St Kitts and Nevis: St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party stated that brown sugar’s price is now expected to increase by a whopping 40% for St. Kitts & Nevis.
Harris-led Government announced on Thursday, February 18, 2021, in Parliament that the government has now applied a 40% Tax on imported Brown Sugar, which will significantly increase the cost.
This announcement follows the lawsuit settlement with Belize last month. Belize had sued St. Kitts and Nevis, the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and CARICOM alleging that these CARICOM member states were importing brown sugar from countries outside the Single Market without imposing the 40% Common External Tariff (CET) in 2019 and 2020.
On the other hand, the propaganda that is being circulated that this began in 2014, Belize alleged that because of this treaty violation in 2019 and 2020, O Belize Sugar Industries Ltd. (BSI) and claimed alleged that the CARICOM Secretariat had not succeeded in ensuring that the CET was inflicted by St. Kitts and Trinidad & Tobago, which by extension, facilitated import-export by the two applicants in which they did not register the CET.
The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis began discussions with Belize on a possible out-of-court settlement following news of the lawsuit. After targeted arbitration led by the Office of the Solicitor General, in association with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration, and BSI, St. Kitts & Nevis, and Belize arrived an out-of-court arrangement on conditions satisfactory to Belize.
This out-of-court settlement is a significant victory for the sugar industry of Belize, which has been non-benefited by imports of sugar from non-CARICOM sources, including Guatemala, as this sugar is substituting regionally produced sugar from the CARICOM Single Market.
The sugar industry is now affirmed that it will get the trade scheme aid that it is authorized under the Revised Treaty, including the exercise of the CET and a renewed chance to enter the market of Saint Kitts-Nevis fully.
The case continues in the Caribbean Court of Justice against the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and CARICOM.