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From The Archives: Duty bound

From The Archives

From The Archives: Duty bound

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A WIDE RANGE of imported goods was slapped with new duties on Monday.

Government’s promised higher duties were fully introduced on November 19 as part of the National Emergency Programme promised by Prime Minister Owen Arthur.

From that date 60 per cent rates of duty were applied to a range of extra-regional imported materials from baby pampers to barbed wire. Previously these items attracted between zero and 20 per cent duties.

These changes amend upwardly the Common External Tariff rates to offer locally-produced goods additional protection from their imported counterparts.

A surtax was once charged on this range of goods which could have been manufactured in Barbados and the Caribbean. Then in April 2000 that list was phased out as part of preparation for liberalised international trade.

But following the decision by Government to protect the manufacturing industry in the face of recessionary trends, Government promised to offer new protection to local manufacturers.

On October 28 Arthur promised his ruling Barbados Labour Party conference that an emergency package was on its way. He promised that the offer would include support through “additional policies to improve conditions for doing business . . . .”

Then on October 31 Minister of Economic Development Reginald Farley led debate of a resolution in the House of Assembly which he said was “intended to mitigate the economic impact, maintain employment and preserve the viability of local business”.

As of Monday imported pasta products, biscuits, potato chips, flour, margarine and sweets, excluding chewing gum, have moved from a rate of 20 per cent to 60 per cent.

Shirts, suits, swim wear, blouses, skirts, shorts, panties, slips, briefs and dresses which are imported now also attract a 60 per rate in addition to a 15 per cent Value Added Tax and a one per cent environmental levy.

Other items which have come under the hammer include clay tiles, iron bars and rods, wire mesh, aluminium windows and doors, batteries, upholstered chairs, wooden furniture, mattresses, brooms, rushes, mops and other items.