Foreign economic policy, foreign trade among topical issues discussed at HOM Conference
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday April 07, concluded its Heads of Mission Conference (HOMC) which was held from April0 03 to 07, at the Pegasus Hotel. The conference saw twenty (20) High Commissioners and Ambassadors covering about 14 countries participating and making presentations on various issues.
The HOMC discussions focused extensively on issues including foreign economic policy and foreign trade markets.
At a press conference last evening, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge explained that a wide range of topics were covered during the deliberations. “We started off with foreign economic policy, national interest, discussions on the various theaters, bi-lateral, US (United States), UK (United Kingdom) and China. We also covered the multi-lateral fore and in relation to thematic issues which are very important to us and institutional arrangements. Public diplomacy, fashioning and dealing with the image of our country etcetera,” Minister Greenidge said.
There was also a presentation from the Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, who provided the HOM with an update on the state and development of the energy and oil and gas sector, activities of the companies, expectations and challenges, Minister Greenidge said.
In relation to trade markets for exports, Minister Greenidge said that issues associated with expanding and taking advantage of the European Union was discussed. Guyana has signed an economic partnership agreement with the European Union which will see it accessing more lucrative markets for export. There were extensive deliberations on the areas which the agreement provides on opportunities and the challenges in realising those markers.
“So there was discussions on those challenges, how they might be tackled, what can be done in terms of involving the private sector, how can we move from traditional export into these markets, how can we go about dealing with the more knowledge intensive services, the need to focus on those areas given that our size and given the types of firms we have and can make it a little difficult to sell the traditional things in markets that are highly competitive,’ Minister Greenidge explained.
The Heads of Mission also examined the issue of living with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. The WTO rules now recognises Guyana as a middle income country, and the country does not enjoy the benefit of the least developed countries and therefore the need for closer attention to be paid on the opportunities available in the different framework, the Minister said.
Meanwhile, on the issue of intellectual property and trademarks, Minister Greenidge said that geographical indications and issues such as those pertaining to the arrangements with the UN to ensure some of the products are endowed with the geographical indications trademarks were highlighted. He however noted that those topics will be dealt with extensively in the ministry itself and the Public Communication Ministry.
While noting the importance of bringing the Heads of Mission together, Minister Greenidge said that, it is important that the conference becomes an annual event, especially over the next three years, because the priorities government has identified for Guyana’s foreign policy are priorities which have to be implemented in a rapidly changing and unpredictable environment. This makes it especially important to review the progress in those areas frequently.
Minister Greenidge further explained that part of the reason for the exercise is to help to engineer team building in terms of the undertaking of foreign policy. Based on the exchanges between the Ambassadors coupled with the reactions and contributions the Foreign Minister said that the presentations by the Ambassadors were very impressive.