Sugar is also being exported from Western Belize by the Santander Sugar Group. Very recently, however, the company attempted to sell sugar on the local market, a clear violation of its Export Processing License and landed a fine of nine thousand US dollars from the government. Following an apology, the company maintained its interest in selling sugar on the local market and submitted a request for a waiver to do so. The company is of the position that the local sugar market should be shared by all Belize based sugar companies in a fair and equitable fashion especially since world sugar prices are falling. Minister of Agriculture, Godwin Hulse says, however, that the market is too small for such competition.
Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture: “Santander has an EPZ, Export Processing Zone license, that is how they were allowed to invest in the first place and they complied with all the things they should comply, that still stands. That does not allow them to put product on the local market, that is the first thing and so the government said to them the law must hold and it is holding. Now in terms of exporting their sugar again we support because it’s export from Belize and it is that kind of thing. The Belize market is a very small market there is no need for anybody to be competing for this little market and I am asking how will it benefit any company to come in the market for 12,000 which is a very small amount of sugar on the local market, please man. The markets that we’re driving at are the foreign markets, its earning that foreign exchange and that is where we are supporting their going.”
The Export Processing Zone Committee, which had reviewed the violations to the company’s EPZ license had also decided that since there was no shortage of sugar in the domestic market, the company’s request to sell sugar locally was denied.