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Jan 9, 2015

Chamber of Commerce Weighs in on Sugar Industry Crisis

The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry is also weighing in on the sugar crisis and is calling for a peaceful resolution to the existing debacle focusing on the impact the standstill is having on the local economy.  The sale of sugar on the world market accounts for over a hundred million dollars in foreign exchange revenue and loss of this year’s crop season will have a debilitating effect on Belize’s economy.  News Five spoke with President Arturo Vasquez who explains the consequences of the stalemate.

 

Arturo Vasquez, President, Belize Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Arturo Vasquez

“I think that this is not a situation of a win or lose situation on any side.  I think the Chamber is in a situation where we look more at the economical aspect of it.  We obviously have to look at the foreign direct investments, the investors that are coming in.  More from a business perspective I think we need to look at it and by that it is imperative and important that as we said it in our press release that this thing is becoming, you know, a solution is found very, very quickly.  I am not in a position to speak about the expertise of BSI or sugar or the growing of cane but I believe that the way this thing is going right now it’s going down a wrong path.  I can’t say by whom but the mere fact is that money is being lost on a daily basis as this problem progresses.  Obviously, everybody has their opinions and we have seen several opinions, some are good, some are bad.  But I think when it comes to negotiating there is a give and take and I believe that at this point there is where the parties have to come to an agreement as to you give and you take on this case, nobody wins in this case.  It has to be an even or a balance as to where this ends but more so what is important is the fact that it is taking too long and I think that as the day progresses people are losing.  The cane farmers are in a situation where family and everything is being affected and the economy overall.  There is no spending.  So for me, a solution has to be brought to the table as soon as possible. That is very obvious that the sugar industry is something that is very critical to the economy of this country and the long term viability is important.  2017 is when the preferential market changes and I believe that we have to be in a position where we are producing more or are in a better position because then the preferential prices change.  What you can produce is what you get paid for.  So, the first one is that and I am sure that everybody would agree that the industry is significantly important to the country.”

 

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