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Apr 28, 2022

Diversifying Trade Markets & Turning Interests to Central America

Jose Abelardo Mai

Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise Jose Abelardo Mai has been on record to say that Belize should shift its trade interests from CARICOM to Central America. He says it is not about turning away from the CARICOM region, but diversifying the market. Minister Mai did not mince words when he said that trading in CARICOM has been really difficult, but that there are opportunities available right next door in Mexico and further south in Central America.


Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security & Enterprise

“They are our allies, they supported us. We are in the CARICOM region, when we wanted independence, they support us but trade wise it is not working for us. It is not working for us. You know we have a container of poultry stuck in Grenada for the past six months right now? One container. And I will sit in a meeting and listen to them saying to me that the poultry phytosanitary certificate has to indicate that these poultry and poultry parts are free of foot and mouth disease that affects cattle. I don’t know how I took so much time sitting in that meeting listening to this nonsense. And let me tell you something. Mexico is a hundred and twenty-three million people. You want a bigger market than that? Guatemala is eighteen million people; El Salvador is six million people. I drove twice to El Salvador to look at the markets, see the market opportunities there. Miles and miles of trucks coming in from Nicaragua, from Honduras, from Guatemala into El Salvador; eighty-five of what they consume is imported. Hell of a market for us. And I look at many commodities and I picked out about four or five and I said this we can do better. We can do better in price and in quality and we are closer to El Salvador than Salvador to Nicaragua and even Honduras cause Honduras is a big country. And they want our citrus. They want our carrots, they want our onions. The only problem is tariffs. I think that we should look at focusing on Central America for markets definitely, while keeping our CARICOM friends right close to us.”

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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