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A key feature of the seminar sponsored jointly by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and International Cooperation and USAID's Guyana Economic Opportunities Project, was the presentation of the 61-page revised draft of the document: `A National Trade Policy Strategy for Guyana'.
The author of the document, Dr. Craig VanGrasstek, presented it at the forum.
Dr. VanGrasstek, a trade policy expert with more than 20 years of experience, is the Executive Director of the Program on Trade and Negotiations at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, and Publisher of World Trade Reports. He is also President of the Washington Trade Reports, which provide analyses and consulting services on a wide range of trade issues to various governments and business groups worldwide.
Other speakers included Mr. Clement Rohee, Minister of Foreign Trade and International Cooperation; Mr. Ronald Godard, Ambassador of the United States; and Mr. John Isaacs, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Trade and International Cooperation.
Topics discussed included the impact and effects of trade agreements of the World Trade Organisation, the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), and the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP).
In a lively interactive session, participants made interjections and other comments in relation to the draft National Trade Strategy Paper, which has implications for trade in both goods and services in Guyana.
Meanwhile, in relation to the place of agriculture in a changing world economy, and the imminent phasing out of sugar, it was strongly argued that since sugar is right now the most successful and dynamic industry in Guyana, it should be ensured that "whatever is done is done in addition to, and not a replacement for sugar in Guyana". (SHIRLEY THOMAS)