Sunday, February 5, 2023

Guyanese bureaucrats pushing development, inclusivity – visiting US official

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New partnerships are expected to be built from a successful trade mission by a 30-member private sector team out of Louisiana. Said to be the largest US trade mission in Guyana, it was organised by the US Embassy and the Louisiana District Export Council (LDEC).

At the helm of the delegation was Erin Butler, Director of US Commercial Service out of New Orleans, who explained to OilNOW that the team comprised of economic developers, industrial training experts, Louisiana state officials, and US government officials.

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Combined, the companies are said to represent over US$238 billion in annual revenue.

And thus far, all dialogue with government officials, she said, has been “fruitful.”

“It is really inspiring how all of the Guyanese officials we have talked to – from President [Irfaan] Ali to the various ministers – are all pulling the same direction; a unity of vision I would say, around the development they would want to see for the country and the inclusiveness of all of Guyana’s communities to be involved in this economic development,” the US official added.

The success of ExxonMobil, with its 11 billion barrels of recoverable petroleum resources discovered, and Guyana’s growth trajectory are what piqued their interest.

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As a result of successful discussions with the oil majors and Guyana’s private sector, Butler noted that major agreements are underway.

“… actually, more than I expected. In fact, we had some delegation members who were not able to join us today… off meeting with partners, doing site visits, talking with some local attorneys and I think there have been some NDAs [non-disclosure agreements] signed,” she outlined. “I would not be surprised if we had an [memorandum of understanding] MoU or two before we leave. And we will see a number of joint ventures probably before the end of the calendar year.”

This is the first trip for the trade delegation. And according to Butler, the team could make a return early 2023.

The delegation conducted productive meetings with key private sector contacts and experts to highlight Guyana’s business environment, learn about the government of Guyana’s efforts to promote investment and economic diversification, explore market entry strategies, foster partnerships, and develop closer trade and investment ties between the country and the US.

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At a reception in their honour, President Ali encouraged the delegation to eye small and medium-sized investments that have the potential to grow alongside the major opportunities presented.

The Caribbean and Guyana especially presents a growing opportunity for the US. Bilateral trade reaching between Guyana and the US went up to US$1.4 billion in the first half of this year alone.

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