caribbean and the United States. I am happy to join this august gathering today to share some thoughts.

The history of the Caribbean and its relationship to international trade is well known. Foremost among the elements of this story is the heavy, if not disproportionate, dependence of economies on international trade, not only in arithmetical terms, but in economic terms, i.e. international trade is one of the main determinants of income levels. , fluctuations in GDP, levels and direction of investment as well as employment and income distribution. A recent WTO estimate of Guyana’s foreign trade dependence (exports + imports / GDP) set the level at around 170% for the year and “exports are still concentrated on a few primary products, including gold, sugar, bauxite and rice. Imports are of great importance to supply the domestic market and represent around 100% of the GDP. The persistent deficits in the merchandise trade balance and the current account of the balance of payments imply that the economy is heavily dependent on remittances from abroad, making Guyana more vulnerable to…. financial crisis. Although the share of the United States in Guyana’s total merchandise trade has declined significantly, Guyana remains Guyana’s main trading partner (23% of GDP – 2014-2016), followed by Trinidad and Tobago. Imports from Asia have increased considerably.


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