Guyana, Canada recommit to strong trade, development relations

(Guyana Chronicle)PRESIDENT, Dr. Irfaan Ali, on Wednesday, reaffirmed the importance of Guyana’s development and trade partnership with Canada.

The Head of State spoke during the “Canada Day” celebration hosted by the Canadian High Commission here at the High Commissioner’s residence in Georgetown.

During his remarks, President Ali said the relationship that Guyana is building with its friends and development partners is one that is seamless. He maintained the importance of dialogue and strong conversations which lead to results.

He said: “We must have strong conversations, but the conversation model must lead to results. We want to sit in the negotiations and arrangement for the new trade agreements between Canada and all our strategic partners so that it can reflect the changing environment in which you’re operating.”

President Ali said that Guyana and Canada are consistently working on ways to better bilateral relations.

Noting the large Guyanese diaspora in Canada, President Ali recognised Canada’s longstanding contributions to development here. Additionally, the President lauded the North American country for its support to Guyana during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Similarly, President Ali underscored the partnerships between Canadian businesses and Guyana.

Turning attention to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), President Ali said emphasis should also be placed on “igniting” the relationship between Canada and the bloc of Caribbean nations.

Dr Ali said the recently-held Summit of the Americas provided space for such an engagement.

Further, as the relationship between CARICOM and the region is being expanded, the President said that this is not only being done at the trade and development levels but, importantly, on the policy coordination level.

To this end, he mentioned Guyana has been working with Canada at the national and regional levels to coordinate approaches to face the various issues of food security and climate change.

Additionally, the Head of State said that in fostering better relationships between the two countries, it is time to re-evaluate the “people-to-people” contact. More specifically, President Ali said there should be discussions on reducing bottlenecks to free movement.

Meanwhile, High Commissioner of Canada to Guyana, Mark Berman shared similar sentiments to President Ali in his remarks.

The High Commissioner noted that with respect to trade, Canada-Guyana merchandise trade totalled some $238.2 million last year with some $199.6 million of same being imports from Guyana.

As such, he stated, “Canada is committed to diversifying our trade relationship in order to contribute to rebuilding the global economy in a way that is resilient, inclusive, and sustainable while being a reliable partner for business and development.”

Berman said Canada’s Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business, and Economic Development, Mary Ng visited Guyana to strengthen the bilateral trade and investment relationship between the two countries.

“Canada has been a leading trade partner in Guyana for many many years and we’re proud of the continuous growth of our relationship,” the High Commissioner expressed.

Mr Berman said the relationship between the two countries is also strong in the area of culture.

Similarly, he indicated that he looks forward to more partnerships being built, more projects being executed, and greater trade development.

Berman affirmed Canada’s commitment to a coordinated approach on pressing issues such as climate change and food security that are facing the Caribbean region.

With this commitment, he added that this means continuing to work closely with partners in Guyana and the Caribbean.

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