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May 11, 2022

PM Briceño on Historic Export Tariff Agreement with Mexico

John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño also spoke about the historic move by Mexico to strike out all tariffs related to agricultural exports from Belize into Mexico.  As the largest neighboring country to Belize, P.M. Briceño says the move creates an opportunity for farmers to increase their production and create greater revenue. He noted that he has been in conversation with President Obrador on the reduction of these taxes since 2021. PM Briceño says that a conversation about Belize’s Amnesty program with the Mexican President during his recent visit is what motivated the president’s openness to these new terms.

 

Prime Minister John Briceño

“From when I was in Opposition I have always been saying that Mexico is a huge trading partner. They have over a hundred and twenty five million Mexicans and they need to eat. We are a small country, a drop in the bucket.  We can be able to sell our products within Mexico without creating a disrupting within Mexico. We had to opportunity to meet last year with the President of Mexico, better known as AMLO. At that meeting we were in a tent, just himself, his Foreign Minister, me, my Foreign Minister Eamon Courtenay, and both ambassadors. We should have been a twenty minute meeting, we spent almost an hour. I was talking to him about Belize and what we are doing, that if we can remove these taxes it will create great opportunities for us. When he came on Saturday, the night before the technical team from Mexico and Belize were grappling over the wording on trade. Then he started to ask us, what the products we have are. I said, we do rice, beans, pork, chicken, beef, fish. I was telling him, Mr. President we don’t want the market in Monte Rey. All we need is the market in Quintana Roo. I said imagine we could farm the fish in the morning and buy evening it is in the plates of the people to eat in Cancun. That is when he said, you know what, I think it is best for us to do this do you. They are also converting part of Quintana Roo, the border communities; in this case it will be Chetumal, into a duty free zone. So to offset that, he said then we can then provide this for Belize, and to create opportunities for our farmers and to allow our farmers to stay in the rural areas and not have to come into the urban areas where jobs are limited and not have to go to the United States.”


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