Guyana’s baulking on cement tariff can undermine rice industry Guyana’s baulking on cement tariff can undermine rice industry

Dear Editor,
I find it strange that Guyana is not following the ruling of the CCJ and not reinstating the CET on cement.

We are all aware that the rice market is being manipulated and Europe is definitely not a future for our rice. CARICOM, South America and Central America will have to be targeted for markets. Fortunately we still have some protection in CARICOM with the 25% CET on rice.

This tariff causes the price of extra regional rice to increase by 25% on the CIF cost making extra-regional rice very uncompetitive to Guyana.  Before the CCJ was established, it was highlighted at COTED that member states were not paying the CET on rice although a waiver was not granted as in the case of the cement issue with Guyana and the TCL group. One was told that there was no mechanism to prosecute or penalize anyone for this infringement. However with the establishment of the CCJ, issues of the illegal waivers can be brought to this institution as with the case of cement issues between the TCL Group and Guyana.

Besides reneging on an organization that was legally formed by member states including Guyana one can assume that no one will want to pay the CET for rice from extra-regional sources anymore.

Thus Guyana will lose a very lucrative market for its rice and one should bear in mind that this same market if Haiti and the Dominican Republic are included can consume all of Guyana’s rice production, resulting in a bright future for the local rice industry.

I hope that good sense will prevail and the result will be that Guyana will not be sending the wrong signal where the waiver of CET is concerned as we have more to lose than to gain.

Yours faithfully,
Beni Sankar

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