CARICOM to invoke safeguard mechanism for local businesses


CARICOM has assured the local business community of the speedy expedition of the applications for “invoking of the safeguard mechanism under Article 84” of the Treaty of Chaguaramas to address its concerns in relation to the payment of duty on certain items.


The Chairman and Executive of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) and the President of the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC) recently met with various CARICOM Heads of State where it relayed that “after receiving duty-free exemptions for decades for all manufacturing inputs and packaging we are now being asked to pay duty on these.” This it said puts local manufacturers in a peculiar place.


According to a statement from the PSC, the private sector made the point of the apparent cessation in the efforts of CARICOM to further the cause of the Caribbean’s rum industry with respect to the special trade relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico.


The Commission also disclosed that the private sector of St. Lucia will be visiting Guyana to enhance trade and investment levels between the two countries. Similar approaches will be made with Dominica and Jamaica, it said.


The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) recently told manufacturing companies that they must pay duties on raw materials for which waivers had been previously granted. According to reports, President of the Guyana Manufacturers Association (GMSA) had said the GRA’s strict adherence to the rules had resulted in major manufacturers putting their operations on pause.


One key concern by the GMSA is the lack of advance notice prior to the imposition of the duties on the raw material inputs from April 1, 2016.


Duties on raw materials have been waived in the past to help stimulate local production.


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