By BBN Staff: Tensions have been high in Mexico and neighbouring Chetumal following the recent “gasolinazo” hike in gas prices. The first few days it took effect; there was massive looting and disturbances at popular shopping spots for Belizeans in Chetumal, Mexico.
Today, Belize custom officers experienced some of the discontent Mexicans have with the establishment. According to a report in the ‘Diario de Quintana Roo’, a confrontation between the ‘Fayuqueros’ (people who contraband goods from Belize to Mexico) and Belizean custom officers occurred earlier today in the middle of the Subtineiente Lopez bridge at the Belize/Mexico border.
The newspaper reported that “The confrontation between the ‘Fayuqueros’ and the custom officers on the international bridge was about to end in a tragedy” .
During the confrontation, ‘Fayuqueros’ forcibly recovered several bales of goods and access to the Belize free zone was blocked.
Yesterday, Mexico beefed up security at the border and since 12 O’Clock today, the bridge is guarded by Mexico’s National Defense personnel.
According to the Mexicans, the Belize Customs Officers crossed the bridge and attempted to restrict the ‘Fayuqueros’ from carrying out their cross border trade.
When goods are leaving Belize’s territory for destinations in Mexico or Guatemala, this is considered ‘informal exports’ from Belize, and exports, whether formal or informal are not required to pay taxes in Belize. Customs and other government officials from Belize have struggled with this ‘informal exports’ concept and the significant benefit that accrues to Belize. In the past, officials in Belize have attempted to stop or restrict the ‘informal export’ of livestock such as cattle, pigs and chickens, as well as other agricultural commodities such as sugar and beans. To the business community t is unjustifiable to restrict this kind of exports, despite its informal nature. Rather, customs efforts should be focused on addressing contraband goods coming into Belize as this negatively affects government revenues and our economy.
If on the Mexican side, their customs and security officials are not stopping their own ‘illegal importation’ then one wonders why Belize customs is trying to restrict this ‘export’ activity.
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