Belize participated in the 97th Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) held via video conference today. The delegation was led by Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration, Ramon Cervantes. Today’s meeting sought to finalise issues that were ventilated in meetings held in February and March. Those issues included the monitoring mechanism for sugar (MMS) that was agreed upon in 2019. The mechanism, according to the Press Office, ensures transparency and the free flow of information to inform producers and users across the region of the supply and demand of all sugars. Once established and implemented, the MMS will put in place arrangements to ensure that regional producers are given the opportunity to prove that they are able to supply the quantities and types of sugar needed in the event that imports from outside the region are contemplated. Only where regional suppliers are unable to supply will Member States be authorized to exempt the payment of the common external tariff on imports of sugar from non-CARICOM sources. Also, the mechanism allows for greater intra-regional market access for locally produced sugar. Belize’s Ambassador to CARICOM, Lawrence Sylvestre and senior officials from the Directorate General for Foreign Trade along with representatives from the Customs Department and the sugar industry provided support.