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CARICOM in discussion with US over subsidies to USVI, Puerto Rico

Saturday, January 19, 2013 | 1:02 PM    

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – Caribbean Community (CARICCOM) rum producing countries are holding high-level talks with the United States on resolving issues surrounding the rum industry in the region, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said.

A government statement said that Prime Minister Stuart made the announcement as he addressed a ceremony unveiling a commemorative plaque for Mount Gay Distilleries’ New Aging Bond..

Stuart said the discussions, which are also being attended by officials from the Dominican Republic, were necessary since, within recent time, subsidies had been given to rum producers in the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, much to the disadvantage of Caribbean rum producers, including Barbados.

He said the situation is so serious that Barbados is prepared to take its case to the World Trade Organization (WTO) if a solution is not forthcoming.

“The Government of Barbados has had to take a stand on this issue, and under my instructions, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade communicated with the US Government on this issue. And, of course, very recent discussions have taken place between CARICOM countries, the Dominican Republic and the United States Trade Representative with a view to addressing the more pressing concerns of rum producers, not only here in Barbados, but in other parts of the Caribbean, and, of course, in the Dominican Republic,” he said.

Prime Minister Stuart said that CARICOM was not going to “relapse its vigilance” on the issue.

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