After being swept off of their feet at the recently concluded Florida International Trade Conference and Expo (FITCE) by products from Guyana, the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) has expressed an interest in setting up a location in Guyana.
This was made known by the Guyanese American Chamber of Commerce (GACC) which is a strong advocate for local businesses reaching a network of potential partners and customers.
It was noted by the GACC secretary, Melinda Gordon, that the expo provided Guyana with some fantastic exposure. “As soon as the presentation of products was completed, we [local manufacturers] were flocked by participants asking for more knowledge of our items.”
It was on this basis that the WTCA indicated its interest in setting up a WTCA in Guyana and will be pursuing discussions in this regard as early as later this month. A meeting will be held in New York to facilitate the discussions.
The WTCA supplies businesses with access to international trade services and facilities. It seeks to simplify and stimulate trade by bringing together the offices of government and industry that serve and carry on trade. According to Gordon, a WTCA in Guyana will benefit small businesses since the WTCA was impressed by what they saw from the Guyanese Diaspora.
Moreover, the secretary indicated that they will be putting together what they learnt at the expo to educate local manufacturers on how they can improve their products in preparation for the international market.
She added that workshops for producers, also presentations to the various agencies, will be done over a six months period in phases.
“We will do all that we can however, it is now for Guyanese to make use of the information provided by the GACC,” said Gordon.
The expo which was very much fruitful to the locals saw interested persons indicating joint ventures with local businesses.
Despite their interest which will open avenues for Guyanese producers, Gordon stated that the GACC will be paying strong attention to the newcomers to ensure locals are treated fair and are gaining from whatever initiatives are placed before them.
She stated, “To get in with our producers these persons [international market] must express fruitful reasons. They will be properly scrutinized by the GACC to ensure whatever their interests are it is not only for their profit, Guyanese producers must be able to benefit tremendously.”
Gordon highlighted that she was truly impressed with the exhibitors this year. She stated that persons who returned to the exhibition have upped their game.
While indicating her pleasure with the efforts of the locals, she stressed that the locals do have the capability to definitely satisfy the international market in terms of quality and as such the GACC will keep in contact with them to ensure they engage the interested persons so that their attraction stays.
According to Gordon, the 2019 FITCE saw about 60 countries participating in the expo including Canada, Bangladesh, Japan and Great Britain.
Guyanese attendees of the expo, many of them small enterprises owned and operated by women, included small manufacturers of sauces, cosmetics and other products. Participants have shown significant interest in the products which were displaced by the 21 companies from Guyana.
According to the GACC the interested participants have indicated follow up action to ensure sustainable markets for these products.
Additionally, there were also enquiries about other products not on display to be sourced from Guyana; these included lumber, fresh fruits and vegetables, shrimp, and gold and diamond jewelry.
There was also interest on the part of potential investors in housing construction, telecommunications, infrastructure development, agri-business and mining. A number of companies also expressed interest in identifying distributors in Guyana for a range of products.
It was noted that some of the interested companies are seeking a continuous supply of products. Some of the products already meet the standards required for import into the US and other major markets while other products need work done on their packaging and labeling and in the case of the US certification by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In some cases of the labeling, work needs to be done to include ingredients and nutritional facts; caps need to be properly sealed; in cases where colouring is added this must be stated; claims of benefits of the use of lotions and soaps either need to be medically proven or removed from the packaging; exporters need to be registered with the FDA in both Guyana and the United States and the processing/production process needs to be certified.
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