Rum battle

shadiasimpson, shadiasimpson@nationnews.com

Added 06 November 2012

davidestwickdr3

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.

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