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Guyana, Suriname in talks for new Chamber of Commerce

Talks are brewing between Suriname and Guyana for the establishment of a new Chamber of Commerce here, intended to deepen trade relations between both nations.
Sowing the seed for this venture was an ‘introductory stakeholders’ meeting held recently, according to Surinamese media reports. This week, a steering committee will be set up consisting of representatives from both countries to work on the preparation and set-up of the chamber. Authorities are eyeing November to launch the chamber.
Suriname’s Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation Minister, Albert Ramdin hinted at cooperation in several areas, especially business. This initiative is fully supported by his Government. Foreign Secretary, Robert Persaud also pledged full support on behalf of the Guyanese Government.
A presentation on the new Suriname-Guyana Chamber of Commerce is planned for October during the Strategic Dialogue Cooperative Platform (SDCP) which will be held in Suriname, where President Irfaan Ali and President Chandrikapersad Santokhi will be updated on the undertaking.
Ambassador of Suriname in Guyana, Liselle Blankendal during the virtual engagement also underscored that their embassy will not only maintain political bilateral relations with Guyana, but also facilitate foreign direct investment and enhance economic diplomacy.
In March, the British Chamber of Commerce (BritCham) was launched in Guyana, coming months after visa restrictions were removed for Guyanese visitors to the United Kingdom (UK).
Then in April, the India-Guyana Chamber of Commerce (IGCC) was formed, thus paving the way for the facilitation of trade, investment, and cultural exchanges.
Later in May, the Government of Ghana commissioned the first Ghanaian Chamber of Commerce in Guyana.

Deeper collaboration
In January, deepened trade and a stronger bilateral relationship between Guyana and Suriname were expected in the future, with the establishment of a Guyana-Suriname Private Sector Business Council.
Guyana’s Private Sector Commission (PSC) had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Suriname Trade and Industry Association, expected to comprise of five representatives from each side.
Diplomatic relations were established between Suriname and Guyana on November 24, 1975. While a good relationship has been maintained over the years, this has been enhanced in recent time with the construction of a bridge linkage over the Corentyne River border.
In June, the Governments of Guyana and Suriname were presented with the design of the Corentyne River bridge.
Consultant WSP Caribbean’s design proposed the Corentyne River bridge as a two-section structure that is connected via an island (Long Island) to link Guyana and Suriname. The design also featured a two-lane bridge, with accommodation for a third lane in case of an emergency.
Five prequalified bidders were required to submit their proposals by the July month-end deadline.
The five bidders are: China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC); China Railway Construction Corporation  International Ltd (CRCCI); China Railway Construction Caribbean Co Ltd (CRCCCL) and China Railway Construction Bridge Engineering Bureau Group Co Ltd (CRBG); China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC); China Overseas Engineering Group Co Ltd (COVEC); China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group Co Ltd (CREEC); and China Railway First Group (CRRG); and Netherland-based Ballast Nedam Infra Suriname BV.
The bids submitted were to be opened on August 1 and will undergo two rounds of evaluation: first individually by each country, and then jointly by the two nations, in order to decide on the most competitive bidder.
The high-span Corentyne River bridge will be built according to the Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain model, and will be an approximately 3.1-kilometre bridge connecting Moleson Creek in Guyana to South Drain in Suriname, with a landing on Long Island in the Corentyne River, where a commercial hub and tourist destination will be established. That free zone will see major infrastructural development, such as hotels, recreational parks, entertainment spots, tourist attractions, malls, and farmers’ markets. (G12)