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Greater opportunities in CARICOM for Belizean producers


 

Representatives of the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service, (BELTRAIDE) and the Directorate General for Foreign Trade this  morning went on national radio and television to launch a public awareness campaign to inform Belizean producers, potential exporters and exporters of the numerous opportunities available in the CARICOM market.

Ms Shauna Arnold, Export Promotion Officer at EXPORTBelize, a Unit of BELTRAIDE and Mr John Rivero, Trade Intelligence Economist at the Directorate General for Foreign Trade at the Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, Trade & Commerce, appeared on Open Your Eyes and LOVE FM’s Morning shows, and spoke on the suspension request of the Common External Tariff (CET) under CARICOM.

open-your-eyes

The CET is a harmonized coding system for the importation of goods outside of the CARICOM region. The request for suspension on the CET is made when a CARICOM member state cannot acquire a desired good from one of the CARICOM countries consequently seeking suspension or reduction of the tariff by the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED).  Since there is a section under the CARICOM agreement that provides for the free movement of goods in which all imports from CARICOM Member States that meet CARICOM rules of origin enter duty free, the products outlined in CET suspension requests provides an indication of other products that Belizean producers can supply to the CARICOM region.

During the shows, both officers spoke at length on the trends for the demand of various goods in CARICOM. These include items such as coconut oil, soybean oil, soybean meal, palm oil, raw cane sugar, white refined sugar etc.

They also spoke on the assistance being provided to current and potential Belizean exporters by the Government, through BELTRAIDE, as well as the various fiscal development incentives available to Belizean businesses.

For further information on the CET suspension request please visit the BELTRAIDE website: www.belizeinvest.org.bz/exportbelize  (click on CARICOM EXPORT OPPORTUNITIES).

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THE IMPORTANCE OF COMPETITION DURING ECONOMIC RECESSION


During 2015, the effects of the 2008 financial crisis continued to impact negatively on the economic and social welfare of the CARICOM Member States and their citizens.
Unfortunately, another difficult year is ahead of us with many economic challenges anticipated both within the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and extra-regionally. The global economy is projected to show modest growth when compared to 2015. However, at the regional level the situation remains uncertain with potential downside risks including falling global oil and commodity prices and bouts of financial volatility, which could result in lower than expected economic growth for Member States.
The CARICOM Competition Commission (CCC) is acutely aware that as economic improvement is slow in coming, and as domestic demand within the Member States remains weak, anti-competitive conduct such as collusive agreements and abuse of dominance are likely to abound in 2016. Additionally, unfair trade practices of large companies against small and medium-sized businesses may also harm the economies in the CSME, and ultimately reduce consumer welfare.

The CCC is also mindful that in difficult economic times, Governments sometimes believe that they are protecting consumers by restricting competition in key sectors such as utilities, health, public procurement and energy. This is done by preventing the entry of new players into markets through licensing and regulatory restrictions; regulating prices through price or margin controls; and limiting certain contracts only to local firms e.g. office furniture, and stationery and office supplies, drugs, and road works.
The CCC therefore views 2016 as a pivotal year in the enforcement of competition law, as well as advocacy for consumer protection in the region. This is with the unrelenting view that competition and consumer protection initiatives can help ease the difficulties faced by consumers as a result of anti-competitive conduct and austere Government policies implemented during periods of recession.

For 2016, drawing upon the work program which has already been approved by Member States, the CCC will continue to vigorously protect and maximise consumer welfare in the CARICOM region. Accordingly, the CCC intends to make consumers the focus of its message to Governments and parliamentarians, sector regulators, the business community, and other special interest groups such as the judiciary, media, and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
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In this regard, the CCC will continue to work closely with National Consumer Protection Agencies and Consumer NGOs in CARICOM Member States on initiatives which commenced in 2015 such as:
• The establishment of national and regional consumer complaints databases and their effective uses for consumer protection enforcement;
• Research into priority areas for consumers such as financial services and utility regulation; and
• Consumer education.
With respect to competition policy, the CCC will establish the CARICOM Competition Network (CCN) in collaboration with the CARICOM Secretariat CSME Unit, and national competition authorities (NCAs) in the CSME, in 2016. The CCN will seek to encourage closer collaboration between NCAs on matters such as:
• Harmonization of investigation procedures;
• Administrative and legislative barriers to efficiency in competition investigations;
• Information exchange;
• Development of CSME Product Market Indicators; and
• Competition Training and Education programme.

