Members of the Paul Burke-led Jamaica Cement Consortium, which includes major cement importers Mainland International and Arc Systems, are pushing Cabinet to stop the combined 40 per cent tariff on imported cement recommended by the Anti-Dumping and Subsidies Commission.
The commission, which has been investigating the Caribbean Cement Company Limited's (CCCL) complaint that imported cement was hurting local production, on Monday made a preliminary ruling for an immediate tariff of 25.83 per cent to be added to the mandatory 15 per cent tax. This tariff would be maintained for 200 days or until the commission arrives at a decision next week.
The current dispute comes on the heels of the recent furore over the CCCL's request for government to raise the Common Export Tariff (CET) from 15 per cent to 50 per cent and an aborted push by Davies to get the legislation approved by Parliament last month. Davies, after consultations with Prime Minister P J Patterson, and in response to numerous submissions, decided to delay further parliamentary debate on the controversial legislation. Instead, he announced that he would hold meetings with various special interest groups, including the domestic producer, representatives of the Opposition, the importers, the Master Builders' Association as well as the trade unions representing the workers, "in order to determine the most equitable way forward".