Among all the projects between Belize and The Republic of China (Taiwan), the two countries are now trying to finalize a new agreement. This agreement will help Belize in exporting more products, including sugar. Minister of Investment, Trade, and Commerce, Tracy Taeger-Panton, told us what has been completed so far, and what’s left to ensure that that agreement is executed.
Tracey Taegar Panton, Minister of Investment, Trade, and Commerce: “We are in the process of finalizing what we call an economic cooperation agreement between Taiwan and Belize and a big part of that agreement are the products that are now export ready for Belize; citrus, obviously sugar is a big one and we were able to successfully negotiate sugar as part of that Economic Cooperation Agreement. We are not completed with the negotiations, that ECA has to be shared with COTED which it has been sent. They have to approve of the language so that to ensure that we are not violating any of the responsibilities we have under the Treaty of Chaguaramas. Once they clear that then that Economic Cooperation Agreement can be signed between Belize and Taiwan. We have done all the groundwork, normally an agreement of this nature takes over a year to negotiate and with our trade negotiating team which includes it’s multi sectorial ,we were able to complete the negotiations in about six months and now we’re doing the final ratification processes if you will to ensure that that agreement can be executed before the end of this year. Belize is free to export any of the products it produces to any country but as part of this agreement there are products that Taiwan would also bring into Belize and so we have to be sure that those products are not being produced by other CARICOM countries because we have a first responsibility to CARICOM to ensure that what we’re buying does not violate a potential manufacturer in CARICOM and so they vet the agreement, the vetted the agreement that we had in Guatemala and all other trade agreements that we have put in place.”
This agreement was announced at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Sarteneja-Corozal road on November 14.