Rum producers complain bitterly about unfair practises by US territories – 12th Dec 2012
Well all may not be in High Spirits for Caribbean rum producers, who are complaining bitterly about unfair practices by US territories. At the last COTED meeting held at the Caricom Secretariat, the Caricom grouping took issue with the decision by the Governments of the USVI and Puerto Rico to grant what Caricom says, are massive subsidies to Multinational Rum Producers in those territories. The sheer scale of the subsidies Caricom has noted, threaten the very survival of the Industry in the region with Guyana set to lose substantially. Guyana which produces several locally regionally and internationally recognized brands such as the XM and El Dorado is set to lose billions in exports to the US because of the subsidies.
The Council noted that time is running out for the region to try and save a sector which is the lifeblood for countless thousands around the region. In Guyana alone rum exports account for nearly four percent of total exports with employment in the sector matching that percentage.
The COTED is calling on the US to urgently address the situation by meeting with Caricom producers to work out the best possible solution that accords with the competitive access for Caribbean Rum on the US market.
The problem had been brewing since earlier this year and Caricom producers were contemplating a move to arbitration at the WTO since they believe the move by the companies are in breach of WTO rules.