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Trade Minister on regional roadblocks to trade: “We will insist that our rights be respected”

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Posted: Friday, February 11, 2022. 11:23 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)’s decision that Belize had not adequately proven its charge against Trinidad and Tobago allowing the importation of brown sugar produced in countries that are not a part of the Single Market without imposing the 40% Common External Tariff is not being seen as a loss by Belmopan.

Rather, it makes the point that Belize will no longer let slide attempts by fellow member states, intentionally or not, to get around the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) trade rules.

During this week’s presentation launching event of the Caribbean Development Bank’s Belize Trade Program and the EPA CSME Standby facility projects, the Minister responsible for Foreign Trade Eamon Courtenay, hammered home the message once more after suggesting that it hasn’t yet been heeded: “It appears to us based on recent requests that the message has not reached home across the region. I make no threat; I promise you that we will insist that our rights be respected.”

As parties to the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC), Belize will act in good faith and expects others to do the same. If Belize is unable to resolve any infringements of its rights in trade by negotiation, it will enjoin the CCJ to enforce them.

Belize is trying to increase its trade footprint by increasing the efficiency of the agencies that facilitate that process for the Private Sector, while the Toledo Cacao Growers Association is being provided funding to improve the product from the Belizean Cacao farmers in that northern district. It is contemplated that they will be able to become more competitive in the international market.

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