Government to lobby Caricom for reduction in import duties

Government to lobby Caricom for reduction in import duties

The government of Trinidad and Tobago says it plans to lobby the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping for a reduction in import duties following Trinidad Cement Ltd’s (TCL) recently-announced 9.5 per cent price hike.

Trade Minister Vasant Bharath, has held talks with the company on whether the hike was based on increased costs of inputs, or due to inefficiencies.

In news reports by local media, Bharat said that TCL’s costs include an annual energy cost of US$12m for natural gas, a debt of TT$1.9bn, increased costs of labour and importing parts from Europe.

“That has resulted in a bag of cement moving from TT$52.50 to $57.50,” Bharat said, adding “what TCL is requesting is a waiver from the National Gas Company (NGC) of their escalation clause for the next eight years.

“They are also requesting to be re-classified as, what is called a ‘middle user’ which will entitle them to a lower gas-price than they currently enjoy,” he added.