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Many trade fairs have acquired international fame and repute and are looked upon by many major companies as a must in terms of participation, in their persistent drive to maintain and expand their share of the international markets.
The renowned Paris and Leipzig trade fairs in Europe are notable ones, while many other countries, both developed and developing, have and are following suit.
Today, Guyana will launch another in its version of a trade fair, through the four-day GUYEXPO 2002 trade exposition.
This is the fifth one being held since its inception in 1995 and most Guyanese will be looking forward to a successful outcome of such an important national event.
The organisers and the exhibitors must be commended for working tirelessly and persistently to make the event a reality, despite the trying and difficult economic and social environment that has gripped not only Guyana, but a large number of other countries, including developed ones.
This reality demonstrates that while some are predicting `doomsday' for this country, and some are actually making desperate efforts to make such a prediction come true, there are still a large number of Guyanese prepared to continue making sacrifices.
They are prepared to rise against the odds in their valiant commitment towards the development of this country.
This is commendable and should serve as an inspiration to all Guyanese to work in unison and harmony for the betterment of this lovely country.
According to reports from the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, this year's GUYEXPO promises to be the largest ever.
This is good news because the country desperately needs to intensify its trade promotion efforts, especially in view of the fact that traditional major exports will not be enjoying preferential markets not so long from now.
Guyana has a lot of commodities which can hold their own on the regional and international markets, but there is need for a more aggressive marketing strategy and lower costs of production to be competitive.
The agriculture sector, at the moment, perhaps is that with the most potential in this regard, and significant headways have been made by this sector.
There has also been significant growth of exports of seafood products, fruits and vegetables, forestry and furniture products and more recently the birth of organic fruits and vegetables and sugar.
The organic market is perhaps where Guyana could excel because there are not so many competitors in this area.
Therefore, it is hoped that Guyana's organic potential will be fully showcased at the exposition, because indications are that a number of overseas trade delegations that are here will be interested in this area.
But that is not to say there are not other potential products, especially from the manufacturing and eco tourism sectors.
However, the ability of the former to be competitive is hindered by high costs of production, where energy costs are a significant factor. This problem, however, cannot be solved in the short-term, because of the historical inadequacies of the local energy sector.
Nevertheless it has to be resolved in the shortest possible time, because of the demands of the global economic environment.
Those responsible for putting on GUYEXPO 2002 must be commended for their persistence in the face of great odds and we wish the organisers and participants all success in a worthwhile endeavour.
GUYEXPO 2002 could be further testimony to the indomitable will of the Guyanese people to persist in the cause of developing the country, come what may.