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Dec 17, 2018

Designated Processing Areas Bill Passed by Senate

Mark Lizarraga

The Senate today passed the Designated Processing Areas Bill. It’s a piece of legislation that will replace the Export Processing Zone Act and according to the government, the Designated Processing Areas Bill seeks to ease investment, production of value-adding enterprises and ensure compliance with regulations and standards. The bill was necessary to ensure Belize’s compliance on subsidy travailing measures given by the World Trade Organization. As a member of the W.T.O., Belize is in violation of the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures. In order to avoid any sort of international repercussions, Belize needs to meet obligations as it relates to the EU’s code of conduct on harmful tax practices that seek to maximize efforts to prevent tax fraud and tax evasion.

 

Mark Lizarraga, Senator for the Business Community
“We question Mr. President why did we not change the tax laws and do the extensive tax reforms that the business community has been championing for, screaming for agrees.”

 

Eamon Courtenay, Lead P.U.P. Senator

Eamon Courtenay

“One of the issues that concerns me is the role of the minister that is being given to the Minister responsible for the Designated Processing Areas under this piece of legislation. If we take a look at clause three of the bill, the DPAC shall consist of no more than ten persons who should be appointed by the Minister as representatives of the following and then it list a number of ministries. When it comes to the private sector one representative from the chamber of commerce but it is not nominated by the chamber of commerce. The same applies to the DPA developers, DPAs businesses and special DPAs and one representative from the industrial sector and one from the services sector, all within the discretion of the minister.  You go down clause six, it says the minister shall appoint from among the member one member to be the chair to preside over the meetings. But the very next clause says the committee shall at its first meeting select from among its members a deputy chair. Why can’t the committee select its chair? Why must the minister has the right to choose who should be the chairman of this committee?”


Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse, Government Senator

“Our endeavor and efforts under the entire team in the Ministry of Trade that has been working on this and do holding several consultations with the BPO people and all of that, has been to see how this can be addressed to satisfy the requirements of the OCED, the EU while at the same time not bringing down the maul on top of the heads of those people who operate EPZ in Belize”

 


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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