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At last the hotly debated issue whose resolution may determine the future of the bulk rum industry in Barbados and its Caribbean neighbours will be discussed in a few days time in Washington. The tète-a-tète will be with the United States Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk. After almost a year of fruitless efforts by CARICOM nations and the Dominican Republic, spearheaded by Barbados, to get Kirk to sit down and discuss the potentially damaging subsidies to rum producers in United States Virgin Islands, the Caribbean’s position is to be put directly to the Obama administration. And while top diplomats from 14 producers in the English, Creole, Spanish and Dutch-speaking Caribbean states, Barbados included, will not participate in the discussions on the controversial export subsidies to Diageo by the Virgin Islands and Bacardi by Puerto Rico, the Caribbean’s case is to be presented to Kirk by Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, who last week won re-election to her fourth term in the House of Representatives.