Above: the Mount Gay distillery in Barbados (CJ Photo)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The Caribbean Community is “determined” to find a resolution on its ongoing trade dispute with the United States involving rum, the regional body announced last week following the meeting of the Council For Trade and Economic Development.
For some time, CARICOM has alleged that certain import taxes in the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico have led to an uneven playing field in the area of rum, a charge the United States has rejected.
“CARICOM is determined to seek a satisfactory solution to the matter of trade-distorting subsidies being granted to USVI and Puerto Rico rum producers that threaten the long-term viability of the rum industry in the Caribbean,” CARICOM said in a statement following the meeting. “Ministers agreed to explore all avenues to address this serious matter with the United States and other relevant parties.”
One idea that has been suggested in Caribbean circles is to bring the matter to the World Trade Organization, an idea which US Virgin Islands Delegate Congress Donna Christensen warned could have serious consequences for the region, writing in Caribbean Journal.
The US and the Caribbean have been engaged in high-level talks on the issue for some time, however, Stuart has said.
The rum issue was a subject of discussion during a visit by US Virgin Islands Governor John de Jongh to St Lucia last month.