JG - US extends CARICOM duty-free privilege
US extends CARICOM duty-free privilege
published: Saturday June 23, 2007
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) will continue to enjoy duty-free access to the United States market until 2011.
This follows a decision taken by the United States Senate on Thursday to extend the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), which has been in place since 1983.
Energy Minister, Phillip Paulwell, made the announcement yesterday while on a tour of the Petrojam Oil Refinery, which will be expanded through an agreement signed with the Venezuelan Government.
Good news for the region
Paulwell told members of the media that the extension of the CBI was good news for the region,especially as Jamaica is set to implement its ethanol programme.
"They (the U.S. Senate) have rejected the Gregg Amendment to eliminate the ethanol tariff and to approve the Fuel Amendment," he said. "If that amendment (Gregg Amendment) had gone through, it would have allowed other countries such as Brazil to export duty-free to the U.S. market."
The CBI was one of several issues raised by CARICOM heads of government with the Bush administration at the three-day Conference of the Caribbean, which concluded on Thursday in Washington.
Mr. Paulwell yesterday applauded the efforts made by CARICOM to have the agreement extended.
"This is great news for Jamaica. Great news for companies such as Jamaica Broilers and others and great news for persons who now wish to join the ethanol bandwagon," he said.
Mr. Paulwell said Jamaica intends to remain the lead country in the CBI to export ethanol to the U.S. market.