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Export Processing Zone Committee denies Santander’s waiver request

Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2018. 11:00 a.m. CST.

By BBN Staff:   On Tuesday, May 12, the Export Processing Zone Committee (EPZC) convened a meeting in respect of a request made by Santander Sugar Limited for a waiver to be granted allowing the company to sell approximately 5,000 tons of direct consumption sugar and 2,000 tons of molasses in the domestic market.

Also discussed in the meeting was the violations committed under the Export Processing Zone Act, Chapter 280, Substantive Laws of Belize, by Santander Sugar Ltd.

The methodology for the review of the waiver request was premised on three criteria:

Will the waiver aid the economic development of Belize?

Will it relieve a shortage of sugar in the domestic market?

Does it otherwise seem to be in the interest of Belize?

To determine these, an assessment was conducted which utilized information and data that was obtained from industry stakeholders, including the Ministry of Agriculture, Belize Sugar Industries Ltd., Santander Sugar Limited, Belize Cane Producers Association, Progressive Sugar Cane Producers Association, Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association (CSCPA), and various national manufacturers that require sugar and/or molasses as a production input.

Based on the consultations and the information provided, the main conclusion from the assessment was that there is not any shortage of sugar in the domestic market.

Therefore, the EPZC decided that market conditions do not warrant the waiver at this time, and hence, the committee was unable to favorably consider Santander’s request to sell sugar and molasses in the local market at this time.

Additionally, the EPZC at its meeting reviewed several violations made by Santander Sugar Ltd. under its Certificate of Compliance and Operations Contract.

In further consultation with the Attorney General’s Ministry, EPZC decided to impose the maximum fine applicable under the EPZ Act.

The Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Commerce has formally notified the company of the need to abide by all the Laws of Belize, and that any further infractions can result in the revocation of its EPZ status.

The EPZC and the Ministry will be working with Santander Sugar Limited to ensure that going forward, the company complies with all the Laws of Belize, and the EPZC.

The Directorate General for Foreign Trade and the Ministry will continue to assist the company in expanding export markets for its products.

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