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May 12, 2022

Will Belize Revisit Trade Policies with CARICOM

Jose Abelardo Mai

According to the Agriculture Minister, a container of poultry remains stuck in Grenada due to permit issues, but he believes that they are protecting their personal interests. Minister Jose Abelardo Mai also speaks of having approximately one hundred and eighty containers of red kidney beans that CARICOM no longer plans to buy from Belize. He says the undermining has to stop in order to survive and foster trade in the Caribbean. So given the reservations of Minister Mai, will Belize have to revisit its trade policies with CARICOM?


Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture

“This has been raised at COTED a number of times. We have been battling with one container of poultry into Grenada for the past six months; one container. Their justification for not allowing it is because the importer didn’t have an import permit when it arrived there. Apparently the permit expired because of COVID delays and it got there and they said oh, but you don’t have a permit. I said fine, no problem. Forget that one. Give me a permit now for five containers. And they could not respond to me. So obviously, they are protecting their side. Not that they have a strong poultry industry, but I am certain that there’s one or two big businessmen that import all the poultry from Tyson in the U.S. which is cheap poultry, subsidize poultry. So when you do things like that to undermine your fellow brother CARICOM state, it is not in good faith. When we have to take you to court because you are importing sugar from extra-regional sources and not paying the C.E.T., then that is not in the best interest of CARICOM brotherhood. Now that the Mexicans have been so kind to us and telling us that they are going to remove the one hundred twenty-five percent tariff on black beans then we need to revisit our marketing and production strategy to say guess what maybe we should produce red kidney beans only for local consumption while change to producing black beans which is consumed in Mexico and Guatemala.”

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