Jamaica Wants to Continue Importing Cement Outside CET


The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce has applied to the CARICOM Secretariat for a further one-year suspension of the provisions of the Common External Tariff (CET) affecting Jamaica’s importation of cement. The current suspension expires on September 9, 2009.
This was disclosed by Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda, at a press briefing on Tuesday (August 25) at his Ministry’s New Kingston office.
“We have taken a decision, after great consideration, to apply for an additional suspension to accommodate the importation of 170,000 tonnes, out of a projected annual demand of 850,000 tonnes, which constitutes roughly 20 per cent of the total demand,” Mr. Samuda explained.
He noted that the previous removal of the CET created a debate between the local producers, Caribbean Cement Company Limited, and the local importing community. However, he said that, taking all factors into account, he felt that there is not sufficient storage capacity at the cement company to give Jamaica the kind of security needed to ensure that the construction industry will not be short of the product.
“At a time like this, when we are seeking to expand our infrastructure requirements, we are not in a position to take the kind of risks that would lead to the sort of shortages that was in existence about a year and a half ago,” Mr. Samuda said.
The application was made Tuesday (August 25) under Article 83 of the Revised Treaty. It seeks a one-year suspension, on the basis of quantity concerns; as there is a need for the domestic producer to establish its new capacity over the period. The storage levels of the domestic producer are considered inadequate to ensure full and timely supplies to the domestic market, under all circumstances.

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