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Oct 2, 2019

Sugar on CARICOM Market Must be Regulated

Mac McLachlan

A.S.R.’s McLachlan says that they have had very constructive meetings with major industrial users of sugar in CARICOM, and selling Belize sugar looks promising. But, an effective regulatory approach is necessary to proceed.

 

Mac McLachlan, Director, B.S.I.

“The issue comes down, is it possible to use sugars produced in the CARICOM in industrial process? The answer, very clearly, from the presentations we are hearing today is yes. The question is, can we now move forward in both an economic sense and make sure we are able to sell those sugars at long term pricing that takes volatility away from industry uses of sugar but also that the regulatory environment supports that. And we are asking for one simple thing and that’s that under the CET, under the Common External Tariffs that white sugar is placed on the list of ineligible products, ineligible for differentiated tariff duties by different member states. That’s what brown sugar, that’s the same position for brown sugar in the region. In that case if we can produce or other producers in the region can produce the quality required sugars coming in from extra regions, outside the region would have to pay the CET. If we can’t produce it to the qualities required then a CET exemption would still be in place. So, very simple, very simple move that we are moving towards.”

 

Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture

“To put it for the person who will hear the news tonight, Coca Cola in Belize is no different from Coca Cola around the world. If they can in Belize use Belize sugar why can’t they in Jamaica use Belize Sugar or they in Trinidad use Belize sugar. It’s the same big company. They rule the world when it comes to soft drinks.”

 

Reporter

“Sir but as big business, even Coca Cola in Belize wanted to import sugar from Guatemala for their use.”

 

Godwin Hulse

“Yes, but that was because of price and that was nothing more than price and big business will always look to the bottom line where it is easier. That concept rose and died within the day, thank goodness.”

 

Reporter

“Which is what is happening in the region that they want lower prices. How do you fight that?”

 

Godwin Hulse

“That is what is happening in the region but what we are saying if we are a body, we are a common market and the concept of a common market is to be able to move you products commonly within the market and if you are going to play this game of buying from outside where it’s cheaper and not buying then you are destroying the market. So let’s not have market then if that’s where we gonna go. Because we in Belize, A.S.R. has clearly said they have the potential and clearly they do to perhaps go to refined sugar, but why are we going to do that and make that massive investment when the market is available in the Caribbean for what we are producing.”

 

A ministerial meeting with CARICOM sugar stakeholders is expected to continue on Thursday.


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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