The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was recently given the task to spearhead discussions on the importation of white sugar into the Caribbean and the effect that may be having on employment, Minister Carl Greenidge said on Monday.
Speaking at a press conference which was called to update the media on recent bilateral engagements, Greenidge said that the ministry has been charged with working with other Caribbean territories to try and enhance the use of plantation white sugar produced in the region. He said that this product can be used in the soft drink and confectionary industries but ”by and large is not used and instead of using that we find ourselves importing processed white sugar made of beet in particular”.
Greenidge told reporters that this situation has employment and other implications and as such Belize and Guyana being producers of this product have a special interest in this matter. He informed that both countries have been asked to work with the consumer industry and the producers to try and ensure that CARICOM deals with this problem in an adequate fashion.
It was arising from discussions with the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) and trade ministers that the Ministry has commenced the organization of deliberations between Caribbean sugar producers and other interested parties on rum and the use of plantation white sugar in the region.
The Minister said that while he does not expect that there will be a drastic reduction in importation, he believes that the region ought to look at the implications on its economy.
“…a region which commits itself to a single economic space cannot at the same time ask for those who are spending, to spend on foreign products and expect that regionally it is going to have an advantageous effect on employment and incomes”, he said.