Nation e-Edition

Rum battle

Rum battle Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Dr David Estwick. (FP)

Tue, November 06, 2012 - 12:10 AM

FOLLOWING TODAY’S vote, the new administration in the United States may have a case to answer to Barbados and its CARICOM neighbours for its controversial treatment of their rum industry.

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Dr David Estwick said yesterday Barbados might eventually have no other choice but to file a case with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the US, or suffer the death of its US$50 million-a-year rum export industry.

He said such a case would have to be filed at the level of CARICOM, even as Washington virtually sidesteps complaints lodged by Barbados and 13 other Caribbean countries against the hefty subsidies that favour rum producers in the United States Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Estwick spoke about the option of filing a case against the US during a media conference to announce plans to build three molasses tanks in the Bridgetown Port, saying he would speak to the Ministry of Foreign Trade and the private sector team to see if there was a de minimis rule within the WTO that would allow Barbados to sustain its rum industry until a regional position could be finally sorted out.

Please read the full story in today’s DAILY NATION, or in the eNATION edition.

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Posted by c holder 1 year, 11 months ago
Maybe local rum producers should comment on what support and stimulus has been given to the industry by the local administration.
It is logical for the US to look after its own interests.
Have our governments done the same?

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Posted by Kenneth King 1 year, 11 months ago
I've always said the USA does not play fair when it comes to trade to the Caribbean, we buy millions in all kinds of products of theirs but leave us in the dark when it comes to our exports. That's why I say cut our imports and produce more locally, trade with our neighbors and help ourselves if the Caribbean are not taken seriously. Trade is an important factor to the World and without fairness we are all doomed.

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Posted by SANDREA BUTCHER 1 year, 11 months ago
You just have to love the US. They are always calling for free trade. There continuous lobbying at the World Trade Organisation contributed to the demise of the Lome Convention because the preferential treatment to ACP countries was unfair to the rest of the producers who were trying to get their dirty low grade sugar and other products into Europe. What we need now, is to do more marketing of our rums in the US. Connoisseurs will be able to tell the difference of the rums. For instance, the rum produced by St Nicholas Abbey is absolutely phenomenal. The same way that we could get the European market to buy 'premium' Plantation Reserve sugar we can get the Americans to buy premium rums.

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