The leader of the Opposition John Briceno proposed that the Government of Belize should do more to ensure that there is market access for Belize’s sugar on the CARICOM market. Today, Minister of State Tracy Taegar-Panton set the record straight. Taegar-Panton said that accessing CARICOM’s market is not an issue.
Tracy Taegar-Panton – Minister of State: “There’s always been market access at duty free rates and so what I think he was trying to get at was greater market penetration into the Caribbean. I want you to know that for the last three months or so there has been a very active committee which includes ASR/BSI which has included Santander, it has included the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Trade in trying to have greater market penetration in the CARICOM for Belizean sugar. There are standards that we need to meet, there is a quality that we need to meet. Of course there is also the issue of competitive pricing and so we have been in active discussions at COTED which is the trade committee of CARICOM in which we are trying not only for Belize sugar but for Jamaica, Barbados and other sugar producing countries in the region so that we can have higher tariffs for sugar that is coming outside of the region because sugar is such an important part our national economy.”