Minister of Investment, Trade, and Commerce, Tracy Taeger-Panton, updated the media on the latest meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED). It is Belize’s hope that the country will be able to enter its white plantation sugar into CARICOM’s market. According to Minister Panton, she is pleased with how the meeting went.
Hon. Tracey Taegar Panton, Minister of Investment, Trade and Commerce: “COTED I think very successfully. Belize was represented, I led the delegation and we also had with us the Attorney General for Belize, our director general of foreign trade and we invited to COTED our two sugar producers as observers that’s both ASR and Santander. We have been working on trying to create a regional market for sugar since three years ago with COTED and we’ve had several delays in the process. At this meeting Belize was able to achieve what we set out to do and that was really to ensure that the Common External Tariff is applied on all brown sugar that comes into the region. We also set out to ensure that we could institute a monitoring mechanism for sugar so that as a region we can better assess what is coming into the region from third party countries so to speak- Guatemala, Colombia, Brazil and also most importantly we were able to gain market access for what we call consumption sugars and plantation white is critical to our negotiations at COTED. Most of the manufacturers in the region are accessing white sugar or plantation white sugar or refined sugar from other sources outside of CARICOM and we feel that we are producing at the quality, at the quantity, at the consistency that is required by CARICOM manufacturers and so we wanted to ensure that we have market access for sugars produced in this region; that’s Belize, Guyana, Jamaica and to a lesser extent Barbados and we were successful with that.”
Minister Panton stated that this is a big win for producers in the region..