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Government makes strides in dialogues to gain entry into the CARICOM sugar market

There is much work ahead for sugar stakeholders if the sugar industry is to remain viable on the global market. As we have reported before, ASR/BSI and the government have been working on opening new markets for Belize’s sugar. This year, BSI has increased its production of Direct Consumption Sugar (DCS) and is targeting the European Market, one of Belize’s biggest importers of DCS. BSI also has its heart set on the CARICOM market, and has engaged in numerous dialogues to gain entry. Today Communications and Government Affairs Representative for BSI, William Neal told Love News that Belize has made some strides.

William Neal Communications and Government Affairs Representative for BSI: A bit is happening in terms of the CARICOM Market.  Prime Minister Barrow at the recent Heads of Government meetings in Jamaica earlier this month made significant inroads in terms of forging significant  alliances with other sugar producing countries; namely Jamaica, Guyana and Barbados as well to a lesser extent. To really come together and try and push for the implementation of the standardized common external tariff and to make some of the reforms that are necessary for sugar to actually survive in CARICOM, that is the key thing. We need to make sure that the decisions we make are not myopic, short sighted, but rather to look at how this could benefit the industry and the region going forward. So this is just a major part of what needs to be done to ensure that we have market access in our own backyard in CARICOM. Going back to the way the treaty was actually organized to make sure that you know sugar produces have first preference. Why are we allowing sugar from Colombia and Guatemala into our markets when we have producers in the region that can supply the sugar that is needed so quite a bit of work and effort is going in on the part of the Government of Belize, the BSI and the Sugar Association of the Caribbean to make sure that we take advantage of this market that is ours.

Neal says that given the new circumstances, “tough business decisions and necessary corrective actions” must be taken to survive as an industry on the global market.