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Dec 18, 2015

Is Guyana Dumping Rice Into Belizean Market?

Jose Alpuche

C.E.O. Alpuche notes that the fairly low prices of the rice from Guyana are because subsidies to the industry there and likely because there may be a surplus since Guyana has lost its market in Venezuela. As to the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, Alpuche’s position is that the treaty prevents the importation into Belize.

 

Jose Alpuche, C.E.O., Ministry of Agriculture
“The Guyanese industry is a hundred years old and after a hundred years, they are still being subsidized by the government with fertilizers and seeds and a number of other areas; we don’t do that. So while on the face of it, they might be able to sell cheaper, the question is how do they produce at that price? The other point is that Guyana lost markets in Venezuela and we suspect that the prices that they have at the moment are actually dump prices because they have nowhere else to place the rice. At the bottom line; that’s it. It’s a question of fair competition. If the Guyanese were producing without subsidies, we would not have difficulty because then they would have to sell at true market prices. We believe that this is not the case at the moment. And there are provisions within the CARICOM Single Market and Economy and within the Treaty of Chaguaramas where this can be prevented from being landed in Belize.”

 

Duane Moody

“So what is the next step that the government is going to take? The rice is here. The importer is saying that they are giving you guys one day before they take action, so what is the next step for the government?”

 

Jose Alpuche

“They are free to take their actions; they are free to take the matters to the court for the court to interpret precisely where we are and that’s the only way to do it to a certain extent. But as I said, beyond the issue of the issuance of a permit, we also have other issues to consider as it relates to safeguarding fair competition within CARICOM and I am certain we will invoke those positions too.”

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