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Price of Non-CARICOM condensed milk to rise by 30%

HighlightsPrice of Non-CARICOM condensed milk to rise by 30%

by Kory Leslie (Freelance Writer)

BELIZE CITY, Wed. Jan. 11, 2023

Belizean consumers who have been trying to cope with increases in the price of an assortment of items, including fuel, chicken and eggs, will soon be seeing a hike in the price of another commonly used product: condensed milk — if their preference is for brands from regions other than CARICOM — such as Nestlé and Dutch Lady. This is due to the existing Common External Tariff (CET) which is to be applied by all members of the CARICOM Single Market, including Belize, to goods imported from outside the region, despite the production of similar commodities/goods by fellow CARICOM nations.

On Wednesday, the government issued a statement notifying all citizens that effective immediately, an import duty of 30% will be charged for all brands of condensed milk manufactured outside of CARICOM. This is to being done in accordance with the stipulations of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which mandates that if the amount of a good or commodity that a CARICOM state can supply to the region is equal to at least 75% of the annual total regional consumption, that product should receive import duty protection and be placed on the List of Commodities Ineligible for Conditional Duty Exemption.

In this case, Jamaica, which produces condensed milk, has been able to successfully increase their production of condensed milk to meet the 75% regional threshold, and therefore called upon the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) to provide import protection for that product. This means that shoppers who are partial to Nestlé or Dutch Lady condensed milk will now have to pay more or join the population of consumers who use Grace condensed milk.

In the GOB’s announcement, it was shared that following COTED’s decision to grant Jamaica’s request, the 30% increase on non-CARICOM condensed milk was to take effect from January 1, 2022; however, the GoB delayed implementation, and indicated that it had done so in the press release issued this week:

“The COTED approved the placement of condensed milk on the List of Ineligibles (that is, no government can grant import duty exemptions without prior authorization by the COTED), and an increase in the applicable rate of import duty to 30%. The COTED also agreed that the 30% rate of import duty should be implemented with effect from January 1, 2022, by all member states. Belize has delayed implementation to coincide with introduction of the Revised CET based on the 2022 version of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which is the basis of Belize’s Customs Tariff Schedule. Therefore, the revised rate of 30% is now in force,” stated the release.

The press release ends with a reminder to consumers that Belize is obliged to comply with the import duty approved by COTED, and that the country likewise relies on the CET to guarantee protection of Belizean exports as well.

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