Categorized | Local, News, Regional

Grenada seeking OECS meeting on taxes for goods produced within CARICOM

Oliver Joseph Grenada Trade Minister

Oliver Joseph, Grenada Trade Minister

GEORGE’S, Grenada, Mar 10, CMC – Grenada is seeking a meeting of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) ahead of plans to implement taxes on a wide range of goods approved by the Council of Trade and Economic Development (COTED) which is shall be responsible for the promotion of trade and economic development within the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping.

Trade, Economic Development and Planning Minister, Oliver Joseph, speaking at a news conference here Tuesday, said  that the new taxes on a wide range of products were due to have gone into effect on March 1, but that St. George’s had indicated it was not yet prepared to implement them.

He said Article 164 in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs CARICOM allows for the Lesser Developed Countries (LDCs) of CARICOM – The OECS and Belize – to develop a free trade arrangement where all goods produced within CARICOM should enter duty free.

But he said that article also provides for the LDCs, if they are negatively affected by the goods being produced, could come to the COTED and seek a suspension in order to apply duties.

“So all the LDCs went together… we got the permission to apply duty that will go up to 2018. Grenada is the only member state that did not implement it.

“So a decision was taken by OECS heads that all the OECS should implement it,” he said, noting that when the Keith Mitchell government decided to implement the measures and following discussions with the various stakeholders, there were concerns over the importation of aerated drinks.

He said at meetings with the stakeholders, requests were made to review the rates, but “we can’t do it on our own because it is not a Grenada decision.

“To do any amendment to the rate we must go back to the Council for Trade and Economic Development and we have to go back as a group,” said Joseph, noting that he had requested the OECS Director General to hold a meeting that would allow for the sub-region to discuss the matter “because in the implementation they have a lot of problems as well.

“So the implementation date has been delayed. We have not implemented it on the first of March as we had planned to. We will only implement it after we reach a common position with the rest of the OECS.”

Joseph said the importers have indicated they are not against paying “something, but the amount is too high for us, so we want you to reconsider it.

“So we will have this meeting shortly with all the OECS, we will come up with a common position and then we will get back to you with the adjustment that COTED has agreed to for implementation,” Joseph told reporters.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Oliver Joseph Grenada Trade Minister

Oliver Joseph, Grenada Trade Minister

GEORGE’S, Grenada, Mar 10, CMC – Grenada is seeking a meeting of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) ahead of plans to implement taxes on a wide range of goods approved by the Council of Trade and Economic Development (COTED) which is shall be responsible for the promotion of trade and economic development within the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping.

Trade, Economic Development and Planning Minister, Oliver Joseph, speaking at a news conference here Tuesday, said  that the new taxes on a wide range of products were due to have gone into effect on March 1, but that St. George’s had indicated it was not yet prepared to implement them.

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He said Article 164 in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs CARICOM allows for the Lesser Developed Countries (LDCs) of CARICOM – The OECS and Belize – to develop a free trade arrangement where all goods produced within CARICOM should enter duty free.

But he said that article also provides for the LDCs, if they are negatively affected by the goods being produced, could come to the COTED and seek a suspension in order to apply duties.

“So all the LDCs went together… we got the permission to apply duty that will go up to 2018. Grenada is the only member state that did not implement it.

“So a decision was taken by OECS heads that all the OECS should implement it,” he said, noting that when the Keith Mitchell government decided to implement the measures and following discussions with the various stakeholders, there were concerns over the importation of aerated drinks.

He said at meetings with the stakeholders, requests were made to review the rates, but “we can’t do it on our own because it is not a Grenada decision.

“To do any amendment to the rate we must go back to the Council for Trade and Economic Development and we have to go back as a group,” said Joseph, noting that he had requested the OECS Director General to hold a meeting that would allow for the sub-region to discuss the matter “because in the implementation they have a lot of problems as well.

“So the implementation date has been delayed. We have not implemented it on the first of March as we had planned to. We will only implement it after we reach a common position with the rest of the OECS.”

Joseph said the importers have indicated they are not against paying “something, but the amount is too high for us, so we want you to reconsider it.

“So we will have this meeting shortly with all the OECS, we will come up with a common position and then we will get back to you with the adjustment that COTED has agreed to for implementation,” Joseph told reporters.