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Oct 29, 2009

PM supports Returnable Containers Bill

Story PictureAugust twenty-fourth, a bill to add a deposit of twenty-five cents on imports of beverages in glass bottles and tin went through a first reading in the House of Representatives. The Association of Protected Areas Management Organization and the Belize Chamber of Chamber of Commerce recently held a joint press conference asking the government to postpone the second reading and hold consultations with businesses that would be affected by the Returnable Containers Bill. With imports slowing down, Barrow said at his lengthy press conference today that the deposit on containers should not affect beverage importers and if it does, local producers would benefit.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“This is a deposit that people who purchase the drinks in these containers would have to pay. That would be added on to their purchase but they get it back when they return the containers. Government gets nothing out of that. So please let us be absolutely clear, it is not a tax. Whether it will slow imports, from that point of view, there’s not a particular answer. You’re talking about non-essential imports; you’re really talking about consumer imports so that doesn’t worry us at all. And in fact, you’re talking about imports that, truth be told, compete with local production that creates employment, local production that pays excise duty and local production that does not require foreign exchange. So the principles involved, the concept of the returnable containers bill were completely easy—we have taken on board some of the arguments made by the Chamber of Commerce and the bill will not, when it’s passed in law, have the same shape and contour as it currently does, but it is as with the education act, the essential, the core principles will be retained.”

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