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Feb 9, 2021

Santander Speaks on Trinidad’s Brown Sugar Legal Troubles with Belize!

Last month, the Government of Belize settled a trade dispute out of court with St. Kitts and Nevis.  Last year, Belize sued St. Kitts and Trinidad and Tobago because they were importing brown sugar from outside of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy without paying the forty percent common external tariff.  As a result of that, Belize’s sugar mills A.S.R./B.S.I. and Santander sales took a hit. According to a government release, St. Kitts approached Belize to settle out of court and a settlement was reached.   In light of that decision, the government told farmers that they can be assured of proper trade policy support from CARICOM, including the application of taxes and opportunities to trade directly with St. Kitts.  Now that the matter with St. Kitts has been put to rest, Trinidad and Tobago are still standing to fight G.O.B. when the matter goes before the C.C.J.  Chief Finance Officer of Santander told reporters today that while the matter is still pending, they expect that Trinidad will have to comply with the law, but that their relations with the islands, including their market share, have improved.


David Rodriguez, C.F.O., Santander

“First we need to mention that all the efforts, in conjunction with all the efforts of sugar industry in the Caribbean through the sugar association from the Caribbean and the support mainly from the Belizean government this was a huge achievement in regards of illegal sugar coming to the CARICOM market. So, I think this is a first step forward in contributing to enhance the application of the CET on sugars that are produced outside of the CARICOM market. I think Trinidad is slowly going to have to follow the law. We have been expanding our sales a lot in that market. They are still reluctant to accept it, especially for white sugar because they are buying refined sugar especially from beverage companies that come outside of the CARICOM. We are in the process of trying to substitute that sugar with the plantation white and I think the process is advancing in a good manner. I think step by step we have been moving forward in that our market in the CARICOM has expanded and we are supplying the brown sugar that Trinidad consumes. We are supplying it with the local producers in CARICOM so I think we are in a very good shape than in the past.”

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