U.S/Guyana relations as good as they have ever been - Ambassador Godard
40% of imports came from U.S. in 2002, U.S. bought 29% of exports
Stabroek News
April 7, 2003

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Relations between the United States and Guyana have been assessed by U.S. Ambassador Ronald Godard to be "as good as they have ever been."

"That is not to say that they could not be better," he noted, "but compared to the past, Guyana and the United States have developed a good partnership."

The U.S. Ambassador to Guyana was at the time giving a keynote address in New York on March 30 at a function to launch the partnership between the U.S. NGO Big Brothers, Big Sisters and the Guyanese NGO Volunteer Youth Corps (VYC), a release from the U.S. Embassy said.

The function was sponsored by the Organisation for Social and Health Advancement in Guyana (OSHAG), and the audience comprised mainly members of the Guyanese expatriate community in New York.

The ambassador, expanding on U.S./Guyana relations, noted: "Guyana has been very good on terrorism (and) the response from the government and people of Guyana after September 11 was overwhelmingly sympathetic and supportive."

In his keynote speech, he also referred to the existence of the active narcotics programme between the two countries, and noted that the U.S. is looking forward to strengthening that relationship in the coming years.

U.S./Guyana trade booming
Describing trade between the two countries as "booming", the ambassador disclosed that last year the U.S. accounted for 40% of Guyana's imports, the largest percentage of any country, whilst his country purchased 29% of Guyana's exports.

Godard also noted that Guyana coordinates with its Caribbean Community partners on many international issues, and while they often vote differently to the U.S. at the United Nations, they "pretty much agree on trade issues."

He observed that the Guyana government is committed to the Free Trade Area of the Americas, but like the rest of the Caribbean this country is "holding out for special and differential treatment for its small, vulnerable economy." "The U.S. is sympathetic to that position, and we are trying to bring around some of our Latin American friends who are not," Godard said.

The ambassador who was accompanied by Mrs Godard, patron of the VYC, also met with a number of civic and business leaders of the Guyanese community over the March 29-30 weekend, the release said.

It was the ambassador's first visit to the Guyanese expatriate community in New York. While acknowledging that it had come late in his tenure since he is scheduled to leave Georgetown later this year, Godard expressed optimism that the success of the Guyanese community in America could give Guyana a decisive edge.

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