Foreign Secretary Emphasizes Benefit of  Revised National Trade Strategy

Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud, recently highlighted the need for a comprehensive trade strategy if Guyana is to leverage the trade opportunities and competitive advantages available to it.

The Foreign Secretary was addressing stakeholders from the private and public sectors who participated in a National Validation Workshop for the revised National Trade Strategy hosted by the Department of Foreign Trade of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Foreign Secretary Persaud noted that while the emerging oil and gas sector will change the economic outlook of the country, the new stream of revenue generated can be used to bolster the productivity and competitiveness of traditional trade sectors; as well as new tradable products.

“We need to balance the gains from the oil and gas sector with the development of other export sectors, albeit on the basis of oil revenues so that we allow for sustainable development, new export products, and services to arise with the ability to compete in multiple lucrative markets,” the Foreign Secretary stated. Furthermore, he noted that in this regard, preparation is key and this has fueled the focus on the strategy.”

During the workshop, stakeholders reviewed the revised strategy to ensure that issues identified during the data collection phase are reflected in the document as it moves towards finalization.

Presently in the draft stage, the strategy aims to provide an overarching vision of the principles and procedures necessary for the long-term development of Guyana’s trade policy and is key to ensuring that the foreign trade program remains relevant to the current issues affecting trade, both domestically and multilaterally. Once finalized, the strategy will build on the foundation set by the current version, which was introduced in 2003.

The current strategy was completed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) after the intergovernmental body recruited Professor Craig VanGrasstek as a consultant to undertake the work. Professor VanGrasstek is attached to the John F. Kennedy School of Government, at Harvard University.

Once finalized, the National Trade Strategy is expected to be launched later this year.

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