CARICOM Sugar Stakeholder Engagement Meeting for Industry and Policy Makers held in Belize

Saturday, October 5th, 2019

Belmopan. October 3, 2019. Minister Tracy Taegar-Panton of the Ministry Investment, Trade and Commerce and Minister Godwin Hulse of the Ministry of Agriculture along with the CARICOM Secretariat hosted sugar stakeholders from across the Caribbean Community at the Best Western Plus Biltmore Plaza in Belize City yesterday, October 2nd, 2019. The engagement placed regional policymakers from the sugar industry, manufacturers and government in dialogue on the Future of the Caribbean Sugar Industry.
The purpose of the meeting is to discuss matters of interest to the region’s sugar industry as it relates to trade, production and product development and touched on topics such as:
Technical challenges in using CARICOM direct consumption sugars in manufacturing processes
Improving products, productivity and competitiveness
Roadmap to Regionalization of CARICOM Sugar Market
Policy options moving forward

Key findings of an independent study on the substitutability of plantation white sugar for refined white sugars was also presented to stakeholders. The report found that plantation white sugar can be, and is being used across the industrial food and beverage sectors, regionally and internationally. It also noted that plantation white sugar can be used either as direct consumption sugar or with additional clarification treatment to meet requirements for color and other impurities. It is also worth mentioning that the report categorizes Belize as the top producer of refined white sugar in the region with over 99.5% polarization.
The independent study and this pivotal meeting of CARICOM Sugar Stakeholders were mandated by the Council on Trade and Economic Development (COTED) at its 46th Meeting held in November 2017. The findings of the report will be carried forward to the upcoming 50th Meeting of COTED in November 2019 to inform their decision on proposed changes to CARICOM’s tariff policy to encourage enhanced regional trade in Sugar.
The Government of Belize has played a lead role in regional dialogue to secure the CARICOM market for Caribbean sugar products for the benefit all Belizeans.

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