To avoid being marginalised in their own markets, representatives from both the public and private sectors have been urged to place even greater emphasis on the development of the local services sector. The encouragement is being made as Guyana draws closer to becoming an oil and gas-based economy, and preparations are being put in place for the anticipated influx of foreign companies.
Delivering this encouragement yesterday was Foreign Affairs Minister Karen Cummings at a Trade in Services Workshop hosted by the World Trade Organization, (WTO), in collaboration with the Guyana Coalition of Service Providers.
“The development of the oil and gas sector will see an influx of foreign companies with increased demand for services offered in Guyana. Service providers will need to respond accordingly, in order to avoid being marginalised in their own markets,” the Minister said.
At the event, the minister noted that the government recognised that the local services sector, once strategically developed, would assist in enhancing Guyana’s trade in value-added products.
“For instance, services related to the manufacturing sector, for example, transport services, packaging and warehousing services, among others, have the potential to positively impact on agro-processing and ultimately augment our trade in goods. A strong adverting services industry would also be a great asset in showcasing Guyana’s products and services both on the domestic and international markets,” she noted.
The government is also cognisant of the challenges faced by local service providers trying to make headway into respective markets. This, she said, was discussed during the five-year review of the Caribbean Forum- European Union (CARIFORUM- EU) Economic Partnership Agreement conducted in 2015.
“It was noted that trade in services provisions have not yielded the benefits as originally envisaged,” Minister Cummings added.
She said the process for the second five-year review is underway and is expected to be completed in 2020. “We await its pronouncements on market access difficulties for services providers.”
However, despite challenges, Minister Cummings applauded CARIFORUM for emphasising on trade in services by encouraging the establishment of Coalition of Service Providers across the CARIFORUM region.