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Ministries of Trade and Agriculture meet with livestock producers as Belize looks to renegotiate partial-scope agreement with Guatemala

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Posted: Saturday, April 24, 2021. 8:01 am CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Belize is trying aggressively to gain more foreign exchange earnings by aggressively pursuing market opportunities in neighbouring countries.

Principal Agricultural Officer, Belarmino Esquivel, who yesterday participated in a joint meeting at Blue Creek between the Ministries of Trade and Agriculture and cattle producers said that the Ministry of Trade is looking to renegotiate the partial-scope agreement with Guatemala and wants to negotiate a similar agreement with Mexico.

Under a partial-scope agreement a number of products are identified by the signatory countries and the tariffs on those products are either removed or reduced.

Esquivel said better prices for Belize’s products translates into money in the farmers’ pockets. Esquivel also noted that Belize’s livestock industry is expecting to continue formal exports of live cattle and cattle products to Guatemala and that under a renegotiated partial-scope agreement with Guatemala they stand to earn more.

“We had a wider consultation with the Spanish Lookout Cattle Producers and the Blue Creek Farmers primarily to discuss the Belize-Guatemala partial-scope agreement which was signed in 2006 and entered into effect in 2010,” Esquivel said.

“We’re basically looking at the fostering and strengthening of bilateral trade, economic and political relations with Guatemala. The idea is to facilitate, promote, diversify, and expand trade in goods. This particular session was to look at cattle, how much live cattle and cattle products can be included in the agreement.”

According to Esquivel, the government is reviewing and updating the partial-scope agreement and negotiations with Guatemala are to start soon. The advantage with exporting to Guatemala right now is that under the partial-scope agreement, Belizean cattle farmers don’t have to pay export tariffs to Guatemala. That being the reason Belize is looking to enter a similar agreement with Mexico.

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