White House.gov Press Office Feed
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
U.S. Relations With Guyana
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
July 9, 2012
U.S. policy toward Guyana seeks to develop robust, sustainable democratic institutions, laws, and political practices; support economic growth and development; promote an active, organized, and empowered civil society; and promote stability and security. Beginning in the late 1980s, Guyana sought to improve relations with the United States as part of a decision to shift toward political nonalignment, moving from state socialism and one-party control to a market economy and greater freedom of the press and assembly. This shift, 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.
The United States values Guyana's partnership and cooperation on issues of mutual interest. Together, the two countries promote democracy and respect for human rights; empower youth, women, the private sector, and civic/opinion leaders to formulate grassroots responses to social and economic challenges; support new initiatives to improve the health of the Guyanese people; and, through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, enhance the security and prosperity of the region.
U.S. Assistance to Guyana
Working together through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), the United States and Guyana, along with other nations of the Caribbean, are combating drug trafficking and other transnational crimes that threaten regional security. The United States also works closely with Guyana in the fight against HIV/AIDS through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program. U.S. agencies, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), are administering a multi-million dollar program of education, prevention, and treatment for those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, and contributing to the country’s health care capacity. USAID also supports an activity designed to strengthen political processes and institutions. The Public Affairs Section is developing people-to-people ties through exchange programs and by supporting meaningful discourse and programs with civil society, the private sector, and government on issues of bilateral importance. U.S. military medical and engineering teams continue to conduct training exercises in Guyana, digging wells, building schools and clinics, and providing medical treatment.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Guyana’s 2011 nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was USD 1.9 billion, and with an estimated population of 751,000 people, its per capita GDP was USD 2,500. In 2011, the service sector, led by construction services, contributed to 65 percent of the GDP, followed by the agricultural and mining sectors which contributed 23 percent and 10 percent respectively. The manufacturing sector accounted for 4 percent of the GDP.
Guyana’s leading export goods in 2011 were gold, rice, and bauxite which accounted for 45 percent, 15 percent and 11 percent of export earnings respectively. Sugar accounted for 11 percent of total export earnings. In 2011, Guyana's exports to all countries were $1.128 billion and its imports were $1.747 billion. Guyana traded more with the United States in 2011 than with any other country, exporting $424.5 million of goods to the U.S. while importing $363.6 million of U.S. goods. Guyanese products such as apparel knit with U.S.-made material, sugar, seafood, fruit, and other agricultural products enjoy duty-free access to the U.S. market under the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act, which has been extended to 2020.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has identified the Guyana Suriname basin as having the second highest resource potential among unexplored oil basins in the world and estimates mean recoverable oil reserves of 15 billion barrels of oil and gas reserves of 42 trillion cubic feet. Under the Energy Governance and Capacity Initiative (EGCI), the United Stated Government provides 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 prospective offshore oil and gas resources.
Guyana's Membership in International Organizations
Following its independence from the United Kingdom in 1966, Guyana sought an influential role in international affairs, particularly among developing countries and nonaligned nations. Guyana and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, Organization of American States, and International Monetary Fund. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat is headquartered in Guyana.