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BILATERAL RELATIONS

Obama: “The US and Guyana share a strong friendship enhanced by deep cultural and historic ties”

Article - June 6, 2016

The United States is Guyana’s largest investor with the largest share of its exports, proving that the deep-rooted, cultural and historical ties between the two countries are a solid foundation for further collaboration  

PRESIDENT DAVID GRANGER AND FIRST LADY SANDRA GRANGER WITH UNITED STATES PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AND FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA AT A RECEPTION HOSTED BY THE OBAMAS ON THE OCCASION OF THE 70TH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS ASSEMBLY, IN SEPTEMBER, IN NEW YORK

With exports to the US accounting for $476 million and imports $401 million, the US is Guyana’s top trading partner, but with a longstanding history of friendly ties and common goals of democratic governance, freedom, and human rights, the two countries have established a special and unique relationship.  

“Cordial relations between the Caribbean and the United States are important to economic growth, stability as well as security,” says President Granger. Diplomatic relations between the two nations have focused on robust democratic institutions, laws, and political practices, as well as economic development, civil society and security. Guyana’s move toward international engagement, along with “recent free and fair democratic elections, closer security cooperation, and expanding trade and investment” have helped place U.S.-Guyanese relations on an “excellent footing,” according to the U.S. State Dept.

President Barack Obama has referred to the two countries’ “strong friendship,” while Brian Hunt, the United States Embassy Charge d’ affaires has applauded the new government’s efforts. “I think there is tremendous opportunity both in the economic sphere and in the government to government cooperation sphere, and development to find new means and new models, that we can support the vision that Prime Minister Nagamootoo and President David Granger have laid out for their government,” Mr. Hunt says.


“Cordial relations between the Caribbean and the US are important to economic growth, stability as well as security. We are very concerned about learning and importing technology, particularly information and communication technology (from the US).”

David Arthur Granger, President of Guyana

“I look forward to continuing our work together to promote regional security, economic growth and vibrant democratic institutions.”

Barack Obama, President of the United States

While the two countries work together to promote democracy and human rights, among other causes, they have also become closely aligned through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, which works to combat drug trafficking and other transnational crimes that threaten regional security. Guyana continues to be an important supplier of gold, fish and shellfish, bauxite, lumber and wood, apparel and household goods to the United States, while also being a significant importer of machinery, petroleum products, telecommunication equipment, and pharmaceuticals. Many Guyanese products enjoy duty-free access to the U.S. market under the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act, which has been extended to 2020.

“Essentially the United States is the world’s largest economy and I do not consider the volume of trade with the United States to be very large, certainly not by continental standards,” Mr. Granger says. “Our main emphasis will continue to be in the Caribbean, but as far as the US is concerned we are very concerned about learning and importing technology, particularly information and communication technology. This is a weak area and the absence of that technology has contributed to the slow growth of Guyana. We are going to be very soon passing new legislation to liberalize the communications sector. That is going to be the major area of contact with the United States. Many countries rush to get commodities into the United States; we are rushing to get technology.”

Meanwhile, following US company Exxon’s oil discovery in Guyana’s offshore Stabroek field in 2015 (see page 4), the United Stated Government is working side-by-side with their Guyanese counterparts, providing a range of technical and capacity building assistance as Guyana seeks to develop financial and regulatory regimes and address capacity issues that would maximize the development potential from the prospective offshore oil and gas resources.

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