Jamaica to appeal rejection of cement import request

Jamaica to appeal rejection of cement import request
Published: 11 November 2009

Jamaica will appeal the rejection of its application to the CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), for a suspension of the Common External Tariff (CET) on 120,000t of cement it is seeking to import from outside the region.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, the Hon. Karl Samuda, made the announcement Tuesday (November 10) at a media briefing at his Ministry, New Kingston.

He said that, in addition, the country will be requesting a review of the provisions of the revised Treaty of Chaguramas, which dictate the minimum number of COTED member states who can support or reject applications to that body.

Mr. Samuda said Jamaica’s application for the suspension, which was made at a meeting of COTED on October 8, was denied after failing to gain support from two of the three countries responding to the body’s invitation to indicate their support or rejection of the request for the waiver, for which provisional agreement had been given.

The three respondents were Guyana, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago, who are among the 14 member countries of COTED, which also includes Jamaica.

Prefacing the announcement, Mr. Samuda outlined that following the conclusion of the previous CET waiver regime for 240,000t of cement, the administration took the decision to apply for a further suspension, initially for 170,000t.

This figure was subsequently revised down to 120,000t, representing 15 per cent of the country’s demand, following discussions with local manufacturer, Carib Cement Company Limited, which had indicated support for the application in a correspondence to the Ministry, he said.

Mr. Samuda stated that Jamaica went to the COTED meeting to explain its concern about the ability of the local cement company to provide adequate storage of inventory that would protect the construction industry.