|Industry Minister, Donville Inniss and ministry officials meeting with stakeholders, including local manufacturers and franchise holders,??to discuss the issue of??import costs. (A. Miller/BGIS)??|
A temporary solution has been found to the contentious issue of processed meat imports, from 20 per cent to 184 per cent by way of a three-month moratorium.
And, according to Industry Minister, Donville Inniss, a committee will be established to thoroughly analyse the issues that include trade agreements and cost implications.
It will be headed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Trade, Bentley Gibbs and will include Permanent Secretaries in the Ministry of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development as well as representatives from the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS), the Barbados Chamber of Commerce Inc. (BCCI) and the Barbados Manufacturers Association (BMA).
Speaking at a press conference on Friday afternoon at his Reef Road headquarters, the Minister told the press that earlier in the day a three-hour meeting was held involving representatives of the BMA, BAS and the BCCI along with franchise holders and local manufacturers to discuss issues related to the recommendation to increase the rate of duty on items which reside under Tariff Heading 1602.
He said that all parties have agreed that those entities engaged in the fast food business and the distributive sector would present all necessary information to manufacturers so that they (manufacturers) could confirm their ability to produce items at the quality and quantity requested.
Mr. Inniss also made it clear that the committee would report to Cabinet via his Ministry on "all pertinent matters in no less than three months."
Meanwhile, BMA Executive Director, Bobbie McKay and BAS Head, James Paul, both welcomed the outcome for the interim with Ms. McKay stating that she had an issue with specifications for the products not being made clear as they were operating blindly and with limited information.??
The BAS Head also dismissed the notion that he was against Subway and Burger King by emphatically stating he was not trying to facilitate the shutting down of any business.?? Rather, he maintained that his interests lied in the preservation of local Barbadian jobs and job expansion.??