In conclusion, as the designated regional advocate for competition and consumer protection, the CCC takes this opportunity to encourage Governments and sector regulators to view this period of financial constraints as an opportunity to implement or enforce policies that maximise competition among existing operators; facilitate entry and investment of new entrants into markets; and modernise the legislative and regulatory framework for competition and consumer protection. For its part, the CCC will continue to promote and lay the groundwork for the principles of competition law and policy and the effectiveness of consumer protection enforcement in the region.

Further information about the work of the CCC, can be accessed by contacting admin@ccc.sr with your questions or by utilising the query facility on http://www.caricomcompetitioncommission.com

Cayman Islands, Belgium sign tax information exchange agreement


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The Cayman Islands and Belgium have officially signed a tax information exchange agreement, reports the Caribbean Journal.

Cayman Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton and Belgian Ambassador Godelieve Van den Bergh signed the agreement last week at the Government Administration Building in Grand Cayman.

The tax information exchange agreement is the 35th into which the Cayman Islands has entered. It provides for the exchange of information for tax purposes upon request between the two countries.

Among those attending the signing were Director , Department of Financial Services Policy and Legislation, Michelle Bahadur; Director, Department of International Tax Cooperation (DITC), Duncan Nicol; Councillor, Ministry of Financial Services, Roy McTaggart, MLA; the Ministry’s Chief Officer Dr Dax Basdeo, and Deputy Chief Officer Tamara Ebanks; and DITC’s Assistant Director Iain Blackwell.

The Cayman Islands has signed a number of such agreements in the last few years alone.

http://www.ifcreview.com/viewnews.aspx?articleId=7746

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit to visit the jewel


Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit to visit the jewel

Roosevelt Skerrit

Late this evening, the government announced that the Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, will be arriving this Wednesday in the country. Skerrit is a guest of the government during the remaining Independence Day celebrations which include the official Independence Day ceremonies in Belmopan. Following his arrival, Skerrit will be paying a courtesy visit on the Prime Minister Dean Barrow and will also be taking time to experience the jewel’s natural beauty. Skerrit will be accompanied by Collin McIntyre, Minister of Trade of Dominica. Their visit ends on September twenty-second September. Recently, the Prime Minister was having a bumpy ride back in Dominica. In early September, following fiery public criticism, Skerrit’s government withdrew the nomination of Alix-Boyd Knights as a candidate for the presidency of Dominca. Knights is the current Speaker of the House and the criticism over her nomination was that she was biased against the opposition.

 

http://edition.channel5belize.com/archives/90473

 

Aquaculture In Belize


Taiwanese Ambassador Hands Over Cheque For Aquaculture Project

By
Updated: August 20, 2013
 
tilapia project

The Republic of China Taiwan today donated over six hundred thousand U.S dollars to the Ministry of Agriculture.  The donation went toward the Government of Belize-Taiwan Aquaculture Project to construct a hatchery center for tilapia farming at Central Farm, in order to provide male tilapia fingerlings to small-scale farmers around the country. This is the second donation toward the tilapia project which is to be a five-year long project costing approximately five million Belize dollars.  The six hundred and fifty one thousand, seven hundred and twenty five US Dollar cheque was presented by Ambassador of Taiwan to Belize, David Wu, to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture, Gaspar Vega who speaking on behalf of the Government of Belize and the tilapia farmers, expressed his gratitude for the donation, as it serves to enhance the tilapia hatchery and farming.  Ambassador Wu stated that the hope for the centre is to produce one million fingerlings to be supplied to farmers.  Over sixty farmers have benefited from the project and the long term goal is to assist around two hundred farmers.

http://lovefm.com/taiwanese-ambassador-hands-over-cheque-for-aquaculture-project/

 

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