Key trade links made at Antigua expo
- Da Silva
Stabroek News
December 5, 2003

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Guyanese business persons have hailed the just concluded Guyana-Antigua Trade and Investment Exhibition held in Antigua as a success.

The exhibition was the second of its kind in Antigua over the past two years.

Speaking at a press conference where the exhibitors reported on the exhibition, Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest), Geoffrey Da Silva, said the exhibition was a follow-up to a similar one held last year May. Da Silva told the media that the show was a good advertisement for local business persons and also afforded them the opportunity to establish links and overseas markets.

Da Silva observed that Guyana's small population and markets did not allow for rapid growth of local companies and as such these companies have to be more export-oriented.

He announced that plans were already in place for next year's exhibitions, which will be held in Barbados and Toronto, Canada. Da Silva said that at the level of Go-Invest they were encouraging local companies to look beyond the shores of Guyana for additional markets for their products, hence the hosting of the exhibitions.

With regard to the success of the exhibitors, Da Silva said they had an excellent opportunity to showcase their products which they did to both Antiguans and Guyanese living there.

However, he said, the Antiguans bemoaned the lack of seafood and woods at the exhibition. "But it was a learning lesson for us. The Antiguans expressed strong desire for our seafoods and woods, but unfortunately we did not have those on exhibition."

Da Silva informed that a delegation from the Antigua Chamber of Commerce was expected in Guyana soon to follow up on some of the business links that were established. He said an exhibition was not all about selling things, but about securing markets and establishing links.

Among the companies that participated in the exhibition which was held at the Multi-Purpose Centre, Perry Bay, St John's Antigua were the New Guyana Marketing Corpora-tion, Banks DIH, Demerara Distillers Ltd, the Continental Group of Companies, Liana Cane Interiors, NCS Bamboo and Wood Craft Products, Guysuco, Timeless Treasures, Cummings Leather Est, Farley's Art and Craft Products, Samuel's Wicker, Rattan and Upholstery Works, Genesis of Craft, the YWCA and Dello's Leather Est.

During their report exhibitors thanked Go-Invest for affording them the opportunity to attend the show. They reported that the turnout by the Antiguans was poor, but their fellow Guyanese living there supported them overwhelmingly.

Asked how the exhibitors were selected, Da Silva said Go-Invest had advertised for participants and those who applied were the ones who went on the trip.

He said Go-Invest would have only refused someone's application if it had felt that their product was not up to international standards.