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Travellers’ Liquors objects to SSB loan; mentions ‘barriers to importation of rum’

Posted: Saturday, November 18, 2023. 8:05 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Industry leaders Travellers Liquors suspects it will not be easy for Belize Premium Spirits and Liquors to export its products to Mexico and elsewhere once its distillery is complete.

For that reason, it objects to the proposed approval of a loan of $9 million from the Social Security Board (SSB) that will partially build that factory, stating that Mexico has significant barriers to importing rum, especially from Belize.

“As an exporter, for over 15 years we know that importers do not sign contracts to purchase liquid before having a sample and an idea of the [product’s price]. Investing in such a venture with the prospect of exporting even with the best estimates will not guarantee a sale of the spirit once produced,” Travellers wrote the Board this week.

Mexico’s Secretaria de Hacienda y Credito Publico limits the importation of alcoholic beverages only at certain border points, which Travellers says does not include the northern border with Mexico. The Board should have considered whether the restriction is lifted before proceeding with its consideration, as according to Travellers the cost involved with transporting products to a Mexican port that is allowed to receive spirits makes its products more expensive and therefore less competitive.

Travellers’ worries that this would force BPSL to sell locally, essentially creating a fifth competitor in the local market and a third in the Orange Walk District alone.

“The business plan upon which the loan decision was made is a speculative one which place at risk our Social Security funds,” Travellers concludes, but the Board has said publicly that it backs Waldir Cuello’s experience to make his dream a reality.

 

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