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‘Disappointed’ Belize Sugar Industries Ltd. questions ‘good faith’ of Cane Farmers’ Association

Posted: Friday, December 10, 2021. 6:44 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Belize Sugar Industries Limited/American Sugar Refining (BSI/ASR) is disappointed by a rapid rejection of its proposal based on a concept provided by the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) to resolve a key issue in the impasse surrounding the Commercial Agreement between both parties.

According to BSCFA, the BSI/ASR proposal moves to a gross calculation only for European Union-exported raw sugar, and not that exported to the United States as well as direct consumption sugar. They prefer that all sources of exports be taxed under the new value.

BSI/ASR for its part questions “whether BSCFA is demonstrating a good faith approach to this issue,” calling it “unreasonable” that they would not even want to further discuss it.

BSI/ASR also takes exception to the signing of an interim agreement, which its vice-president for International Relations Mac MacLachlan has referred to – and does so again in this release – as “kicking the can down the road.” The BSCFA has already indicated it does not think a full agreement can be signed in time for the start of the season.

Lastly, BSI objects to involving the Government in what it calls a “private commercial matter.” Prime Minister John Briceño and Agriculture Minister Jose Mai have met with both sides and have officially not taken sides, though expressed a wish for the season to start on time with at least an interim agreement.

BSI maintains that the current payment structure is “most favourable” to cañeros, and that a revision of that structure is grounded that the potential agreement would be mutually beneficial. It also notes that the current payment structure continue to apply for the 2021/22 crop and the new payment structure takes effect for the 2022/23 crop, runs for 7 years and that the industry fully implements a management information system.

BSI has asked the BSCFA to reconsider and agree to meet with them in pursuance of their objectives: BSCFA’s objective is to remove the need to explain and share details on the net stripped value and BSI’s objective of ensuring the mill is no worse off. It reiterates that it is looking to sign a long-term agreement to help create a sustainable industry before the end of the current agreement in January.

 

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