Guyana-India commerce below potential
Stabroek News
March 9, 2004

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There has been some improvement in the level of bilateral trade between Guyana and India in the recent past, but the extent of commercial and economic interaction is far below potential, says Indian High Commissioner Avinash Chandra Gupta.

High Commissioner Gupta was delivering a brief address at the inauguration of the Catalogue Exhibition of Indian Products held on Thursday in the Essequibo Room of Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel.

The exhibition was attended by several persons who scanned the wide range of catalogues displaying fabrics, leather products, machinery, auto parts, chemicals, rubber products, stationary, hardware and metal products.

Gupta noted that India was the second fastest growing economy in the world and was expected to expand by 8.1% during the current financial year. He observed also that in view of his country's record US$108B foreign exchange reserve, the government had written off debts of US$30M due from seven heavily indebted countries, including Guyana as part of the "India Development Initiative".

Highlighting the bilateral agreements between India and Guyana, the high commissioner said that one of the immediate outcomes of the recent presidential visit to India was the agreement to extend a concessional credit line of US$25.2M for modernisation of the local sugar industry. "We have also agreed to construct a cricket stadium in Georgetown for up to US$6M to enable Guyana to host some of the Cricket World Cup 2007 matches," Gupta added.

The Indian government, he said, has also agreed to increase scholarship slots for Guyanese from 15 to 35, and for the current financial year 38 Guyanese have gone to pursue studies at different establishments in India.

During President Bharrat Jagdeo's 2003 visit to India an agreement to establish a Joint Business Council was signed. Both countries also agreed then to conclude shortly a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement and a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement to create a congenial commercial and economic environment.

Stabroek News spoke with a few persons who were browsing through the various catalogues and they said they were curious to see what products India had to offer.

A manager from a local start-up pharmaceutical outlet said his company was looking to expand and the exhibition offered access to suppliers of Indian goods. He had a stack of brochures and noted that it was possible for him to contact the producers directly.

Also at the exhibition was Deo Raghubeer, managing director of Royal Woodworking General Store. He said he had imported sheet glass from India before, and came to see what products might be good for him to distribute.

Other Guyanese businesses represented at the exhibition included Lynette Mangar's Exclusive Collection which specialises in clothing and jewellery. Sylvie's General Store sells items such as sports equipment and toys from India, as well as the Hero Honda motorcycles and Kirloskar pumps.

Also there was Shoppers Paradise which imports clothing designed by Embauche in India, as well as religious paraphernalia such as statuettes, artwork and literature.

Kites are also among the items now coming into Guyana from India.