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Jun 20, 2018

A.S.R./B.S.I. Wants to Tap into CARICOM Market

According to Vice President of Industrial Relations at ASR/B.S.I., Mac MacLachlan, there are six different types of direct consumption sugars currently produced at the mills in Orange Walk. Now, while there is a reduction in sugar consumption in the European Union, there is an increased demand for direct consumption sugars that are not the refined white sugar.  The E.U. and CARICOM are the markets that the industry is eyeing to introduce the high standard sugar produced locally. MacLachlan speaks about the challenges following the changes in the E.U. market and the need for regional dialogue amount sugar producers in the Caribbean.

 

Mac McLachlan

Mac McLachlan, VP International Relations, A.S.R./B.S.I.

“In March 2017, we had a stakeholders engagement meeting in Jamaica with all the different sugar producers in the region and that kicked off a series of events, which are essentially putting in place a blueprint whereby we can secure the CARICOM sugar market for CARICOM producers moving forward. And what I mean by that is that at the moment a market of about three hundred and fifty thousand tons of sugar in the CARICOM; two hundred thousand tons are imported refined sugar from outside the region. Traditionally and the rational for that was that nobody in the region was producing high enough quality sugar—all of that raw sugar was being exported to Europe where the prices in those days were very high. And the CARICOM rules permitted the import of white refined sugar through a series of waivers and suspension agreements that meant it avoided paying the common external tariffs. So at the moment, brown sugar exports into CARICOM are protected by common external tariff into the region, but it tends to be the case that these white sugar imports are coming tariff free. Now what we are trying to do and we are working closely with the government and the governments of Jamaica, Guyana and Barbados as other sugar producers is to demonstrate through investments like we are making here today, that we are now in a position to provide adequate sugar at the right quality and the right standards for that market. And we are therefore suggesting that it might be time to look again at the tariff structures in CARICOM to permit us to utilize our sugar in that market. At the moment, that two hundred thousand tons of imported sugar is displacing an opportunity for CARICOM producers of sugar.”

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