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GMSA working to resolve implementation of new import taxes

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The Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association, (GMSA) says it is working with the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to bring a speedy resolution to concerns regarding the implementation of the import taxes, as well as the revision of the list of raw materials which are ineligible for tax exemptions under the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.

 

Following a recent move by the GRA to implement import taxes on several raw materials which received exemption for over 40 years, the business community has raised several concerns.

 

The GMSA on Thursday, July 07, 2016 met with all members of the Association, as well as relevant stakeholders including representatives of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to address the call for the suspension of previously unimplemented import duties.

 

Addressing the meeting, President of the GMSA, Eon Caesar indicated that “the GMSA members are concerned about the significant consequences which will be faced by manufacturers and their customers should these import taxes be imposed.”

 

He explained that this could result in higher prices for commodities as it increases the production costs.  Caesar added that local manufacturers will also be at a disadvantage while local manufacturers would be required to pay more for raw materials and as a consequence, increase the costs for their products, foreign competitors can continue to charge current rates for their products.

 

While the short-term approach proposed by the GMSA is to suspend the import taxes, it has committed to engage with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade Department, to achieve the long-term goal of reclassifying items ineligible for import tax exemptions under the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.

 

In a statement on Thursday, the Private Sector Commission stated that the Secretary-General of CARICOM, during a recent meeting has promised to invoke the safeguard mechanism under Article 84 of the Treaty of Chaguaramas to address this concern.

 

“The private sector Heads also highlighted the dilemma into which the manufacturers in Guyana have been placed i.e. after receiving duty-free exemptions for decades for all manufacturing inputs and packaging we are now being asked to pay duty on these. The Secretary General has assured us of the speedy expedition of the applications for “the invoking of the safeguard mechanism under Article 84” the PSC said.

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